Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

This is the best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese recipe EVER. We’re not even exaggerating – it’s that good. If you’re looking for a truly creamy, cheesy and delicious mac and cheese recipe, look no further. This one is guaranteed to please everyone at the table. Trust us, you’re going to want to make this again and again!

Creamy baked Mac and Cheese in a light blue baking dish

Our go-to dinner when we are in need of some serious comfort food is this creamy baked mac and cheese. It’s ooey, gooey, and full of that cheesy flavor we all love. Plus, it’s pretty darn simple to make. So if you’re ever in the mood for a big bowl of carbs and cheese (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?), this recipe is for you!

This creamy baked version is so good, you’ll be fighting for seconds. And it’s easy to make, so you can whip it up anytime the craving strikes. Your taste buds will thank you for making this delicious and comforting dish.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

We have always preferred the creamy baked mac and cheese recipe to the stove-top version. It just seems to have more flavor and a creamier texture. And it’s really not that difficult to make – you just need a few key ingredients and the oven does all the work.

If you’ve ever had the baked mac and cheese from The Cheesecake Factory, then you know what we’re talking about. It’s insanely delicious and creamy, and definitely hits the spot when you’re craving some comfort food. Well, our recipe is just as good, if not better. So try it out for yourself and see what we mean!

a spoon of Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese being taken from a blue casserole dish

This dish is packed with flavor and will leave you feeling satisfied. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be tailored to your liking. Your entire family will love this classic comfort food recipe.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Ingredients

You only need a handful of ingredients to help you make this creamy southern mac and cheese recipes. You may also have most of these ingredients on hand already which can help you save yourself a trip to the grocery store. As always you can find the full list of ingredients and quantiles in the recipe card.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese  in a white bowl
  • dry elbow pasta
  • unsalted butter
  • all-purpose flour
  • whole milk
  • half and half
  • shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • smoked paprika

**See the recipe card at the end of the post for quantities.

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese with cheese before baking

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Instructions

To make this delicious and easy baked mac and cheese you only need to follow these simple steps. This creamy comfort food recipe comes together in no time at all, you won’t regret making this creamy recipe.

Step 1: Preheat the oven and prepare a baking dish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 13 x 9″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Step 2: Cook the pasta in salted water

Cook pasta in salted water and 1 minutes less than al dente package instructions and drain.

Step 3: Mix together the cheeses

Toss the cheeses together in a bowl.

Step 4: Make a roux

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Sprinkle with flour and whisk constantly, cooking the mixture for about 60 seconds.

roux cheese sauce for mac and cheese

Step 5: Add the milk to make a cream sauce

Add milks in 1 cup increments, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until smooth and thickened.

Step 6: Season the cream sauce and add the cheese

Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, paprika, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and repeat with another 1 1/2 cups cheese.

Step 7: Add the pasta to the baking dish

Combine cheese sauce and cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the cheesy pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Add the remaining pasta and top with the remaining cheese.

layered Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese in blue baking dish

Step 8: Bake the creamy southern baked mac and cheese

Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly; about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Hint: Be sure to spray your baking dish well for easy clean up.

a full pic of Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese in a blue casserole dish

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Equipment

You only need a few basic kitchen tools to help you make this dinner time favorite.

  • 13 x 9″ baking dish
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • large saucepan
  • mixing bowl
  • measuring cups and spoons

Storage

Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days. Because of the amount of dairy in this mac and cheese, I don’t recommend freezing it.

PIN IT!!

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese in a blue baking dish

Tips

Here are some helpful tips to help you make sure that your baked mac and cheese turns out perfectly.

  • Cook pasta al dente. This will help ensure that your pasta doesn’t get too mushy when baked.
  • Stir in the cheese gradually. This will help prevent the cheese from clumping and make it easier to mix in.
  • Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly. This will help ensure that your cheese is melted and delicious.
  • If you want a crunchy topping on top of your mac and cheese, you can add breadcrumbs to the top before baking.
  • Another great topping idea is crushed Ritz crackers mixed with melted butter.
a big spoon of Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese taken from a blue casserole dish

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

If you love mac and cheese recipes, give these other recipes a try.

Bacon Jalapeno Pepper Jack Mac And Cheese

Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese

Low Carb Mac and Cheese

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese FAQ

What type of cheese can I use?

You can use any type of shredded cheese that you like in this recipe. My favorites are sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheese.

Can I use different types of pasta?

You can use any type of pasta that you like in this recipe. I typically use elbow macaroni, but you could also use shells or tubes.

Can I make this ahead of time?

This recipe can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before baking.

Can I freeze this?

I don’t recommend freezing this recipe because of the dairy content.

What can I serve with this?

This dish is great on its own, but you could also serve it with a side salad or steamed vegetables.

Why You’ll Love This Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Baked Mac and Cheese is one of those dishes that can be made a million different ways and still come out delicious every time. This recipe is one of our favorites, because it’s creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor. Plus, it’s easy to make! You’ll definitely want to add this dish to your rotation.

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Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese in a light blue baking dish

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

This is the best Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese recipe EVER. We're not even exaggerating – it's that good. If you're looking for a truly creamy, cheesy and delicious mac and cheese recipe, look no further.
4.34 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Author: Rob

Ingredients

  • 1 (1lb.) box dry elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups shredded medium sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese, divided
  • 1/2 Tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and spray a 13 x 9" baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
  • Cook pasta in salted water and 1 minutes less than al dente package instructions and drain.
  • Toss cheeses together in a bowl.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Sprinkle with flour and whisk constantly, cooking the mixture for about 60 seconds. Add milks in 1 cup increments, whisking well after each addition. Whisk until smooth and thickened. 
  • Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, paprika, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and repeat with another 1 1/2 cups cheese.
  • Combine cheese sauce and cooked pasta in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the cheesy pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
  • Add the remaining pasta and top with the remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and bubbly; about 20 minutes. Serve hot. 

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