Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

healty meal, low carbs meals, keto meal

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the epitome of comfort food, combining tender elbow macaroni with a rich, cheesy sauce and a crispy panko topping. This recipe is perfect for family dinners, potlucks, or any occasion where you want to serve a dish that’s guaranteed to please. Let’s dive into the step-by-step recipe to create this classic dish.


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 1 lb Velveeta cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Seasoned panko crumbs for garnish


Step 1: Cook the Macaroni

  1. Boil Pasta:
    • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 2: Prepare the Cheese Sauce

  1. Melt Velveeta:
    • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the Velveeta cheese and 1/2 cup of milk. Stir continuously until the cheese is fully melted and smooth.
  2. Add Seasonings:
    • Add the melted butter, beaten eggs, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to the cheese mixture. Stir until well combined.

Step 3: Combine Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

  1. Mix Pasta and Sauce:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce. Stir until the macaroni is evenly coated with the sauce.

Step 4: Layer the Casserole

  1. Preheat Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Prepare Baking Dish:
    • Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
  3. Layer Mac and Cheese:
    • Spread half of the macaroni mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese over the top.
  4. Add Second Layer:
    • Add the remaining macaroni mixture on top of the cheese layer. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese over the top.

Step 5: Add Topping and Bake

  1. Prepare Panko Topping:
    • In a small bowl, combine the seasoned panko crumbs with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Stir to moisten the crumbs.
  2. Sprinkle Topping:
    • Evenly sprinkle the panko topping over the macaroni and cheese.
  3. Bake:
    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the panko topping is golden brown.

Step 6: Serve

  1. Cool Slightly:
    • Allow the macaroni and cheese to cool for a few minutes before serving.
  2. Serve:
    • Serve hot, garnished with fresh herbs if desired.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Cheese: Feel free to mix and match your favorite cheeses. Gruyere, Fontina, or Gouda can add a unique flavor.
  • Seasoning: Adjust the seasoning to your taste. A pinch of cayenne pepper or mustard powder can add a nice kick.
  • Panko Topping: For extra flavor, toast the panko crumbs in a bit of butter before adding to the casserole.


Spicy Mac and Cheese

  • Add Heat:
    • Add diced jalapeños, a dash of hot sauce, or a pinch of cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce.

Bacon Mac and Cheese

  • Add Bacon:
    • Stir in cooked, crumbled bacon into the macaroni mixture before baking.

Vegetarian Mac and Cheese

  • Vegetable Add-ins:
    • Add cooked vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, or peas for a nutritious twist.

Serving Suggestions

With a Side Salad

  • Salad:
    • Serve with a fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette to balance the richness of the macaroni and cheese.

With Garlic Bread

  • Bread:
    • Pair with warm garlic bread or a crusty baguette for a complete meal.

With Roasted Vegetables

  • Vegetables:
    • Serve with a side of roasted vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus.


Q: Can I make this casserole ahead of time? A: Yes, you can assemble the casserole, cover, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. Add an additional 10-15 minutes to the baking time if baking straight from the refrigerator.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Store any leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before serving.

Q: Can I freeze this casserole? A: Yes, you can freeze the assembled but unbaked casserole. Wrap it tightly in aluminum foil and plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.

Q: What if I don’t have Velveeta cheese? A: You can substitute Velveeta with a combination of shredded cheddar and American cheese. The texture might be slightly different, but it will still be delicious.

Q: Can I use fresh broccoli instead of frozen? A: Yes, fresh broccoli can be used. Blanch the broccoli florets in boiling water for a few minutes until tender, then drain and add to the casserole.

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a comforting, hearty dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich cheese sauce, tender macaroni, and crispy panko topping, this casserole is sure to be a family favorite. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious recipe with your loved ones!

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