Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (2024)

ByAileen ClarkPosted on

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This creamy baked mac and cheese is the perfect grown-up macaroni and cheese. It’s al dente pasta smothered in a creamy cheese sauce made with three different types of cheese.It is the ultimate comfort food that will get you rave reviews!

If you are looking for moretasty casseroles, try our recipes forChicken Bacon Casserole,Turkey Noodle Casserole,Cheesy Ranch Chicken and Potato Casserole,Chicken and Black Bean Casserole, andItalian Sausage Stuffed Shells.

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (1)
Jump to:
  • ❤️Why You’ll Love This Recipe
  • 📋Ingredients
  • 📖 Ingredient Swaps
  • 🔪Step-by-Step Instructions
  • 👩🏻‍🍳Expert Cooking Tips
  • 💭Recipe FAQs
  • 🥣More Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
  • Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

❤️Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This creamy baked macaroni and cheese isextra specialbecause the cheese sauce combines white cheddar, gruyere, cream cheese, and sour cream. It gives you this delicious flavor combination that just can’t be reached with powdered cheese and premade frozen casseroles.

Baked mac and cheese makes a great comfort-filled dinner or a crowd-pleasing side dish at a potluck or holiday dinner. Either way,you are going to be glad you made this mac n cheese recipe.

While I wouldn’t categorize this as aquick recipebecause there are quite a few steps, I would consider it aneasy recipebecause the steps are straightforward and I includelots of detailed notes (and pictures)if this is your first time making homemade macaroni and cheese.

This recipe is also freezer-friendly! It’s one of the recipes I always made in preparation for a new baby (my nesting was stocking my freezer). But I love to make freezer meals in preparation forall of my busy seasons in life.

My favorite thing to do is cook once and eat twice(basically doubling the recipe and freezing the extra). You can totally do that with this recipe.See my notes in Expert Tips for instructions on freezing.

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (2)

📋Ingredients

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (3)

Sharp White Cheddar cheese:Basically sharp cheddar cheese without the orange coloring. This gives the casserole that classic white cheddar mac and cheese look.

White Pepper:This gives a subtle hint of pepper without adding black specks to your cream sauce.

Gruyere: A great melting cheese. It can be found in the fancy cheese section of your grocery store.

Cream Cheese:This adds to the overall creaminess of the dish. I like full-fat cream cheese for this recipe.

Sour Cream:The secret ingredient. Sour cream gives you a creamier sauce and makes it taste extravagant.

Scroll to the bottom for the complete list of ingredient measurements and printable recipe card.

📖 Ingredient Swaps

You can swap out the cheeses listed for a different combination of cheeses.

Pepper Jack:If you like a bit more spice in your mac and cheese, use half pepper jack cheese and half mild cheddar.

Monterey Jack:Feel free to use this in place of the white cheddar cheese. It has a mild buttery flavor and melts well.

Velveeta Cheese:This can be used in place of the gruyere and cream cheese.

Classic Sharp Cheddar:If you can’t find white cheddar, feel free to use your favorite cheddar.

Black Pepper:Black pepper can be substituted for white pepper.

🔪Step-by-Step Instructions

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (4)
Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (5)
Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (6)
Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (7)

👩🏻‍🍳Expert Cooking Tips

A Note on Cheese

Here is mynumber one tip for making the best mac and cheese.Do not use pre-shredded cheese! Normally, I am not a stickler about this. I use pre-shredded cheese all the time.

However, if you want a super smooth creamy cheese sauce, you are not going to get it with the packaged shredded cheese.Packaged shredded cheese usually has additives to prevent it from clumping. The problem with that is it affects the overall look and texture of the cheese after it’s melted.

If you want to save time when making this casserole, I recommend buying the blacks of cheese andshredding them yourself.Then, you can store them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.(yes, you can freeze cheese!)

Spicy Mac and Cheese

There are a few things you can add to make this mac and cheese spicier. As mentioned above, swap out some or all of the cheddar forpepper jack.

You can also add in atablespoon of your favorite hot sauceto the cheese sauce. Finally, you can mix in extra spices such ascayenne pepper.

Freezing Tips

If you are making this recipe as a freezer meal (or doubling so you have one for the freezer),freeze it without baking.

Follow the recipe to the point of baking it but instead, wrap it in two layers of foil, label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake it, let it defrost overnight in the fridge and bake it as directed the next day.

If you want to freeze leftovers after baking,you can freeze the remainder of the casserole together or divide it up into individual servings. Make sure the mac and cheese is fully cooled and then freeze in air-tight containers for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, simply reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

You may also want to read my post onhow to freeze casserolesfor more detailed instructions.

💭Recipe FAQs

How can I keep my mac and cheese creamy?

To make the creamiest mac and cheese, do not use pre-shredded cheese. Use a good melting cheese such as Gruyere. Lastly, add in a sour cream to add extra creaminess to the casserole.

Should you use milk or cream in mac and cheese?

I prefer milk as the cheeses add plenty of fat and richness without the need for heavy cream.

What is the best cheese for mac and cheese?

​The best mac and cheese is made with a combination of cheeses. In this recipe, we use white sharp cheddar, gruyere, and cream cheese. You can also use pepper jack, swiss, guda, or Monterey jack cheese.

Is mild or sharp cheese better for mac and cheese?

Sharp cheddar will give you the strongest cheese flavor in your mac and cheese. However, if you prefer a smoother and milder flavor, mild cheddar cheese is the way to go. Either way, look for the block of cheddar and shred it yourself for the best results.

🥣More Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

  • Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
  • Loaded Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (with Video!)
  • Easy Taco Mac and Cheese
  • Cheeseburger Mac and Cheese

If you tried thisCreamy Baked Mac and Cheese or any other recipe on my website, I would love it if you could leave me a 🌟star ratingand let me know how you liked it in the 📝commentsbelow. ❤️

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (13)

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Aileen Clark

This creamy baked mac and cheese is the perfect grown-up macaroni and cheese. It’s al dente pasta smothered in a creamy cheese sauce made with three different types of cheese.It is the ultimate comfort food that will get you rave reviews!

4.72 from 14 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

Total Time 40 minutes mins

Course Main Dish Recipes

Cuisine American

Servings 8 servings

Calories 283 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 16-ounce box elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside.

  • Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat.

  • Add the flour and whisk until smooth.

  • Slowly add milk, whisking continuously.

  • Add the salt and white pepper and bring to a boil.

  • Stir constantly, until the mixture thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon.

  • Mix in 1 cup white cheddar, gruyere, cream cheese, and sour cream. Stir until melted.

  • Immediately remove from heat.

  • Pour the cooked elbow macaroni into the cheese sauce and mix to coat evenly.

  • Pour the cheese-coated noodles into the prepared baking dish.

  • Top with remaining 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese.

  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the edges bubble.

  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

A Note on Cheese

Here is mynumber one tip for making the best mac and cheese.Do not use pre-shredded cheese! Normally, I am not a stickler about this. I use pre-shredded cheese all the time.

However, if you want a super smooth creamy cheese sauce, you are not going to get it with the packaged shredded cheese.Packaged shredded cheese usually has additives to prevent it from clumping. The problem with that is it affects the overall look and texture of the cheese after it’s melted.

If you want to save time when making this casserole, I recommend buying the blacks of cheese andshredding them yourself.Then, you can store them in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.(yes, you can freeze cheese!)

Spicy Mac and Cheese

There are a few things you can add to make this mac and cheese spicier. As mentioned above, swap out some or all of the cheddar forpepper jack.

You can also add in atablespoon of your favorite hot sauceto the cheese sauce. Finally, you can mix in extra spices such ascayenne pepper.

Freezing Tips

If you are making this recipe as a freezer meal (or doubling so you have one for the freezer),freeze it without baking.

Follow the recipe to the point of baking it but instead, wrap it in two layers of foil, label, date, and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to bake it, let it defrost overnight in the fridge and bake it as directed the next day.

If you want to freeze leftovers after baking,you can freeze the remainder of the casserole together or divide it up into individual servings. Make sure the mac and cheese is fully cooled and then freeze in air-tight containers for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, simply reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 283kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 12gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 534mgSugar: 1g

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (14)

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Creamy Oven Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe (2024)

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