Family Recipe: Baked Mac ‘N Cheese

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? This classic dish has been a childhood staple for generations, and it’s easy to make at home! Our version is baked with bread crumbs on top for an extra dash of flavor and crunch!


  • ½ pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ½ cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • ½ cup colby jack, shredded
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper 
  • Bread crumbs (optional)


  • 2-quart casserole dish
  • 2 large pans
  • Whisk
  • Spatula


Preheat your oven to 375°F. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook to al dente then drain and set aside.

Add butter to a pan and melt over medium heat. Add the flour and mustard, and whisk for 5 minutes. Slowly stir in the milk and paprika. Reduce heat to low and continue whisking for 10 minutes. Add more flour to thicken the sauce if needed.

Temper in the egg (see below if you’ve never done this). Stir in the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Fold macaroni into the sauce before pouring the mixture into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs if desired. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

How to Temper an Egg

“Tempering” refers to the diluting and gradual heating of a liquid. To temper an egg, quickly whisk a small amount of the hot liquid into the egg. Gradually add more liquid and continue whisking before adding the mixture back into the pan. 

Ways Kids Can Help

Cooking is a fun family activity, but also a great way to teach kids independence and life skills. We rounded up ways even the littlest little can help you make this scrumptious dish — with some help, of course.

1-3 years old

Let your children sprinkle the dish with bread crumbs. Set aside a certain amount of breadcrumbs for your kiddos to use so they don’t go overboard. 

4-5 years old

Measure out the paprika, salt, and pepper into small dishes and let your child add them to the sauce.

6-7 years old

Help your child carefully add the pasta to the boiling water. They can also help whisk the sauce and fold in the macaroni noodles. 

8-9 years old

Ask your child to grate the cheese. You can even let them pick out the kinds of cheese to use — smoked gouda, gruyere, and muenster cheese all make excellent additions to this recipe. 

10 years and older

Let your older kids take command of the kitchen — just make sure to supervise. 

Looking for more recipes to make as a family? Check out our (mostly) healthy banana bread!