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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese loaded with two types of cheese and topped with panko bread crumbs
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4.43 from 56 votes

Homemade Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese


  • 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


  • Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a large pot boil water and cook elbow macaroni per package directions for al dente. 
  • Drain macaroni, return to pan and add 2 tablespoons of butter, stir well to keep the noodles from sticking. 
  • 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.
  • Add salt, pepper, paprika, Cajon seasoning, whisk. Cook, stirring/whisking consistency, for 4-6 minutes until thickened to a cream consistency. 
  • Remove from heat, add cheese and stir. 
  • Pour cheese mixture into macaroni, stir well. 
  • Dump macaroni into prepared baking dish. Top with remaining cup of Sharp cheddar cheese.

Panko Topping

  • In a medium mixing bowl combine all ingredients and stir well.
  • Sprinkle Panko mixture topping over the cheese. 
  • Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown. Don’t overcook or it won’t be saucy. 


Recipe Inspired by The Chunky Chef