My Bacon Mac and Cheese is a delicious family-friendly meal that contains crispy bacon, crunchy breadcrumbs, and a creamy cheese sauce. You will love this delicious Baked Mac and Cheese. It’s an easy meal that offers comfort in every bite.
Why we love this recipe:
When it comes to comfort food, nothing tops a baked pasta dish such as my Bacon Mac and Cheese. This is an easily prepared recipe, which is made from readily available ingredients that you may already have on hand; and the addition of bacon can only be a good thing!
You will love this recipe because:
- It is family friendly.
- You can make it ahead of time.
- It is creamy and cheesy, with a crispy breadcrumb topping.
- You can make it gluten-free. Just use appropriate pasta and gluten-free flour for the sauce.
- It is pure comfort food.
- Bacon makes so many things better.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Dried pasta – I use elbow pasta or macaroni. They are similar, but macaroni is generally a tubular shape and elbow pasta has a bend in it. Use gluten-free if you wish.
Olive oil – just a little to start the bacon and onion cooking.
Bacon – adds flavour and texture.
Brown onion – also known as yellow onion.
Butter – to make the roux for the sauce.
Plain/all-purpose flour – to thicken the sauce. Use gluten-free if you wish.
Milk – full cream or fat reduced.
Cheddar cheese – use freshly grated cheese. Don’t use pre-shredded cheese as they contain anti-caking agents that don’t melt smoothly and may make your sauce grainy
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – check the seasoning is to your taste. Under seasoned Bacon Mac and Cheese will be bland.
Panko breadcrumbs – are light and flaky and give the dish a crispy topping.
Step by Step Instructions:
To begin, preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 F).
- In a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the bacon and onion until slightly caramelised. Turn out onto paper towel to drain excess oil and set aside.
- In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until very al dente. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Using the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add in the flour and stir well with a whisk. Cook for 1 minute to avoid a floury taste.
- Add half the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the remaining milk and continue whisking to combine. Cook for 4-6 minutes, whisking regularly, until a pouring cream consistency is reached.
- Remove from the heat, and whisk in the cheese.
- Add the bacon and onion mixture and pasta, and, using a spoon or spatula, stir to combine. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Grease a 20 cm (8 inch) square baking dish and add the pasta mixture to the dish. In a small frying pan, melt the remaining butter and mix through the panko breadcrumbs. Spread the crumbs evenly over the top of the pasta.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving and then enjoy!
Tips for Success and FAQs:
For a baked pasta dish, it is important to have your pasta slightly undercooked. It will cook further when baking and nobody wants soggy pasta.
As well, before turning the mixture into a baking dish, be sure to check that the seasoning is to your taste: an under-seasoned dish will be bland.
I have used cheddar for its flavour and the way that it melts. As well, it is readily available in the supermarket. Ideally, for the best flavour, look for an aged cheddar.
You really need to grate your own cheese. The pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent which prevents the cheese from clumping. This also prevents the cheese from properly melting.
Yes, you can. Ideally, avoid long, thin pasta such as spaghetti, or small pasta such as risoni. Choose a pasta that catches and holds the sauce. Macaroni, sometimes called elbow macaroni, is the go-to pasta but you could also use small shells.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
We love a comforting pasta dish! Here are some more of our favourite recipes that are all simple to prepare and so tasty:
- Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Shells
- Creamy Tuna Pasta
- Pumpkin and Ricotta Pasta Shells
My Bacon Mac and Cheese is a family-friendly meal that offers comfort in every bite. It is an easily prepared meal which is suitable for weeknights or relaxed dinners with friends. Take it to potlucks or give a dish to help someone out. It is always well received.
Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 200 g (7 oz) dried macaroni or elbow pasta See Note 1
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 150 g (5 oz) bacon – cut into 1 cm (0.5 inch) cubes
- 1 medium brown/yellow onion – finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (60 g) butter
- 1/4 cup (40 g) all-purpose/plain flour See Note 2
- 2 1/2 cups (625 ml) milk
- 2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese – freshly grated See Note 3
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste See Note 5
- 1 cup (90 g) panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup (60 g) butter – melted
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (355 F).
- In a medium frying pan, heat the oil and fry the bacon and onion until slightly caramelised (8-10 minutes). Turn out onto some paper towel to drain any excess oil and set aside.
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until very al dente. Drain and set aside. (See Note 4.)
- In the same saucepan you cooked the pasta, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add in the flour and using a whisk, stir well. Cook for 1 minute to avoid a floury taste.
- Add in half the milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps forming. Add the remaining milk.
- Cook for 4-6 minutes, stirring regularly, until a pouring cream consistency is reached.
- Remove from heat, and whisk in the cheese. Add the bacon and onion mixture and pasta, and season to taste.
- Grease a 20cm (8 inch) square baking dish and add the pasta mixture to the dish.
- In a small frying pan, melt the remaining butter and once melted, mix through the panko breadcrumbs. Top the pasta with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden on top. Allow the pasta to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
- Macaroni, elbow pasta or another short pasta works best for this recipe. Avoid long, thin pasta such as spaghetti, or small pasta such as risoni. Choose a pasta that catches and holds the sauce.
- For a gluten-free option, use the appropriate flour, pasta and breadcrumbs.
- Use freshly grated cheddar cheese. The pre-shredded cheeses contain an anti-caking agent which prevents the cheese from clumping which also prevents the cheese from properly melting. It will affect the texture of the sauce.
- It is important to undercook your pasta as it will cook further when baked.
- Adjust the seasoning to your liking – we recommend using freshly ground black pepper and sea salt flakes for the best flavour.
- Please note, the nutritional information is based on four serves. The nutritional information is an estimate only.
Please note, the nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients you use.