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Bacon Mac and Cheese is made with tender pasta in a creamy, zesty cheese sauce that is full of smoky bacon.
Topped with a plentiful amount of Panko for a perfectly crispy crust, this dish is perfect for game day but quick enough to enjoy for dinner with your family on a busy weeknight!Pin this recipe for later!
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Why I Love This Recipe
This dish is the creamy and delicious mac and cheese that dreams are made of! The bacon brings a savory smokiness and the zesty ranch mix kicks the whole recipe up a notch without being overpowering.
I sprinkled some extra cheese on top at the beginning with a generous portion of panko breadcrumbs and some crumbled bacon to achieve that crispy crust in every serving.
If you’re looking for a more melty-cheese on top, simply wait to add the toppings until 5 minutes before it’s done baking.
How To Make Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Preheat the oven and grease a 2-quart baking dish.
- Melt butter oven medium heat, whisk in flour to make a roux, then add milk and Ranch seasoning.
- Whisk milk mixture continuously until it thickens.
- Add shredded cheeses, whisking until fully melted.
- Stir in the cooked macaroni, then pour into the baking dish
- Top with more cheese, breadcrumbs and bacon.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and edges are bubbly.
I find that while I like the flavor of cheddar in mac and cheese, it doesn’t melt that well and needs a little help. That’s where the Mozzarella comes in. Combined, the two create a luscious and creamy sauce that’s perfect smooth.
Yes! Prepare the dish, leaving off the topping until you’re ready to bake, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil and place into a large freezer bag. It will remain fresh for up to 3 months. Thaw it completley before adding the topping and baking as directed.
The best way to reheat this dish is to cover with foil and heat in a 350℉ oven for 10-20 minutes. You could also reheat in the microwave at 50% power, and add a couple splashes of milk.
Try adding a little bit of cream cheese (2-4 ounces), to the sauce. It’s very creamy and helps to prevent the sauce from breaking.
- Pasta – I’ve opted to use classic macaroni, but you can use any small pasta you like – Penne, Rotini, Cavatappi or Farfalle.
- Cooking the Pasta – Drain the pasta just slightly before it turns to al dente. It will continue cooking a little as it bakes.
- Milk – I use fat free milk in most of my sauces and find that to be satisfactory. That said, whole milk or half and half will have a creamier outcome.
- Cheese – You really should grate your own cheese for this recipe. Pre-shredded bagged cheeses are coated with a starch that significantly prevents smooth melting.
- Garnish – A little chopped parsley makes just about every dish a little prettier. I recommend using it, especially if you are serving guests.
- Serving Size – A square pan will feed 5-6 people, but you can double the recipe in a 9×13-inch dish and feed a crowd.
Mac and Cheese Recipes to Try Next
- Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese Recipe
- One Pot Mac and Cheese
- One Pot Taco Mac and Cheese
- Spaghetti Mac and Cheese
- Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Bacon Baked Macaroni & Cheese
- 10 slices of bacon fried until crisp, then crumbled or chopped
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- 3 1/2 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons Ranch mix
- 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese divided
- 1 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni cooked as per package directions to al dente and drained
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- fresh minced parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400℉. Grease a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Whisk in flour to make a roux. Let the roux cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, whisking often.
- Add milk and ranch seasoning.
- Whisk the ingredients continuously until it thickens slightly, around 10 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and whisk until fully combined.
- Add the cheese mixture to the macaroni and crumble 6 pieces of the bacon in.
- Stir until well combined and pour into a 9" x 9" pan.
- Pour into a well greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese, panko bread crumbs and the remaining bacon.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is crispy and the edges are bubbling.
- Garnish with freshly minced parsley and serve hot.