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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese loaded with two types of cheese and topped with panko bread crumbs

Homemade Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 16 oz box large elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, divided
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cajon seasoning, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and divided (2 cups, 1 cup for topping)
  • Chopped parsley for serving

Panko Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup high quality grated (powder) Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°.

  2. In a large pot boil water and cook elbow macaroni per package directions for al dente. 

  3. Drain macaroni, return to pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter, stir well to keep the noodles from sticking. 

  4. Melt remaining butter (6 tablespoons) in large skillet over low/medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook for about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add half and half while continuing to whisk, add milk and whisk.

  5. Add salt, pepper, paprika, Cajon seasoning, whisk. Cook, stirring/whisking consistency, for 4-6 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency. 

  6. Remove from heat, add cheese and stir. 

  7. Pour cheese mixture into macaroni, stir well. 

  8. Dump macaroni into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cup of Sharp cheddar cheese.

Panko Topping

  1. In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir well.

  2. Sprinkle Panko mixture topping over the cheese. 

  3. Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown. Don’t overcook or it won’t be saucy. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe Inspired by The Chunky Chef