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Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious, super rich, five cheese baked mac and cheese recipe. This copycat steakhouse recipe is fancy enough to serve to guests for holidays, but so delicious, you’ll want to make this easy baked mac and cheese recipe every day!

best baked mac n cheese on white plate

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Thank you to OXO for partnering with me on this easy and comforting signature seasonal side dish

Every year for the holiday meals, my husband gets excited about what he’s going to cook and how he’s going to cook it. A turkey breast, a whole turkey, a ham… what do you make? Do you bake it, smoke it, fry it? So many options.

While he focuses on the meat, I take over the sides.

grater and cheese on cutting board for homemade baked mac and cheese

This baked mac and cheese recipe is the star of the show for me and what I look forward to most. It’s a popular steakhouse copycat recipe that includes FIVE different cheeses. It’s creamy and comforting and worth every calorie.

onion chopper on cutting board

I not only make it for holidays, but often in the summer for barbecues and get-togethers.

pot of noodles and cheese

HOMEMADE BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE INGREDIENTS

  • Noodles – I like to use cavatappi noodles. Their shape and their ridges help hold the cheese so it doesn’t slide off.
  • Butter – Butter makes it better! You’ll saute your onions in butter to soften them.
  • Yellow Onion – Yellow onions are really an all-purpose onion. They have great flavor and get sweeter the longer you cook them.
  • Heavy Cream – You’ll use heavy cream to make the base of the cheese sauce. It has a high fat content, which makes this dish extra rich.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Sharp cheddar has been aged 6-9 months. The longer it ages, the tangier and deeper the flavor.
  • Mild Cheddar Cheese – Only aged 2-3 months, mild cheddar is just that – milder – in flavor.
  • Cream Cheese – Cream cheese helps to thicken the sauce and make it extra creamy.
  • Swiss Cheese – Also called emmental, Swiss cheese is semi-hard with a sharp flavor that isn’t quite sharp.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Parmesan is a hard, dry, sharp cheese that has been aged 12-16 months.
  • Chili Paste – I like to use Sambal Oelek, which is a ground fresh chili paste with vinegar & salt, but Sriracha will work as well. Either should be easy to find. It adds a lot of flavor and a little kick.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – Panko is a type of breadcrumb made from white bread. It has large flakes that are light & airy. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own, but it adds great crunch and texture to baked dishes. I think all baked macaroni and cheeses benefit from a breadcrumb topping – my husband disagrees. What do you think?

noodles and cheese in baking dish for best baked mac n cheese

You know my love of OXO products runs deep. My kitchen is full of them and I link to them in almost every post. Let’s go over which tools I used to help make this dish:

TOOLS TO HELP YOU MAKE HOMEMADE BAKED MAC & CHEESE

  • Grater – Either a box grater or a hand grater will work but you have a lot of cheese to grate here so make sure you have a good one.
  • One Stop Chop – Chop onions in a flash with this hand held manual food processor. Turn the handle a couple times for large chunks or keep going for smooth textures.
  • Hand Held Electric Mixer – You can use a handheld immersion blender (which I don’t have) or a hand held mixer to mix the cheese sauce.
  • Balloon Whisk – If you don’t have a handheld immersion blender OR a handheld mixer (or just don’t feel like getting them out), a standard balloon whisk will also mix the cheese sauce just fine.
  • Rubber Spatulas – I use rubber spatulas for EVERYTHING. They’re heat safe so you can use them to saute the onions in the butter, to stir your cooking noodles, and to help spread the pasta into the baking dish.
  • Glass 3qt Baking Dish with Lid – I love this dish for so many reasons. First, it has a lid. No wasting foil. Second, it can go straight from the freezer to the oven so if you happen to prep this dish ahead of time, you won’t have to wait for it to come to room temperature before you pop it in the oven.
  • Herb Stripping Comb – Quickly pull the leaves from parsley (or cilantro, thyme, rosemary, oregano…) with ease to garnish your finished dish.

Once your pasta is in the baking dish, add more cheese and top with panko breadcrumbs.

cheese and panko topping on baked mac and cheese in baking dish

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly around the edges.

oxo herb stripping comb with parsley

Once it’s done, use an OXO Herb Stripping Comb to prep some fresh parsley for garnishing.

best baked mac n cheese plated on white plate

Enjoy!

baked macaroni and cheese bite on a fork

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HOW TO MAKE BAKED MAC AND CHEESE

Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Melissa | Persnickety Plates
Homemade Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious, super rich, five cheese baked macaroni and cheese. This copycat steakhouse macaroni and cheese is fancy enough to serve to guests for holidays, but so delicious, you'll want to make this mac and cheese recipe every day!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 8 -12 servings
Calories 684 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz. cavatappi
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion finely diced
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 3/4 cup Swiss cheese grated
  • 4 oz. cream cheese cut into small cubes
  • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 2/3 cups mild cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chili paste such as sambal oelek
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • fresh parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large pot of salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve another 1/2 cup of pasta water to thin the sauce. Drain but leave a little water on the pasta to keep it moist.  Return to the cooking pot and cover to keep warm.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the onions for about 1 minute or until tender. Add the cream and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in the sharp cheddar, cream cheese, Parmesan & Swiss cheeses and cook, stirring, until the cheeses melt and are fully incorporated into the cream.
  • Let the sauce reach a simmer and stir in the chili paste. You will have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce.
  • Remove from the heat and use an immersion blender or hand-held electric mixer (or whisk), to beat for about 45 seconds until the cheeses and onion are completely blended. The sauce will be thick; thin it with the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water and mix well. Season to taste with salt.
  • Ladle the sauce over the pasta and mix well with a rubber spatula. 
  • Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish and spread the pasta and cheese evenly. Sprinkle the coarsely shredded cheese over the casserole and sprinkle with the bread crumbs.
  • Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot & bubbling around the edges. 
  • Garnish with fresh parsley & serve immediately.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 684kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 28gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 135mgSodium: 565mgPotassium: 254mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1405IUVitamin C: 0.7mgCalcium: 609mgIron: 1.4mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

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Do you have a favorite signature holiday side dish?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of OXO, one of my very favorite brands. 

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  1. MeghalinaBee says

    i have been craving mac & cheese lately… this is PERFECT! 🙂

Melissa Williams/Persnickety Plates is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. For more details, please see my Privacy Policy & Disclosures page.

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