This bacon mac and cheese is a one pot dish featuring pasta in a creamy cheese sauce with plenty of bacon. An easy dinner option that’s packed with smoky bacon flavor!
Macaroni and cheese is always a great dish, but when you add bacon to the mix, it elevates this classic to something really special. This bacon mac and cheese is so simple to make, and it only uses one pan which is always a good thing!
How do you make bacon mac and cheese?
For bacon mac and cheese, you first want to cut bacon into small squares and cook it in a pan. Some of the bacon fat gets mixed with flour, milk and water to make a sauce, and the pasta simmers in the sauce until tender. Add a generous amount of cheddar cheese, and stir in the crispy bacon. Add more bacon for garnish, along with a sprinkle of parsley, then serve and enjoy.
Tips for bacon mac and cheese
- I use corkscrew pasta in this recipe, it’s sometimes called cavatappi or cellentani. These noodles are heartier than standard elbow macaroni. That being said, if you want to use elbow macaroni or a different type of short pasta, that will also work well.
- You should use freshly grated cheddar cheese for this recipe. The bagged pre-shredded cheddar cheeses are coated in anti-caking agents and just don’t melt as smoothly.
- I find that whole milk works best for the creamiest sauce, you can also use half and half or low fat milk.
- You can use pre-cooked bacon to save on prep time. If you go that route, swap out the bacon fat in the recipe for 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
- I like to garnish my mac and cheese with a little chopped parsley. You can also use green onions or chives, or omit the herbs entirely.
WHAT IS THE BEST CHEESE TO USE FOR MACARONI AND CHEESE?
The key to macaroni and cheese is using a cheese that melts well. I like to use cheddar because it melts well, it tastes great and has a nice color. You will want to use a medium or sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor. Avoid the extra sharp aged cheeses. Aged cheddars tend to separate or get oily when heated and do not melt well.
Can you freeze mac and cheese?
You can freeze mac and cheese and it will be good for up to 3 months. Make sure to avoid freezer burn by storing mac and cheese in an airtight container or resealable bag. Thaw the macaroni and cheese in the fridge before you reheat it.
How to reheat mac and cheese
To reheat frozen mac and cheese, place the mac and cheese in a baking dish. Cover the mac and cheese and bake it at 350 degrees F. for 1 hour. Uncover the mac and cheese and let it bake another 10-30 minutes until the mac and cheese is hot and bubbly.
This bacon mac and cheese combines classic creamy mac and cheese with the savory crunch of bacon to make an unbeatable combination.
More recipes you’ll enjoy
- Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
- Cheeseburger Pie
- Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls
- Ham and Cheese Sliders
- Cheese Bombs with Garlic Butter
Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 12 ounces bacon chopped
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 4 cups milk
- 16 ounces short pasta such as cavatappi or elbow macaroni
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Place the bacon in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook until crispy, about 4-5 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels.
- Leave 2 tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan; discard the rest of the fat.
- Add the flour, then whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the water and whisk until smooth and just thickened.
- Add the milk and whisk until combined.
- Stir in the pasta, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and pepper, then bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cook for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done.
- Turn the heat to low, then stir in the cheddar cheese. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth. If you need to thin the sauce, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
- Stir in half of the bacon.
- Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the top, along with the parsley. Serve immediately.