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Creamy baked mac and cheese lifted with a spoon.

Baked Mac and Cheese

  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 1x


This warm, comforting baked mac and cheese is rich and creamy with a buttery and crunchy Parmesan-panko breadcrumb topping.


Units Scale
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 cups (16 oz.) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups (8 oz.) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard


  1. Cook the pasta until just before al dente, about 1 minute shy of the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a Dutch oven over low heat and add in flour. Whisk continuously for 3-5 minutes, until flour smell is gone and it smells a little nutty. 
  3. Increase heat to medium-low and pour in milk and heavy cream in small increments, whisking continuously the whole time until all the lumps are gone. 
  4. Simmer until sauce is bubbly and thick, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix the grated cheeses together. Add in 4 cups of the mixed cheese to the sauce in batches, whisking continuously until the cheese melts smoothly into the sauce. 
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add in optional seasonings.
  7. Add in the cooked pasta and coat the pasta fully with the sauce.
  8. In a 9×13 casserole dish, pour half of the pasta in a single layer.
  9. Top with remaining 2 cups of mixed cheese and finish with the other half of pasta.
  10. Make the topping layer by combining panko breadcrumbs, butter and Parmesan cheese.
  11. Sprinkle over the casserole and bake uncovered at 350°F for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and the top is golden brown.
  12. Dish and serve hot.
  13. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins