Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Who's the star of a baked mac and cheese recipe? The cheese.

Cheese has a bone to pick with whoever coined the term "macaroni and cheese." What's up with the second-place billing? Shouldn't it really be "cheese and macaroni?" Because when you think about it, cheese is undeniably the star of this world-favorite dish. Who brings the flavor to mac n cheese? Cheese. Who supplies the creamy goodness? Cheese again. You can enjoy cheese on its own – it's one of the greatest flavor experiences of all time. But macaroni alone? That's just a tough chew.

When you're looking to whip up a killer baked mac and cheese recipe, it all starts with the cheese. Two cheeses or more, to be exact. You want a cheese that piles on the flavor – think cheddar, Havarti, or gorgonzola. And you want a cheese that's all about melting – fontina, and monterey jack come to mind. The choice is yours and choosing is really the fun part of creating the best mac and cheese recipe.

When you're choosing cheeses for your baked mac and cheese recipe, Wisconsin has you covered. We've also got a lot of recipe inspirations on our website for you to browse through, and a few tips below on choosing the cheese (okay, and the pasta) that will make your next cheese and macaroni dish delectable.

Choosing the cheese for your baked mac and cheese recipe

Combining a melting cheese and a flavorful cheese is the foundation of any great mac and cheese recipe. Here's a short list of the best cheeses for each task, and a few cheeses that do both.

Cheeses that bring the flavor

  • Cheddar offers sharp, complex flavors and a smooth creamy texture.
  • Parmesan makes a great cheesy crust when sprinkled on top before baking.
  • Gouda, especially the aged and smoked varieties, delivers strong, pungent flavors.
  • Feta brings a tangy Mediterranean feel.
  • Gorgonzola packs a flavor punch.
  • Havarti has a buttery meltiness and comes with in a variety of flavors.
  • Limburger is a stinky cheese for a truly unique baked mac and cheese recipe.

Cheeses that melts like a dream.

  • Fontina is a natural for any pasta dish.
  • Mozzarella adds gooey goodness to every macaroni dish.
  • Monterey jack is an all-around good melter.
  • Baby swiss is a great creamy melting cheese.
  • Pepper jack cheese adds a kick of spice.
  • Mascarpone delivers a smooth and velvety finish.
  • Oaxaca cheese, the mozzarella of Mexico-style cheese, brings a south-of-the-border feel.

Cheeses that can stand alone (in your baked mac and cheese recipe)

  • Emmentaler and swiss cheese are good all-around mac-and-cheese cheeses.
  • Any alpine-style cheese will melt well while delivering rich, creamy, nutty warmth.
  • Provolone is a soft cheese that melts easily. BelGioso is a great option if you want a bit more flavor

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: who made the first baked mac and cheese recipe?

Who made the first baked mac and cheese recipe?

Recipes for baked pasta and cheese can be found in Italy as early as the 14th century. The first modern baked mac and cheese recipe comes from 18th-century England.

What makes a good baked mac and cheese recipe?

Any good baked mac and cheese recipe needs three things: a cheese that brings flavor, a cheese that melts well, and a pasta (like macaroni) with enough curves, crannies, and surface area for the cheese to cling to.

Why Wisconsin cheese belongs in your baked mac and cheese recipe

We may be biased, but we're pretty sure that most cheese wants to grow up to be Wisconsin cheese. We've been making cheese here for 175 years, since before Wisconsin was a state. While that's not as long as the cheesemaking traditions in some other countries, it's plenty of time to perfect the magical process of turning milk to cheese. Today, we make more cheese – 600+ varieties and styles – than anywhere else. We have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world apart from the one in Switzerland. And our cheeses and cheesemakers have one more awards on the cheesy red carpet circuit than any other state or country.

So, when you're choosing cheeses in the grocery aisle for your baked mac and cheese recipe, look for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge and personalized Master's Marks on packaging nationwide.

Because when you're sliding a casserole dish full of Wisconsin cheese into the oven, you know you're baking with some of the greatest heroes in the State of Cheese.

Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?

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