If you’re in the mood for a comforting and delicious dish, look no further than baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon. This classic comfort food is loved by many and for good reason – it’s cheesy, creamy, and satisfying. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to make the perfect baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon.
Table of Contents
- What is baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon?
- Ingredients needed for baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon
- How to cook the bacon for the dish
- Preparing the mac and cheese
- Assembling and baking the dish
- Tips for making the perfect baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon
- Serving suggestions
- How to store and reheat leftovers
- Variations on the classic recipe
- Frequently asked questions
What is baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon?
Baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon is a classic comfort food dish that consists of macaroni pasta, a creamy cheese sauce, and crispy bacon baked in the oven until golden and bubbly. It’s a perfect dish for a cozy night in or to serve at a family gathering or potluck.
Ingredients needed for baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 slices bacon
How to cook the bacon for the dish
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Lay the bacon slices flat on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until crispy.
- Remove the bacon from the oven and let it cool. Once cooled, crumble the bacon into small pieces.
Preparing the mac and cheese
- Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente.
- While the macaroni is cooking, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour until smooth.
- Slowly pour in the milk and heavy cream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps.
- Continue to cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until it thickens.
- Add the cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to the sauce, and stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Drain the cooked macaroni and add it to the cheese sauce, stirring to coat the macaroni with the sauce.
Assembling and baking the dish
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
- Pour the macaroni and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish.
- Sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
- Bake the dish for 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.
- Let the dish cool for a few minutes before serving.
Tips for making the perfect baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon
- Use a good quality cheddar cheese for the best flavor.
- Cook the bacon until crispy before adding it to the dish.
- Don’t overcook the macaroni as it will continue to cook in the oven.
- Use a mix of cheeses for added flavor, such as Gruyere, fontina, or mozzarella.
- Add breadcrumbs to the top of the dish before baking for a crunchy texture.
Baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon is a filling and satisfying dish on its own, but you can also serve it with a side salad or garlic bread for a complete meal. You can also add additional toppings such as sliced scallions or diced tomatoes for added flavor and texture.
How to store and reheat leftovers
If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To reheat, place the mac and cheese in a microwave-safe dish and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, or until heated through. Alternatively, you can reheat in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes.
Variations on the classic recipe
There are many ways to customize this classic recipe to your liking. Here are a few ideas:
- Add vegetables such as peas, broccoli, or spinach to the mac and cheese mixture before baking.
- Substitute different types of pasta such as penne, fusilli, or rigatoni for the elbow macaroni.
- Use different types of cheese such as blue cheese, feta, or Monterey Jack for added flavor.
- Experiment with different types of meat such as ham, sausage, or ground beef.
Frequently asked questions
Can I use pre-shredded cheese for this recipe?
- Yes, you can use pre-shredded cheese, but it’s recommended to shred your own for the best flavor and texture.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
- Yes, you can use any type of pasta you prefer.
Can I make this dish ahead of time?
- Yes, you can assemble the dish ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to bake. Allow for additional baking time if the dish is cold when you put it in the oven.
Can I freeze this dish?
- Yes, you can freeze this dish for up to 3 months. Allow the dish to thaw in the refrigerator before baking.
Can I omit the bacon for a vegetarian version?
- Yes, you can omit the bacon for a vegetarian version or substitute it with vegetarian bacon or chopped vegetables.
Baked mac and cheese with crispy bacon is a comforting and delicious dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its creamy cheese sauce and crispy bacon topping, it’s sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Give this recipe a try and enjoy a warm and satisfying meal.