Classic Baked Mac and Cheese

6 Servings
1 hr 10 min

Nothing says cozy afternoon meal like a big scoop of creamy, cheesy, crispy baked Mac and Cheese. We all have a favourite recipe, so this one will come as no surprise, but a few key ingredients take this from good to OH HELL YES.

This Mac and Cheese goes great as a side to ribs or chicken, or can be enjoyed on it's own with a salad. What makes it so tasty is the addition of a sheep's milk cheese. It is nutty, rich, and adds a depth of flavour. Combined with a pinch of nutmeg, some cayenne pepper, and dried mustard powder, and you have a complex dish waiting to be enjoyed.

Classic Baked Mac and Cheese
Recipe details
  • 6  Servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 1 Hours Total time: 1 hr 10 min
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For the Mac and Cheese
  • 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup of melty cheese (fontina), shredded
  • 1/4 cup of sharp sheep's milk cheese, shredded
  • 1 lb (454 g) elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1/2-1 cup of reserved cooking liquid from macaroni
For the topping
  • 8-10 ritz crackers
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
For the Mac and Cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Next, cook elbow macaroni according to package directions and slightly underdone (more than al dente) as the macaroni will continue to cook in the oven. Reserve 1/2-1 cup of cooking liquid. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Wait for butter to steam a little, releasing the water content. Next, add 1/4 cup of flour, whisking constantly to create a roux. Allow 1-2 minutes or longer until the mixture is frothy, and the raw flour is cooked out.
Slowly, and whisking vigorously/constantly, add in the 2 cups of milk. Start with about 1/4 or less, completely incorporating the roux. Once added, add in more and more. If it starts to thicken too much, take the pot off the heat. Add in all milk and whisk to a fairly thick consistency.
Next, add in one handful of cheese at a time, folding in the cheese until melted. Add in the cooked macaroni and stir to combine. If it is too thick, add in a bit of the reserved cooking liquid. Place in the baking dish.
To make the topping, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and crumbled ritz crackers. Toast for 4-5 minutes until everything is golden. Add on top of the macaroni mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and crispy, and cheese is bubbling underneath. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve alongside simple kale salad or steamed broccoli.
  • Roux Tip: Allowing the butter to sizzle on its own will release much of the moisture that can make your roux tighten up later down the line. Give the butter it's own love in the pan before you add the flour.
  • You can make everything ahead of time, just add 15-20 minutes to the baking time!