This easy homemade bacon mac and cheese recipe is made in one skillet, and the macaroni is cooked directly in the pan with milk, skipping the step of cooking and draining the pasta! Two types of cheeses work in tandem to create a classic flavor of mac and cheese from scratch with minimal effort. An option to top the dish with bread cubes and a quick pop in the oven transforms the dish from a creamy stove-top style mac and cheese to a baked-style mac and cheese in minutes!
Prep Time 10 minutesminutes
Cook Time 25 minutesminutes
Optional Bake Time 10 minutesminutes
Mac and cheese base
1tablespoonolive oilCobram Estate California Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil preferred
1/2yellow onionchopped, about 3/4 cup
2clovesgarlicminced, about 1 tablespoon
1 1/2teaspoonkosher salt
6ouncessharp cheddar cheeseshredded, Boar’s Head Sharp Wisconsin Cheddar preferred
6ouncesMonterey Jack cheeseshredded, Boar’s Head Monterey Jack Cheese
4tablespoonschopped parsley leaves
1teaspoondry mustardor 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Optional topping for "Baked-Style"
2cups1/2-inch bread cubesabout 3 ounces
2tablespoonsolive oilCobram Estate California Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil preferred
2tablespoonschopped parsley leaves
If you want a baked-style mac and cheese, preheat your oven to 500°F (or the closest temperature your oven goes to if it doesn't reach 500°F). If you prefer your mac and cheese more stovetop-style with an extra creamy sauce, skip this step.
Place the chopped bacon in a 12-inch skillet (cast iron preferred but not necessary). If you are going for a baked-style mac and cheese, make sure the skillet is oven-proof. Heat on medium high, and cook the bacon until it is crispy. While the bacon is cooking, line a heat proof bowl with a paper towel. Once the bacon is done cooking, move the bacon to the bowl and drain the fat into a heat proof measuring cup.
Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and tongs, but don’t clean it. Add the olive oil.
Add the onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to soften and look translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown or burn.
Once the onion and garlic has softened, add the uncooked macaroni, milk, salt and pepper to the pan. Increase the heat to high until the milk starts to boil. Lower the heat until it is at a simmer, and cook the pasta, stirring frequently, until all the pasta has absorbed the milk, about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the pasta. The pasta should be al dente or even a little more firm. That’s OK.
Turn off the stove or remove the pan from the heat. Add a handful of the cheese to the skillet and stir it in until it melts. Continue adding more cheese, stirring and folding the macaroni, only adding more after the initial cheese has melted.
Once all the cheese has been incorporated in, fold and mix in the parsley and the drain bacon.
Combine the sauce ingredients together in a glass measuring cup with a fork. Pour into the skillet. Return pan to the stove or turn the heat back on to medium. Cook the mac and cheese, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes.
If you’re serving the pasta directly from the stovetop, taste the pasta. If it is still too firm, continue to cook the mac and cheese, stirring constantly, until the pasta is al dente. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
If you like your mac and cheese baked-style, don’t worry about cooking the pasta more on the stovetop. It will cook more in the oven. Toss all the topping ingredients together, making sure all the bread cubes are coated with olive oil. Sprinkle the bread cubes and parsley evenly over the top of the mac and cheese. Place in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until the bread cubes are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes or so before serving.
Bacon Mac and Cheese https://www.eatthelove.com/bacon-mac-and-cheese/