Baked Mac and Cheese

Super creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is already the ultimate comfort food, but an easy Garlic Butter Crumb topping puts it right over the top!

It’s hard to fathom that a dish such as Baked Mac and Cheese could be improved.

Surely all the avenues have been explored, all the modern marvels have been revealed, and it is no longer possible to elevate this classic comfort food beyond it’s current state of glory.

But unless you are adding garlic butter crumbs to your mac and cheese, you haven’t quite maxed out the potential!

Super creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is already the ultimate comfort food, but an easy Garlic Butter Crumb topping puts it right over the top!

How do you make Baked Macaroni and Cheese?

First, boil your noodles. Next, make as simple cheese sauce (also known as a Mornay sauce) and stir in the noodles. Finally, smother your macaroni and cheese in a crunchy crumb topping!

What would you serve with Mac and Cheese?

I love to serve more comfort foods such as roasted chicken or meatloaf for dinner on the weekends. During the week, salad is a great pairing with this rich, delicious Macaroni and Cheese!

What is the best cheese to use for Macaroni and Cheese?

I like to use a combination of flavorful cheeses such as gruyere, gouda, cheddar, and something that stretches nicely like Monterey Jack.

Super creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is already the ultimate comfort food, but an easy Garlic Butter Crumb topping puts it right over the top!


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Super creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is already the ultimate comfort food, but an easy Garlic Butter Crumb topping puts it right over the top!
5 from 4 votes

Baked Mac and Cheese

Super creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese is already the ultimate comfort food, but an easy Garlic Butter Crumb topping puts it right over the top!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 656 kcal


  • Salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup butter divided, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk hot
  • ½ pound shredded cheddar or gouda cheese (2 cups)
  • ½ pound shredded alpine-style or Monterey jack cheese (2 cups)
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 2 ½ quart or larger casserole dish.
  2. Bring 4 quarts and 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil. Add macaroni and cook until just al dente, about 6 minutes. Drain well. Do not overcook and do not rinse macaroni.
  3. Return pot to stovetop. Over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter until foaming. Whisk in flour and cook until bubbling but not browned, about 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in milk and bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in cheeses until melted.
  5. Fold in macaroni and stir until uniformly combined. Season to taste with salt and hot sauce, if desired. Pour into prepared casserole dish.
  6. In a medium bowl, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in microwave. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add breadcrumbs and toss until evenly coated.
  7. Pour breadcrumbs over macaroni. Bake until sauce is bubbling and breadcrumbs have browned, 30 to 40 minutes.

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  1. This sounds delicioso!  I’ll definitely use the cheeses you suggestand and top with garlic breadcrumbs next time I make this. :-))

  2. I make this every year for Thanksgiving! It’s super easy and even gets a thumbs up from my picky middle school aged nephews who normally won’t touch macaroni that doesn’t come from a box!

    • It’s THE BEST! It’s always nice to make food that people love, no matter how old they are. :) Good for you! Thanks for your comment!

  3. Am I reading this right… 1 pound of cheese total? 

  4. Can this recipe be made ahead of time?

    • Hi Kathy, I think it would work just fine to make everything through Step 6 ahead of time. I’d hold off on baking it until the day you want to eat it. Then just add the breadcrumbs and bake! Thanks.

  5. Is the Gouda cheese and alpine style the best or is it just as good with montery and cheddar

    • Hey Jessica! I think Gouda and alpine-style is THE BEST. I should probably just take those other options off. I’m going to make it again with the cheddar and MJ and test it again and decide if they should stay on the list or be removed. Good question. Too many options on cheese is confusing.

  6. Hi Megan I have another question…how can you get 1/2 pound of Gouda when they only sell them in thin how did you buy it..thank you have a blessed day

    • Hi Jessica! I have never even seen Gouda in thin slices, I have only seen it in the blocks. Have you checked the “fancy cheese” area? In my store it’s near the deli. That’s where they have a lot of crazy imported cheeses and stuff. You can find Gouda there. What store are you shopping at? Buying a half pound of gouda isn’t a problem if it’s in slices, but you won’t be able to shred it so THAT’S your biggest problem here. :) Please let me know where you are shopping and I’ll offer some better advice on getting Gouda. Or just ask at your store. But I’d still love to know! XOXO

  7. Is it possible to use Gouda and MJ cheese ? I am Making this dish tonight for tomorrow :) I will also more than likely use the spiral pasta, hopefully it doesn’t effect the recipe ! 

    • You will be fine with all of your changes! Different noodles, different cheeses, same tasty result! Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you!

  8. This can be made gluten-free using the exact same method shown here. Just make suer your pasta is rice based and your bread crumbs also gluten-free. When using cheddar, I mix it up a little with an equal part of sharp or extra sharp. Gives it a super cheesey note. Like this recipe, it also stores and reheats very well.

    Oh, there’s no such thing as too much cheese. I don’t even measure mine. The ultimate comfort food. lol

  9. Trader Joe’s sells a cheese that is a blend of white cheddar and Gruyere. It is heavenly in mac and cheese and also in grilled cheese sandwiches. Try it!

  10. This recipe was super easy and was thoroughly enjoyed by the “Mac & Cheese” aficionados in my household.

  11. I use 3x to 4x the amount of cheese I use the recommended amount then I coat the pan with both cheese then pour half the noodles in then I repeat and then add more sharp cheddar then add the rest off the noodles then repeat with more cheese 2x more cheddar then mozzarella

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