Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese layered with three cheeses for the creamiest and most delectable side dish.
This Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is one of my family's favorites and is definitely a crowd-pleaser. It's loved by both adults and kids which is huge. I serve this recipe for holidays, birthdays, and even during ordinary family dinners. We just can't get enough.
- Large elbow noodles
- Mild cheddar cheese
- Monterey cheese
- Colby jack cheese
- Evaporated carnation milk
- Kosher salt
- White pepper (optional)
How to make creamy baked mac and cheese
Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is so easy to make and only requires a few really simple ingredients.
Pasta: Cook large elbow pasta noodles just until al dente, drain and rinse.
Cheese: Shred a generous amount of mild cheddar cheese, marbled colby cheese, and mozzarella cheese. These are the types of cheeses I like to use, but any other really good melting cheese or cheese blend will work.
If you like smoked flavor cheese, smoked gouda cheese will be a great option to add as well.
Milk mixture: In a measuring, add evaporated carnation milk, an egg, salt and whisk until combined.
Assemble: Lightly butter the inside of a casserole dish, layer the bottom of the casserole dish with the prepared elbow noodles, add a layer of the 3 cheese blend, add alternate between elbow noddles and the cheese blend until the top layer is topped with the 3 cheese blend.
After assembling the mac and cheese, pour the milk mixture over the entire top surface of the mac and cheese using the measuring cup.
Bake: Loosely cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil and bake until the cheese starts to bubble and edges are a nice golden brown. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
If you prefer a crisper or browner top, place under the broiler for just a couple of minutes BUT watch closely to prevent the mac and cheese from burning.
What can I make with baked macaroni and cheese
If you're serving baked macaroni and cheese as a side dish, the following main dishes would pair perfectly:
What kind of cheese to use for baked mac and cheese
I prefer using the following types of cheese when making baked mac and cheese: mild cheddar cheese, monterey jack, colby jack cheese, and mozzarella cheese. These cheeses have a nice creamy texture and melts beautifully when you shred it yourself.
There are other cheeses that are just as delicious here are a few ideas: Medium and sharp cheddar, gruyere, and swiss.
Create your own cheese blend using a few of your favorite types of cheeses.
What kind of milk is used for mac and cheese
I prefer evaporated carnation milk since it adds a creamier texture. I've also used reduced fat evaporated carnation milk on several occasions and the texture was still perfect and delicious.
Making mac and cheese ahead of time
- Assemble the mac and cheese in the baking dish as described above and in the recipe card below (but do not add the milk mixture) instead cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
- Before baking, place the mac and cheese on the countertop and allow it to come to room temperature. This can take up to 30 minutes.
- Combine the ingredients for the milk mixture in a measuring cup and pour over the entire top of the mac and cheese making sure it's well coated.
- Cover lightly with foil and place in a preheated oven to bake until hot and bubbly with crispy edges.
Storing mac and cheese
If you have leftovers, store the mac and cheese in an airtight container or ziploc bag or cover the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap.
To warm, remove the mac and cheese from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature. Then, cover with foil and place in a 375° preheated oven until it's hot throughout.
- Do not overcook the pasta noodles prior to layering
- Grate the cheese yourself with a box grater INSTEAD of buying pre-shredded cheese packaged cheese
- Use multiple cheeses for extra flavor and creaminess
- Add enough of the milk mixture to prevent your mac and cheese from looking and tasting dry
- Using a measuring cup makes it really easy to evenly pour the milk mixture over the entire top surface of the mac and cheese
- Add salt to the milk mixture for added flavor
- Loosely cover the mac and cheese with aluminum foil to prevent the top of the mac cheese from cooking too quickly and burning
Thanks for visiting,
Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
- 2 can evaporated carnation milk (whole carnation milk)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 small bags large elbow noodles (or 1 large bag)
- 4 cups cheddar cheese
- 4 cups colby jack cheese
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Shred cheeses. Set aside.
- In measuring cup, add carnation milk, egg, and salt and whisk until well combined. Set aside,
- Prepare casserole dish by rubbing the entire inner serve with butter to prevent mac and cheese from sticking.
- Prepare large elbow noodles according to packaging instructions cooking just until al denta. Drain, rinse and pat dry with paper towel.
- Assemble mac and cheese: Adding a layer of prepared elbow noodles to casserole dish, add a generous amount of cheese blend over first layer of noodles and alternate between elbow noodles and cheese blend until top layer is topped with a generous amount of cheese blend.
- Whisk milk mixture again then pour over entire top surface of mac and cheese. Loosely cover mac and cheese with aluminum foil and bake in oven until cheese begins to bubble throughout. Remove aluminum foil and continue to bake for approximately 4 minutes or so.