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Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe

This Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe is an easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe using your favorite pasta, a cheesy sauce and panko breadcrumbs for crunch. This is the perfect comfort food and also a nice side dish at the holidays. 

Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe in a skillet.

BAKED MAC AND CHEESE WITH BREAD CRUMBS RECIPE

Thanksgiving is almost here and if you are looking for something to have on the table along with your turkey and sides this Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe is your answer.

The kids love it and the adults do too.

I mean who doesn’t love a warm, cheesy bowl of mac and cheese?

This recipe is homemade, so you can forget that boxed stuff!

I finish my Baked Mac and Cheese off with the panko to create a crunchy crispy topping but you can leave that off if you or your guests aren’t into that.

You can also use regular breadcrumbs

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Bread crumbs Recipe with small bowl

As a child I remember eating a lot of boxed mac and cheese.

Now I love making more homemade versions with a twist like this Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs, Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Easy Tuna Noodle Casserole or this Instant Pot Vegetable Mac and Cheese.

It was quick and easy but honestly not that good. Nothing beats a homemade mac and cheese because you can control what you put in it and can make it extra cheesy if you like.

If you are looking for side dishes for Thanksgiving check out this page on my blog for some other good ideas including these Green Beans with Toasted Almonds and these Balsamic Carrots

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE IN THIS MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPE?

PASTA: I used elbow macaroni in this recipe. Any small to medium sized pasta will work great in a macaroni and cheese recipe.

CHEESE: This recipe uses sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese. I like the combination of those two together but any cheese works great!

FlOUR: The flour and the milk together help create a thick sauce with the cheese.

MILK: I used whole milk and heavy cream to create a thick, creamy cheese sauce. You could use other milk it just might not be as creamy.

SPICES: The spice combination in this recipe is my favorite. It uses sweet paprika and earthy ground mustard. I love them together. You can skip those for a more traditional mac and cheese.

BREAD CRUMBS: Panko bread crumbs were my choice to add crunch to this dish. You can also use plain bread crumbs or leave them off all-together!

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs with spoon

HOW TO MAKE THIS BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

Spray a baking dish with cooking oil unless using a cast iron skillet for baking the mac and cheese. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

COOK PASTA: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package until al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.

CREATE CHEESE SAUCE: While the pasta cooks melt butter in a large skillet or saucepan.

Whisk in flour slowly over medium-low heat and whisk the entire time until it starts to become bubbly.

Slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream until the mixture is smooth.Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface. Whisk in the paprika, ground mustard, black pepper and salt and whisk for 2 more minutes.

COMBINE PASTA WITH SAUCE: Add 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another 1 cup shar cheddar and continue whisking until it thickens.

Stir in the pasta and mix well until the cheese and pasta are combined.

ADD MAC AND CHEESE TO BAKING DISH: Pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish or you can leave it in the large skillet. Top with the remaining 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Top with the panko breadcrumbs.

BAKE: Bake at 325F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Optional: garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

HOW CAN I MODIFY THIS RECIPE?

The nice thing with a homemade mac and cheese is you can also add lots of other ingredients in.

PROTEIN: Try adding a protein in to your macaroni and cheese. I like shredded rotisserie chicken, canned tuna or salmon.

VEGETABLES:  Vegetables are a great way to get more nutrition out of your mac and cheese recipe. I especially like adding peas, chopped up broccoli, cauliflower or carrots to mine.

SQUASH: In the fall it is nice to add in some squash to a mac and cheese recipe. Try butternut squash or delicata squash.

CHEESE: Use any cheese you like in your baked mac and cheese. I sometimes like adding a smoked gouda or a spicy cheese, like pepper jack, to give it a unique flavor.

I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoys a table of delicoius, warming food. My favorite thing about food and cooking is that it brings us to the table to spend time with each other.

As I sit down at the table each year I like to reflect on all that I am thankful for.

One of those things is you, my readers. I love that I can do what I enjoy and am passion about and share that with people that also love food. Cheers to a very happy table of family and friends and full stomachs.

OTHER PASTA RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE:

SPICY SAUSAGE PASTA

LEMON PASTA 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA

CAJUN PASTA WITH CHICKEN SAUSAGE AND SHRIMP

ITALIAN SAUSAGE PASTA BAKE

Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe with logo.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe in a skillet.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs

Yield: 8-10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe is an easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe using your favorite pasta, a cheesy sauce and panko breadcrumbs for crunch. This is the perfect comfort food and also a nice side dish at the holidays. 

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces of pasta {your choice, smaller pasta works best}
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar, shredded {divided}
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded {divided}
  • 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Spray a baking dish with cooking oil unless using a cast iron skillet for baking the mac and cheese. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  4. Cook pasta according to package until al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.
  5. While the pasta cooks melt butter in a large skillet or saucepan.
  6. Whisk in flour slowly over medium-low heat and whisk the entire time until it starts to become bubbly.
  7. Slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream until the mixture is smooth.Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface. Whisk in the paprika, ground mustard, black pepper and salt and whisk for 2 more minutes.
  8. Add 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another 1 cup shar cheddar and continue whisking until it thickens.
  9. Stir in the pasta and mix wel until the cheese and pasta are combined.
  10. Pour the mac and cheese into a baking dish or you can leave it in the large skillet. Top with the remaining 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese and 1 cup mozzarella cheese. You can leave the mac and cheese in the skillet or transfer to your baking dish if you prefer.
  11. Top with the panko breadcrumbs.
  12. Bake at 325F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  13. Optional: garnish with parsley.
  14. Serve warm.

Notes

You can easily half the recipe for a smaller crowd.

You can use any type of cheese you like.

If you like spice add crushred red pepper, caynened red pepper or you could add chopped jalapenos.

You can prep the mac and cheese the day before, topping with the cheese but leaving off the panko. Add the panko the day of and bake the mac and cheese in the oven when ready to serve.

CommentLuv badge

Top 5 Recipes of 2012 - A Cedar Spoon

Tuesday 10th of October 2023

[…] Baked Mac & Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs I agree with all those that have viewed and made this recipe–it is delicious! Unfortunately […]

Pamela

Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

Made it 5-2-2023. Sixteen year old son ate almost the whole pan! Thank you Julia

Julia

Tuesday 2nd of May 2023

I am so glad he enjoyed it! <3

Joy

Saturday 25th of March 2023

This was so simple to make and it was yummy.. Thanks

Julia

Friday 31st of March 2023

I am so glad!

Cheesy Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet - A Cedar Spoon

Monday 20th of March 2023

[…] you are looking for other cheesy dishes that make perfect weeknight meals, try this Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs, Instant Pot Broccoli Cheese Soup, Three Cheese Beef Enchiladas, or this Instant Pot Vegetable Mac […]

Aidan Wolfe

Thursday 1st of September 2022

Looks delicious that everyone will surely love, thanks for sharing the recipe (https://dairyfreedownunder.com.au/).

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