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Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs Recipe

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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 skillet


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. 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


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: Any milk you like will work fine. I used 1% but you can also use whole milk or cream for a thicker sauce. 

SPICES: The spice combination in this recipe is my favorite. It uses sweet paprika and earthy ground mustard. 

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


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.

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Bread Crumbs Recipe Cast Iron Skillet

More Great Baked Mac & Cheese recipes:

Revolutionary Mac & Cheese:  Macaroni and Cheesecake
Four Cheese Baked Skillet Rigatoni: How Sweet It Is
Macaroni and Three Cheese Lunch Muffins: Whole Foods Blog

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs

Baked Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes


  • 8 ounces of pasta {your choice, smaller pasta works best}
  • 1 1/2cups sharp cheddar, shredded {divided}
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded {divided}
  • 4 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups of milk (I used 1% but you can use whatever milk you would like}
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs


  1. Spray a baking dish with cooking oil unless using a cast iron skillet. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Cook pasta according to package until al dente.
  3. While pasta cooks, heat the milk over medium low heat. When the milk begins to boil add the flour in and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. The mixture will begin to get thick and creamy--reduce the heat to a simmer and continue to stir until this happens.
  4. Remove the milk and flour mixture from the heat and slowly stir in 1 1/4 cups of sharp cheddar cheese and ½ a cup of the mozzarella.
  5. In a large bowl combine the pasta and the cheese sauce and mix until combined. Pour the mac and cheese into an oiled baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
  6. Top with the 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese and the 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese along with the panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
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