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Easy Baked Mac and Cheese

Easy Baked Mac and Cheese

5 from 8 votes
Created by Mariam E.
This Easy Baked Mac and Cheese is made with elbow pasta, cheddar cheese, and a simple creamy base sauce. Topped with bread crumbs and baked to perfection.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 12 oz elbow pasta cooked for 5 minutes (see package directions)
  • 4 tbsps full fat butter
  • 3 tbsps all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (save 1 cup for topping)
  • 1 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley optional

Bread Crumbs Topping

  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp butter


  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions, but only cook it for 7 minutes. Set aside.
  • On low heat, melt the butter in a non-stick pan/ skillet. Add in the flour and whisk or mix with a wooden spoon and continue whisking until the mixture bubbles up.
  • Gradually add in the milk, pasta water, spices, salt and continue whisking until the sauce is nice and smooth.
  • Add in the shredded cheese (saving 1 cup of sharp cheddar for later) and continue to whisk the mixture together until some of the cheese melt and incorporates with the sauce. Remember to keep the heat low. The cheese does not have to melt all the way because it will melt in the oven.
  • Next, drain the pasta from the water and add it to the skillet over the cheese. Toss the pasta around with the sauce to coat well.
  • Transfer the Mac and Cheese to a baking dish. Add a layer of shredded cheddar cheese to the top.
  • To prepare the panko crust, melt 1 tbsp. of butter in a non-stick skillet. Add in the panko crumbs, paprika and toast to give the crumbs a light brown color. Turn of the heat and add in the grated parmesan cheese. Mix together and top the cheddar cheese with the panko crumb mixture.
  • Bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the dish from the oven and top with some fresh chopped parsley for garnishing.


Calories: 744kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1112mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1844IU | Calcium: 765mg | Iron: 2mg
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