Welcome to the best Baked Mac and Cheese on the Internet! This cheesy goodness is creamy, flavorful and finished with a delicious breadcrumb topping.
The Ultimate Baked Mac and Cheese
We’re comin’ atcha today with the most perfectly cheesy homemade mac to our friends at Wood River Creamery.
We used their one-of-a-kind cheddar & gruyere cheese to make this mac extra extra special 😀
We Love Wood River Creamery!
Wood River Creamery cheeses are handcrafted in small batches by their master cheesemaker and staff in Wisconsin. That’s right, fellow midwesterners! We’re pretty big fans of that, too. A bit more about Wood River:
What Kind of Cheese Is It?
Wood River Creamery cheeses are a great fusion of cheddar and gruyere. You get the bold flavor of a cheddar combined with the buttery flavor of gruyere — truly a win-win.
Their cheeses come in some terrific specialty flavors you won’t find anywhere else (check ’em out below!).
Is Wood River Cheese Good for Cooking?
Wood River Creamery cheeses are great to cook with because of their flavor and terrific and you want a cheese that can melt really well in the baked mac and cheese. We’re talking ooey gooey melty goodness, people.
Where Can You Find Wood River Creamery Cheese?
They can be found in the specialty cheese case at your local grocery store or online. Check out their store locator.
Wood River Creamery Flavor Options
Wood River has some delicious flavor options, and while we used the Herbs de Provence variety in this mac, we’re already dreaming about making this recipe with their Applewood Smoked Sea Salt and Black Truffle varieties — can you say DELISH?!
- Herbs de Provence (what we used for this mac and cheese!)
- Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
- Black Truffle
- Chipotle Garlic
- Mango Habanero
- Roasted Red Pepper & Black Peppercorn
- Smoked Cracked Peppercorn
Baked Mac and Cheese – What You Need
This baked mac and cheese comes together with simple whole ingredients. You’ll need:
Mac and Cheese
- Wood River Creamery Herbs de Provence Cheddar Gruyere Cheese (you’ll need 2 blocks for this recipe!)
- Macaroni noodles- we used elbow macaroni noodles, but feel free to use any kind of noodle that you would like.
- Butter- butter makes everything better and is a necessary ingredient to make a roux.
- All-purpose flour- a simple all purpose flour is perfect for this recipe. If you would like to make this recipe gluten free you can use a 1 to 1 baking gluten free bakingflour.
- 2 % milk or heavy cream- 2% milk is perfect for this recipe but if you want to make your mac extra decadent you can use heavy cream.
- Salt- don’t skip the salt, it enhances flavors of all the ingredients.
- Granulated garlic (or garlic powder)- garlic powder adds a ton to this recipe. If you want to change things up you can also use onion powder.
- Buffalo hot sauce (we used Franks)
- More Wood River Creamery Herbs de Provence Cheddar Gruyere Cheese (leftover from what you shredded for the cheese sauce!)
- Breadcrumbs- we love using already flavored bread crumbs for our recipes, but you can use your favorite kind. If you don’t have bread crumbs food process ritz crackers instead. Or? Add some parmesan.
- Melted butter- the melted butter bids your bread crumb topping together.
shred that cheese
If we are using a lot of cheese for a recipe we like to shred our cheese in a food processor. You get a lot more bang for your buck.
How to Make Baked Macaroni and Cheese
We’ll walk you through exactly how to make this baked mac and cheese recipe. Let’s get into it!
Preheat & Prep
First, preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. This is what you’ll be making your baked mac in!
Cook Macaroni Noodles
Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the uncooked macaroni noodles and salt to the water and stir.
Pro Tip: Don’t overcook your noodles! Let pasta cook until it’s just under al dente so that the noodles are a little crunchy. The noodles will continue cooking in the oven, and you don’t want them to be too mushy. Then, strain noodles and set aside.
Make the Mac and Cheese Sauce
Next, prepare a roux by heating a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat, and then add butter. Then, when the butter is melted, add flour and whisk until the butter and flour form a crumble.
Slowly add milk to the pot, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the roux over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the roux thickens.
When the roux is thick, remove from heat and add the cheddar gruyere cheese, and continue whisking until the cheese has melted.
Mix Cheese & Macaroni Noodles
Transfer the cooked macaroni noodles into the casserole dish and spread out evenly. Then, pour the cheese sauce on top and mix to combine.
Prepare Breadcrumb Topping
Next, prepare the breadcrumb topping by mixing together shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. And then add in the melted butter and mix again.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of mac and cheese in the prepared baking dish, making sure everything is covered. This will bake to golden brown deliciousness in the oven!
Bake & Enjoy!
Bake your baked mac and cheese at 350ºF for around 20 minutes or until the top turns golden brown. There should be bubbles coming up the side of your pan. Finally, top with fresh parsley and ENJOY, cheese lovers. This delicious comfort food is sure to make your taste buds dance, people.
Do you want an extra golden topping? Turn on your broiler and place your baked mac and broil for 1 or 2 minutes.
How to Store Baked Mac and Cheese
Store this baked mac and cheese in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Reheating Mac and Cheese
The key to reheating mac and cheese is to add a little moisture (milk works great!) since the noodles continue to absorb moisture even after they’re originally cooked, and to reheat low and slow to avoid the cheese breaking down and changing texture.
If you have time to reheat your mac and cheese in the oven, that is a great method! Simply add a little milk (start with a tablespoon, and go up from there depending on how much mac you’re reheating!), and stir thoroughly before covering an oven-safe dish and placing in the oven at 350°F.
You’ll need 10-20 minutes of reheating time, depending on how much mac you’re reheating.
Baked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. macaroni noodles
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups 2 % milk
- 3 cups shredded Wood River Creamery Herbs de Provence Cheddar Gruyere Cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- 1-2 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce we used Franks
- 1/3 cup shredded Wood River Creamery Herbs de Provence Cheddar Gruyere Cheese
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- First, preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a large casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the uncooked macaroni noodles and salt to the water and stir.
- Let pasta cook until it's just under al dente so that they are a little crunchy. They will continue cooking in the oven. Strain noodles and set aside.
- Next, prepare a roux by heating a large pot or dutch oven over medium/high heat. Add butter.
- When the butter is melted add flour and whisk until the butter and flour form a crumble.
- Slowly add milk to the pot, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk the roux over medium/high heat for about 4-6 minutes or until the roux thickens.
- When the roux is thick, remove from heat and add the cheddar gruyere cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted.
- Transfer the cooked macaroni noodles to the casserole dish and spread out evenly. Then, pour the cheese sauce on top, add hot sauce, and mix to combine.
- Next, prepare breadcrumb topping by mixing together shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Then, add in melted butter and mix again.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of mac and cheese in the casserole dish, making sure everything is covered.
- Bake at 350ºF for around 20 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
- Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Burnett Dairy. We were compensated and all opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting The Cheese Knees!