I LOVE a good macaroni and cheese! I cannot have Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter without baked macaroni and cheese being front and center. It’s a requirement for me. I feel like mac and cheese compliments everything that I love such as, candied yams collard greens, brown stew chicken, or some of my favorite chicken dishes. I’ve had a lot of macaroni and cheese, and I’m sure you have too, but I wanted to take some time to really develop a recipe that I really really liked and I did just that! This creamy baked macaroni & cheese recipe is a hit and it has the basic characteristics of an amazing mac and cheese. It’s covered in a nice golden top with a creamy cheesy bake throughout; it is the best!
How to make Creamy Baked Macaroni & Cheese
Boil the elbows macaroni until al dente. You want the pasta to be slightly undercooked because it will continue to cook in the oven.
In a large pot, make a roux by melting the butter and then adding the flour. Whisk your butter and flour together until the mixture is smooth, creamy looking, and light brown. Stir or whisk continuously for one full minute.
Add in the half & half and heavy whipping cream and continue to whisk, over medium-high heat. I prefer whisking because you want to make sure that your flour doesn’t settle at the bottom and that it is fully cooked into the mixture. Also, add in the seasonings at this point. After about 5 minutes the mixture should thicken and start to bubble. Once it begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low.
Fold in the cheese blend. I do not recommend using pre-shredded cheese for this recipe because the cheese doesn’t melt as evenly as freshly grated cheese. For my mac and cheese, I use smoked gouda, cheddar, Colby Jack, and a small slice of Velveeta cheese. You can use your favorites but I do recommend the smoked gouda! Add in the sour cream and mix everything together until it’s smooth and creamy.
Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and mix well. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a deep casserole dish and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 30-35 minutes. If you are baking yours in a cast iron, I suggest baking at 350° and keeping an eye on it while it bakes.
A baked and creamy macaroni cheese
- 5 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups of half and half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon creole seasoning
- 4 cups of cheese, shredded. (I like to use Colby jack, smoked Gouda, cheddar, and little Velveeta)
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- In a large pot melt the butter and let it come to a low boil. Stir in the flour and cook down, while continuously stirring for about a minute to create a blonde roux or light brown.
- Pour in the half and half & heavy cream and continue to stir over medium-high heat until the flour is fully cooked into the cream. Once the cream comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium-low. The cream will start to thicken at this point.
- Fold in the cheese, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, creole seasoning, and sour cream. Slowly stir everything together until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 3-5 minutes.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the cooked pasta and top with more shredded cheese.
- Bake the macaroni cheese for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve immediately!
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