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Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is a cheese lover’s dream! Pasta shells are completely coated in a decadently creamy, 3- cheese sauce, topped with a garlic butter cracker topping and baked until perfectly golden on top. Each spoonful is pure bliss! Make your mac and cheese dreams come true with this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese.

Ingredients You Need for Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

When it comes to this macaroni and cheese recipe, all you need are a few simple ingredients! That way, you can easily keep these ingredients on hand to whip up a batch of this mac and cheese whenever you crave a good mac and cheese. Here’s what you need:

  • Heavy cream (or whole milk)
  • Milk
  • White cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Processed cheese (such as Velveeta)
  • Pasta shells
  • Saltine crackers
  • Butter
  • Garlic salt

How to Make Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Making mac and cheese should be a hassle-free task, because macaroni and cheese is pure comfort! 

First off, make the creamy cheese sauce. Slowly bring the heavy cream and milk to a low simmer. Whisk in the 3 different cheeses until perfectly melted. The main thing here is to not allow the sauce to boil, otherwise it will break and be clumpy. Keeping the heat low and only allowing a low simmer prevents this.

Then, you fold in your boiled pasta shells that have been drained until every nook and cranny of the shells are filled with the cheese sauce – pure bliss! 

Next, it’s time for the topping! Mix the crushed saltines with the butter and garlic salt and evenly top the mac and cheese. 

Finally, it’s time to bake! There’s two ways you can go about this part: use your broiler (takes about 5 minutes) or use your oven at 350 (takes 15-20 minutes). Personally, I prefer to use the broiler. Not only is it quicker, but you don’t have to worry about over-baking it and losing the saucy-ness of the sauce.

To me, macaroni and cheese is a nostalgic comfort food. It’s just one you can’t go wrong with! Serve this as a side dish to a holiday meal, weeknight meal, family gather or just by itself.

Our favorite parts about this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is the salty, buttery topping and the decadently creamy interior. You’ll definitely need to go back for seconds on this one!

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Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese


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  • Author: KJ & Company - Kate Poskochil
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Description

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese is a cheese lover’s dream! Pasta shells are completely coated in a decadently creamy, 3- cheese sauce, topped with a garlic butter cracker topping and baked until perfectly golden on top. Each spoonful is pure bliss! Make your mac and cheese dreams come true with this Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese.


Ingredients

Scale

For the mac and cheese:

  • 2 cups heavy cream (or whole milk)
  • 1 cup milk (2% works great here)
  • 4 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz processed cheese, such as Velveeta, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells

For the topping:

  • 1 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Instructions

For the mac and cheese:

  1. Pour the heavy cream and milk into a large skillet or braiser and slowly bring to a low simmer over low heat. Whisk in the the white cheddar, mozzarella, and Velveeta cheese until creamy and smooth, being careful to not allow the sauce to boil as it will cause it to separate. Whisk occasionally until smooth, about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Boil the pasta according to package instructions and drain. Fold the pasta shells into the cheese sauce until completely coated. Season with the salt.

For the topping:

  1. Preheat your broiler to high, or your oven to 350 degrees if preferred. In a small bowl, combine the crushed saltines, butter and garlic salt. Evenly top the mac and cheese with the topping.
  2. If using your broiler, broil the macaroni and cheese for about 5 minutes, rotating occasionally, until perfectly golden on top. If you are using a 350 degree oven, bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown, being careful to not over-bake as the mac and cheese won’t be as saucy.
  3. Enjoy!

Notes

  • If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use whole milk.
  • Any small pasta shape can be used, but shells work perfectly to hold all the cheesy sauce!
  • You can use your broiler or preheated oven to brown the top of the macaroni and cheese. I prefer to use the broiler as it is quicker and you don’t have to worry as much about over-baking the sauce.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes

Share the love!

If you make this recipe and love it as much as I do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment below, rate the recipe, or share a picture tagging @kjandcompany or using #kjandcompany so that I can see your fun pictures 🙂

Thanks for following and cooking along with me!

 

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