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It’s a dish that I can always enjoy. Whether it’s a super creamy Mac and Cheese or a One Pot Mac doesn’t matter. Or if you prefer cheesy Mac and Cheese with Add-Ins. Baked mac is the way to go when you’re looking for a thicker mac and cheese with a buttery, crunchy topping. Let me stop talking and show you exactly how to make it.

Why bake macaroni and cheese?

When I make mac, I usually rush to enjoy the creamy, cheesy goodness, so I eat it right out of the pot without baking it. However, baked mac and cheese will give you even more cheese and a crunchy, flavorful top. This decadent mac and cheese casserole is made possible by the pasta soaking up all that flavor. These few extra steps give this mac and cheese main character more energy. It goes from being just another side to becoming the star.

How to give MAC and CHEESE more flavor

We added chicken stock and a HEFTY amount of herbs and spices to the cheese sauce for the BEST macaroni and cheese. We seasoned the entire cheese sauce and then topped it with a mixture of buttery breadcrumbs. This mac and cheese is one of the best I have ever tasted.

What’s the best cheese for mac and cheese?

We decided to add more to the cheddar cheese to give it more depth and flavor. We mixed some store-bought Italian cheese blend instead of buying multiple types of cheese to add a quick burst of flavor. Mac and cheese can also be made with


Fresh Parmesan

Monterey Jack

Pepper jack

White cheddar

Goat cheese


You can use any of the above cheeses or mix some of your leftover cheeses to give it a new twist.

Can baked MAC and cheese be reheated?

The baked mac and cheese will be slightly less saucy, and the macaroni will continue absorbing the sauce when refrigerated. While I happily ate this mac and cheese bowl after reheating it, the sauce didn’t remain as saucy. Check out our super creamy stovetop mac-and-cheese for a mac and cheese that gets a bit saucier after reheating.


Mac and Cheese

1 cup chicken broth ($0.16)

1 cup heavy cream is $1.66

Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp ($0.02)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder ($0.02)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika ($0.02)

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper ($0.01)

1/8 tsp freshly crushed black pepper ($0.02)

1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($1.17)

One cup of shredded Italian cheese mixture ($1.50).

8 oz. macaroni ($0.67)

Seasoned Breadcrumbs

Butter 2 Tbsp ($0.25)

Half cup Panko Breadcrumbs ($0.25)

Italian seasoning, 1/4 tsp ($0.02)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder ($0.02)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika ($0.02)

1/8 tsp freshly crushed black pepper ($0.02)

1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)

1/4 cup shredded cheddar ($0.29)


Preheat the oven to 350oF. Add the heavy cream, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, and cayenne to the chicken broth in a saucepot. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a rolling boil on medium-high heat.

After boiling, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer the mixture for 7 minutes. Whisk the mixture often to thicken.

Remove the sauce from the heat. Combine the Italian cheese blend and cheddar cheese in a separate bowl—reserve about 1/4 of the mixture to be used as a layer on the casserole dish. Add the remaining cheese, one handful at a moment, to the sauce, whisking them in until thoroughly melted. Continue to whisk in the cheese until it is all added, and the sauce has become smooth. Set aside the sauce (whisk it occasionally to avoid skin forming).

Bring a large pot to a rolling boil. Add the macaroni to the boiling water and continue to boil until it is tender (7 minutes). Drain the macaroni using a colander.

Make the breadcrumbs while the macaroni boils. Melt butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the Panko and Italian seasoning. Garlic powder, smoked paprika, pepper, and salt once melted. They were stirring and cooking for 3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs toast is recommended. Allow the breadcrumbs to cool down a little after removing them from the heat.

Mix the macaroni and cheese sauce until they are well combined. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish.

Spread the reserved shredded cheese mixture over the macaroni. Sprinkle the reserved shredded mixture of cheese over the macaroni. Over the cheese, layer the second half.

Sprinkle the macaroni with cheese and the breadcrumbs. Combine the cooled crumbs with 1/4 cup of the cheddar cheese.

The macaroni and cheddar should be baked in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese bubbles up around the edge and the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Allow the mac and cheese to cool down for 5 minutes before serving.

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Joseph M. Kay

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