Classic mac and cheese, made with or without bacon and baked casserole-style in the oven to creamy, crispy perfection. This is our family’s go-to gluten free meal when everyone’s hungry and the cupboards are nearly bare!
This is it. The meal that I make for my family once a week, every single week. I have been making it since the beginning of time, or so it seems, and although there’s been a riff here and there, this is the classic mac and cheese I always return to.
Casserole-style mac and cheese is made with eggs, always. That’s what makes it casserole-style. If you need an egg-free gluten free mac and cheese, go with my stovetop version. That’s my personal favorite mac and cheese recipe, since I love the creamy cheese sauce—plus the fact that there’s no oven involved. But my children? No contest.
Serve this with a quick house-style salad, and you’ve got a complete meal. It also works beautifully as a make-ahead meal. Either prepare the entire dish through step 3 (right before baking it). Once the cooked pasta is completely cool, cover the dish tightly and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or in the freezer for longer.
You can even bake it right from being frozen. Just lower the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for 30 minutes before uncovering it and continuing to bake. I often throw this together early in the morning and then let it sit in the refrigerator until close to dinnertime. Then, all I have to do is bake and serve. Perfect for busy evenings!
Of course, you do not have to make it with bacon. Most often, I do not make it with bacon. But I can’t resist going all-out every once in a while. There was an amazing restaurant that we went to in Boston last year that has an extensive gluten free menu—including bacon mac and cheese cooked in miniature cast iron skillets. It was so dreamy.
I have tried a number of riffs on this recipe over the years (replacing some of the cheese with roasted butternut squash puree, replacing some of the butter with sour cream or cream cheese, using more eggs, fewer eggs, using whole milk or even cream in place of evaporated milk). My family wants to kill me, though.
This is the dish that my children will beg me to make when they’re grown and come home to visit. It’s warm and comforting, and it tastes and smells like home. Everyone loves a classic!