Best Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

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baked mac and cheese recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People

It’s rewind time. Today, I’m looking back on my very first recipe video I ever posted for baked mac and cheese – and I’m revamping the very first video recipe I ever made to compare my progress as a food blogger over the last four years.

It’s not exactly the WORST recipe video ever created, if you can ignore the mystery ingredients and block of cream cheese…

Check it out here:

In my original video, I didn’t even know what a roux was, so learning that alone helped a ton with not only flavor but texture as well. The goat cheese amplifies the creamy flavor – and I think that goat cheese tastes a lot like cream cheese, so that definitely improved the overall flavor. And generally speaking, there’s fewer calories in goat cheese than cream cheese, so you have that added benefit as well.

Here’s What You Need

  • Elbow noodles: The base of our mac and cheese.
  • Butter: Adds richness and helps form the roux.
  • Flour: Thickens the cheese sauce.
  • Milk: Creates a creamy base for the sauce.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: Provides a strong, tangy flavor.
  • Goat cheese: Adds creaminess and a hint of tang.
  • Smoked paprika: Gives a smoky depth to the flavor.
  • Onion powder: Enhances the overall savory taste.
  • Garlic powder: Adds a subtle garlic flavor.
  • Panko: Adds a crunchy topping.
  • French fried onions: Provides an extra crispy texture.
  • Basil: Adds a fresh, aromatic touch.
  • Melted butter: Helps the topping brown and crisp.
  • Pepper: Adds a hint of spice.
  • Green onion: Used for garnish, adding color and freshness.
goat cheese mac

Let’s Cook

In a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter until it just begins to brown. Whisk in the flour until it forms clumps and starts to look browned. Then, slowly pour in half of the milk while whisking consistently until a smooth roux is formed.

Creating the Cheese Sauce

Next, stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until it forms a thick batter. Pour in the rest of the milk while stirring until a thick cheese sauce has formed. Then, stir in the goat cheese, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder until the sauce is smooth and velvety.

Combining with Noodles

Add the cooked elbow noodles to the pot and stir until the noodles are completely coated in the luscious cheese sauce. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

Preparing the Topping

Preheat your oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine the panko, crushed French fried onions, basil, melted butter, and pepper. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the mac and cheese in an even layer for that perfect crunchy topping.

Baking

Place the pot into the oven uncovered and bake for 15-20 minutes. If you’re feeling extra fancy, broil on low for 3-5 minutes for an extra crispy topping.

Finishing Touches

Garnish with green onion for a pop of color and freshness. Serve hot with your favorite fish sticks!

cheesy goat cheese macaroni

Extra Tips for Perfect Mac & Cheese

  • Roux Mastery: Ensure the flour is well-cooked and browned before adding the milk. This prevents any raw flour taste and creates a smooth sauce.
  • Cheese Choices: Experiment with different cheese combinations. Adding Gruyère or fontina can create a unique flavor profile.
  • Crunch Factor: For an extra crunchy topping, mix some grated Parmesan with the panko and onions.
  • Bake Time: Watch the mac and cheese closely while broiling. The topping can burn quickly, so keep an eye on it.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat in the oven to maintain the crisp topping.
best baked mac and cheese

So there you have it, my revamped baked mac and cheese recipe. It’s been a journey from my first video to now, and I hope you enjoy this updated version. The goat cheese really does add a nice touch and makes the dish even creamier. If you decide to try this, let me know how it turns out. And remember, serving it with fish sticks is a must in my book. Until next time, keep cooking and having fun in the kitchen, Hungry People!

baked mac and cheese recipe

Baked Mac & Cheese

The Starving Chef
A creamy, smoky baked mac and cheese with goat cheese for an extra touch of tanginess.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Pasta
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz elbow noodles cooked
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 cup panko
  • ½ cup french fried onions crushed
  • 5 tablespoons basil
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • teaspoon pepper
  • green onion for topping

Instructions
 

  • In a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons of butter until it is just beginning to brown. Whisk in the flour until it forms clumps and starts to look browned. Then slowly pour in half of the milk while whisking consistently until a smooth roux is formed.
  • Stir in the shredded cheese until it forms a thick batter. Pour in the rest of the milk while stirring, until a thick cheese sauce has formed. Then stir in the goat cheese, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder until smooth.
  • Add the cooked elbow noodles to the pot and stir until the noodles are completely coated. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, combine the panko, crushed fried onions, basil, melted butter, and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the mac and cheese in an even layer.
  • Place the pot into the oven uncovered and bake for 15-20 minutes. OPTIONAL: Broil on low for 3-5 minutes for an extra crispy topping.
  • Garnish with green onion. Serve hot with your favorite fish sticks and enjoy!

Video

Keyword cheese, goat cheese, noodles
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!