This baked macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs is smothered in a Cheddar and Colby cheese sauce and topped with panko bread crumbs. Easily the best we’ve ever had.
This baked macaroni and cheese boasts all the cheesy goodness of the usual American classic but with the spectacular addition of crunchy, buttery crumbs on top as well as the bonus points that it can be prepared in advance. What’s not to love?! Originally published February 14, 2017.–Angie Zoobkoff
Baked Mac and Cheese with Bread Crumbs
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 6 to 8
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
MAKE-AHEAD BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE WITH BREAD CRUMBS
- Prepare the macaroni and cheese as instructed above, keeping the panko or bread crumbs separate until ready to bake. The assembled, unbaked casserole without the topping can be covered and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, sprinkle the macaroni and cheese with the panko or bread crumbs, cover with buttered aluminum foil, and bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until warm throughout, 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake until the crumbs are crisp, 10 to 20 minutes more.
Recipe Testers Reviews
I rarely deviate from my tried and true mac and cheese recipe, but this baked macaroni and cheese was worth the detour. Very crusty with good flavor and spiciness from the cayenne and mustard. I don’t usually put bread crumbs on the top of my baked macaroni and cheese, but the buttered and toasted panko was quite effective here. It really does require that cooling off period before serving as it came out of the oven bubbling hot. I’m glad I had a sheet pan underneath as this casserole was full to the top as well. The recipe is a bit long and complicated to make but not difficult. Just make sure you’ve allotted plenty of kitchen time before tackling this project, and then enjoy the results.
This baked macaroni and cheese with bread crumbs is a great dish that’s very worthy of any holiday meal. I used Mueller's small shell pasta, Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar, and Cabot Colby. The buttered panko bread crumbs toasted perfectly in 10 minutes and smelled delicious. This makes a huge batch that would be absolutely perfect for a family gathering or holiday meal.
Weʻre big fans of mac and cheese and so it would have to be a pretty awful combination to make us dislike one. This version had a lot of flavor. I loved the combination of cheeses and the crunch from the panko crumbs. I used whole wheat elbow macaroni. I also used homemade vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth. This made the dish vegetarian but not vegan. Would I make this again? I did make it again. The second time I used bread crumbs. I used 4 tablespoons butter with the bread crumbs and I think there's just enough. I bet it could use a touch more but I think it's ok as it is. I used small pasta shells the second time. I'd say it makes more like 12 servings although we usually eat mac & cheese with a vegetable side dish like greens. The blend of flavors makes this a classic. I can see this macaroni and cheese as a base for add-ins like vegetables, bacon, tuna, chicken or other protein, or a mix up of other cheeses.
This is the time of year when having a nice baked macaroni and cheese around fills that gap that only comfort food can fill. This is a decent macaroni and cheese, relatively easy to make and attractive enough to serve to company or on a special occasion.