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Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection


Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection – Welcome to your new favorite comfort food staple. Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection. This dish is a hearty ensemble of creamy cheese. And tender pasta. That’s perfect for any occasion. Whether it’s a cozy family dinner. Or a festive side dish. Key ingredients include elbow pasta. Cheddar. And Gruyere cheeses. And a hint of smoked paprika. For that extra touch of flavor.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

The first time I made this dish. It was a chilly evening. That demanded something warm. And filling. The kitchen was filled. With the rich aroma of melting cheese and butter. And the anticipation. Was almost too much to bear. When it came out of the oven. Bubbling and golden brown. It was a hit! My husband praised its perfect creaminess. And even our little one. Couldn’t get enough of the cheesy goodness. It’s been a requested favorite. At our dinner table ever since.

What makes this Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection truly special?

What sets this macaroni and cheese apart? First, the combination of medium cheddar. And Gruyere cheese. Creates a rich. And complex flavor profile. That’s hard to resist. The smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness. That elevates this. From your everyday mac and cheese. To something truly special. Plus, it’s both creamy. And cheesy. In just the right proportions. A perfect balance. That’s creamy. Without being soggy. And cheesy. Without being overpowering.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

What You Need To Make This Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection Recipe?

Elbow Pasta: The classic choice for mac and cheese. Elbow pasta is perfect. Because its shape helps scoop up plenty of cheesy sauce. Remember to cook it just a bit less than usual. Since it will keep cooking in the oven.

Unsalted Butter: Using unsalted butter lets you control the saltiness of your dish. And it helps make the roux for your cheese sauce creamy. And rich.

All-Purpose Flour: This is your thickening agent. It helps transform your milk. And cheese into a thick, smooth sauce. That clings perfectly to the pasta.

Whole Milk & Half and Half: This combination ensures your mac and cheese is creamy. But not too heavy. It’s the perfect base. For a rich cheese sauce.

Medium Cheddar Cheese: Cheddar is essential for that sharp, tangy flavor classic to mac and cheese. For the best melt and flavor. Shred your cheese fresh off the block.

Gruyere Cheese: Adding Gruyere provides a nutty depth to your dish. And melts beautifully. Giving your mac and cheese a luxurious texture.

Spices – Salt, Black Pepper, and Smoked Paprika: These seasonings enhance the cheesy sauce. Smoked paprika adds a subtle smokiness. That sets this dish apart. Without overwhelming it.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

Steps To Make Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection:

Step 1: Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees F and lightly greasing your 3-quart baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook it just shy of al dente. Once done, drain and toss it with a splash of olive oil to prevent sticking.

Step 2: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour, whisking until you have a sandy texture. Gradually pour in the half and half and milk, constantly whisking until your sauce is smooth and thick—reminiscent of a creamy soup.

Step 3: Take the sauce off the heat, then mix in your spices and half of your cheeses until smooth. Combine this lush cheese sauce with your pasta, then layer it in your baking dish with the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until you see a beautifully browned top.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection


Toast Your Flour. Before adding the flour to your melted butter. To create the roux. Consider toasting the flour. In a dry pan. For a few minutes. Until it’s just starting to get a nutty aroma. This little step. Deepens the flavor of your roux. Adding a subtle complexity. To the cheese sauce. That really makes the dish stand out. Not only does this enhance the taste. But it can also help. In achieving a smoother consistency in your sauce. Give it a try. And you’ll notice the difference. In the richness. And depth of your baked macaroni and cheese!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I make this ahead of time?

Absolutely! Assemble it up to a day in advance. And refrigerate. Add a few extra minutes to the baking time. If you’re cooking it straight from the fridge.

Can I use different types of cheese?

Yes. Feel free to experiment with other types of cheese. Like sharp cheddar. For a bolder flavor. Or mozzarella for a stretchier texture.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored. In an airtight container. In the refrigerator. For up to three days. Reheat in the oven. Or microwave. Until warmed through.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection
Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection

This Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection. Is the ultimate comfort dish. That’s bound to become. A cherished recipe in your home. Imagine the warmth of creamy, melt-in-your-mouth cheddar. And nutty Gruyere. Mingling together under a golden-brown crust. Each bite. More inviting than the last. Infused with a whisper of smoked paprika. For that subtle smoky undertone. This dish is not just food. It’s a warm hug on a plate. A celebration of simple ingredients. Coming together in a spectacular feast. For the senses. Perfect for a cozy family dinner. Or as a star at your next gathering. It promises smiles. And satisfied appetites. All around.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Perfection
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 1 pound dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 2 1/2 c half and half
  • 4 c shredded medium cheddar cheese divided (measured after shredding)
  • 2 c shredded Gruyere cheese divided (measured after shredding)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika smoked paprika preferred


  • Preheat Oven & Prepare Dish: Heat your oven to 325 degrees F (163 degrees C). Grease a 3-quart baking dish. And set aside.
  • Boil Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow pasta. And cook until just under al dente (about 1 minute less than the package directions). Drain the pasta. And toss it with a bit of olive oil. To prevent sticking.
  • Shred & Mix Cheeses: While the pasta cooks. Shred the cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. Mix them together and divide them into three portions: 3 cups for the sauce, 1.5 cups for layering, and 1.5 cups for the topping.
  • Make Cheese Sauce: In a saucepan. Melt the butter. Over medium heat. Add the flour. And whisk. Until it forms a paste. Gradually add the half and half and milk. Whisking constantly. Until the mixture is smooth. Continue heating. And whisking. Until the sauce thickens. To the consistency of thin cream soup.
  • Combine Cheese and Pasta: Remove the sauce from heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, paprika, and 3 cups of the mixed cheeses. Until melted. And smooth. Combine the cheese sauce. With the drained pasta. In a large bowl, mixing well.
  • Assemble: Pour half of the saucy pasta. Into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with 1.5 cups of cheese. Add the remaining pasta. Then top with the last 1.5 cups of cheese.
  • Bake: Place the dish in the oven. And bake for 15 minutes. Or until the cheese is bubbly. And golden brown on top.


To whip up a gluten-free version of this scrumptious Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese. Simply swap the traditional elbow pasta. For your favorite gluten-free pasta variety. Make sure it’s a good quality brand. That holds up well. Under baking conditions. For the roux. Replace all-purpose flour. With an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. That’s designed for baking. These small tweaks. Will let you enjoy. The same creamy, cheesy delight. Without the gluten. Gather your ingredients. And get ready. To savor every bite!
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