This delightful dish combines creamy macaroni with a generous serving of crispy bacon, creating a mouthwatering symphony of flavors. Whether you’re reminiscing about the past or creating new memories, this easy-to-make and incredibly tasty Bacon Mac and Cheese will leave you craving for more.
Homemade Bacon Mac and Cheese:
As a devoted fan of mac and cheese, I must admit my journey with this delightful dish has been quite a ride. It started with the humble boxed version, which served its purpose during my carefree days. However, as my palate matured, I outgrew the boxed stuff and explored the “fancy” boxed mac n cheeses with premixed sauce, but they failed to impress me. Thus, I took a hiatus from mac and cheese until a fortuitous encounter with a homemade mac and cheese recipe on my favorite food blog. The idea of making mac and cheese from scratch intrigued me, and after a few experiments, I found the perfect balance between classic flavors and adult appeal, making it family-friendly yet satisfying my grown-up standards.
(Note: Butternut squash mac and cheese, while delicious, might not win over kids and husbands as quickly.)
How to Make Bacon Mac and Cheese:
Prepare to be captivated by the rich and creamy goodness of this Bacon Mac and Cheese. Follow these simple steps to indulge in this delectable treat:
Bacon: Cook the diced bacon until it becomes delightfully crispy.
Noodles: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and cook the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the noodles.
Cheese Sauce: While the bacon and noodles cook, create the luscious cheese sauce. Start by making a roux with 2 tablespoons of butter in the bacon grease, and then add 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Cook until the flour browns slightly. Add milk, heavy whipping cream, salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Whisk in shredded colby jack and sharp cheddar cheese until smooth.
Combine Noodles and Cheese Sauce: In the large pot with the cooked noodles, pour the cheese sauce over them and mix in half of the cooked bacon.
Baking Dish: Use 2 tablespoons of butter to coat the sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (or use a 12″ cast iron skillet). Pour the mac and cheese into the dish. Top it with the reserved shredded jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle the remaining bacon crumbles on top.
Bake: Place the bacon mac and cheese in the oven or on the grill and bake for 20 minutes or until the sides are bubbling, and the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Serve: Remove the Bacon Mac and Cheese from the heat and serve it immediately, savoring every delightful bite.
- 1 pound bacon (diced)
- 4 quarts water
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1 tablespoon salt
- Cheese Sauce
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons butter (divided use)
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups colby jack cheese (shredded)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- ½ cup mozzarella (shredded)
Preheat oven or grill: Preheat your oven or grill to 425 degrees F.
Cook the macaroni: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and the macaroni noodles. Cook according to package directions, then drain.
Cook the bacon: In a large skillet, cook the diced bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Preserve the bacon grease.
Make the roux: Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the hot bacon grease and stir until melted. Add in 6 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the flour browns slightly.
Finish making the cheese sauce: Pour in the milk and heavy whipping cream, returning to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Add the cheese to the sauce: Set aside 1/2 cup of each shredded jack and cheddar cheese, along with the mozzarella. Stir the remaining jack and cheddar cheese into the sauce, whisking until melted.
Combine the noodles and the cheese sauce: Drain the cooked noodles and return them to the large pot. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix in half of the cooked bacon.
Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish: Use the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to coat the sides and bottom of a 9×13 baking dish (or a 12″ cast iron skillet). Pour the mac and cheese from the pot into the baking dish. Top with the reserved jack, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle the remaining bacon crumbles.
Bake the bacon mac and cheese: Place the baking dish in the oven or on the grill for 20 minutes or until the sides are bubbling and the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
Serve immediately: Remove from heat, serve immediately, and relish in the irresistible Bacon Mac and Cheese goodness!