We think that there are very few ingredients that pair better with mac and cheese than bacon. For this bacon mac and cheese recipe, you cook the noodles, prep the sauce, and then bake everything together in a casserole dish to get the top golden brown and crispy.
When Rosie, our Cheese Monger and recipe developer, developed this recipe she wanted to create a creamy macaroni and cheese that was also baked so it developed that golden crust. She nailed it.
This bacon mac and cheese has a cheesy roux base and chunks of salty bacon in every bite. Great for the holidays or just a weeknight meal.
What is in Bacon Mac and Cheese
We use classic macaroni noodles in this bacon mac and cheese. Feel free to use a smaller noodle like orecchiette, shells, or radiatore. As for the salty bacon, we suggest using a thick-cut bacon so that the bacon pieces don’t disintegrate when baked.
The two cheeses used in this recipe are cheddar and gruyere cheese. They complement each other and melt well in the roux.
This le creuset casserole dish is our all time favorite casserole dish! The white color rocks, it has a cover, and it’s great for so many dishes.
We based this delicious cheese sauce on our delicious mac and cheese sauce. If you don’t have gruyere or gouda, feel free to make this cheddar cheese mac and cheese sauce.
Elevate this Recipe
If you have extra time for this recipe here’s a great idea. Instead of using already cooked bacon, you can cook the bacon on the stove yourself and use the drippings instead of butter in your roux.
Cook the bacon on the stovetop and then remove it from the skillet. Leave the drippings in the skillet and be sure it’s about 4 tablespoons of drippings and proceed with the recipe as written.
Tips for Bacon Mac and Cheese
Always use block cheese. Try your best not to use pre-shredded cheese when making a cheese sauce. Sometimes there can be an anti-clumping agent in pre-shredded cheese.
Be sure the sauce isn’t too thick when mixing it with the pasta. The sauce will thicken when the mac and cheese bakes in the oven.
Let the mac and cheese cool completely and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We do not suggest freezing this mac and cheese.
Reheating Instructions: Add the mac and cheese to a saucepan and add a few tablespoons of milk to the saucepan and warm the mac and cheese over low heat until it thins out.
What to Serve with Bacon Mac and Cheese
Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 16- oz. dried elbow macaroni noodles feel free to use shells
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 6- oz. smoked gouda shredded and divided
- 16- oz. gruyere shredded and divided
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 lb. bacon cooked and crumbled
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spray a 9×13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until al dente. Strain the pasta and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add butter. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute or until a paste forms.
- Slowly add the milk and cream into the roux, whisking continuously for 3-4 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. You want a smooth sauce with no lumps.
- Next, set aside ½ cup of the gouda and 1 cup of gruyere, and then fold in the rest of the shredded cheese, mustard, salt, and pepper to the sauce. Mix until all of the cheese has melted.
- Add the cooked noodles and bacon to the sauce and mix to combine.
- Transfer the mac and cheese into the casserole dish. Top with the 1.5 cups of remaining cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
- The sauce should be a little “loose”, the noodles will absorb some of that moisture while baking.