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Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Crunchy Topping

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese with Crunchy Topping

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Meanwhile, melt butter in 3-quart saucepan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and cayenne powder. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Then, remove the pan from heat and stir in the milk. Return the pan to the burner and heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Once boiling, stir for one minute and then remove from heat. Stir in the cheese, and cook until it's melted and smooth.

19 Mac and Cheese Toppings

Spice up your mac and cheese with some tasty toppings. Mac and Cheese just got an upgrade!

Oh, the king of all sides&hellip Mac & Cheese! Few dishes are as satisfying as cheesy, gooey, golden mac and cheese.

This one is an all-time favorite in my house and I&rsquom sure it is in yours too. Everyone has their favorite cheese to add but my go-to&rsquos are mozzarella, sharp cheddar, white cheddar, smoked gouda, fontina, and gruyere.

But there are far more toppings available for this family favorite than just cheese! From fried chicken and pulled pork to butter crackers and hot dogs, here are some of the best ways to top your mac and cheese.

Crunchy Macaroni and Cheese

( 12 Votes)

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For kids and adults who are big macaroni and cheese lovers, our baked dish of Crunchy Macaroni and Cheese is pure heaven. With the addition of the crackers on top, it becomes a crunchy, creamy delight!

What You'll Need

  • 1 (16-ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • 3 / 4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, melted, divided
  • 4 cups (16 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 / 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 24 saltine crackers, coarsely crushed

What to Do

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 1.5-quart or 9- x 13-inch baking dish (see Notes) with cooking spray set aside.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions drain, rinse, and drain again.
  3. In a large bowl, combine macaroni, 1/2 cup butter, the cheese, eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
  4. Lay crackers in a single layer over top of casserole and drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup melted butter.
  5. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until heated through and top is golden.


  • This also makes a great main dish that can serve 4 to 6 people. If you prefer, you an use 6 individual baking dishes. If you love the dish we've used in the photo, then check out our entire collection of bakeware and serveware and order your own!
  • You may want to use unsalted crackers if you're cutting down on your salt intake.
  • If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out Easy Pasta Bake Recipes: 24 Ultimate Pasta Casseroles.
  • Want even more macaroni recipes? Check out our collection of 22 Best Mac and Cheese Recipes.
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Ratings & Comments

Thanks for your comment. Don't forget to share!

have make the recipe before and only changes it with cornflakes on top and returned back to oven to brown top

next time use corn flakes on top and then return to oven to brown.

I gather you all are fairly young. I am 77, make a three or four cheese Mac & Cheese with coarsely crushed crackers as did my mother before me. The crushed crackers on Mac & Cheese is a very old way of making it.

That really does NOT sound appealing at all!! Crackers on top of noodles! Thats a starch with a starch! If you like a crunchiness add a crumble of bread crumbs and bacon. Or crush some fresh nuts and bake. Anything but another starch. Just saying.

Wouldn't bread crumbs be a "starch with a starch" also? I think the cracker crumbs sounds good with the little saltiness of them. I have put them on tuna noodle cassaroles and they are yummy!

I personally like/use canned French-fried onions rings on one-dish casseroles, added the last 3-4 mins. of baking. It's All Good!

Why make a negative comment before you even try the recipe?

I would rather make my own mac cheese - make it with 4 cheeses and bake then spread a little cheese on top . . . no crackers in this great dish - not "dissing" Mr. Food, my family just prefers my recipe instead of his . . .

Why not share your recipe? I have yet to find a mac n cheese recipe that I like. They are usually too dry, tasteless or have a starchy taste from thickening the sauce with flour. And I've tried a version with eggs, like this one, and it was Oh Sooo NOT good!

If you'd rather make your own, why put a negative comment on theirs?

Sounds delicious! I think I'd prefer using oyster cracker.

very good. cook noodles al dente

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Stuffed Chicken Muffins

What happens when you take a stuffed chicken recipe and combine it with a muffin tin recipe? You get our irresistible Stuffed Chicken Muffins! This dish is filled with a delicious cheesy Italian-style filling that everyone will love. This whole recipe is sure to leave you stuffed and satisfied! For a change of pace from your average dinner, this muffin tin chicken fits the bill! Unusual as it may be, once you take a bit, you will be reminded of some of your favorite chicken recipes. This is cheesy, flavorful, and will be loved by the whole family. Try making it tonight!


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Crushed Cheetos

To pulverize (I love that word) the Cheetos, I put them in my food processor. I highly recommend getting a food processor if you don’t already have one. Mine is a KitchenAid brand version and I love it! Shop my Amazon link for the same food processor here.

If you don’t have one, you can get creative with crushing your Cheetos. You can put them in a big Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin or a kitchen mallet or even a wine bottle! Whatever you’ve got to do to get them to a finely ground texture.

The mac and cheese recipe I use for this gives you a very rich and creamy result! If you have a recipe you already know and love, feel free to use it and then try adding Cheetos to the top!

Feel free to use less or more Cheetos/butter for the crust until you get the amount you like. This recipe is very forgiving!

Tips And Tricks

  1. Undercook your pasta: Cook about one minute less than what the package instructions say, this will avoid a mushy mac and cheese.
  2. Start with a Roux: Equal part butter and flour, cook this together for a minute or two to remove the raw flavor from the flour. This is the easiest and best way to make a cheese sauce, you’ll always end up with a creamy and rich sauce.
  3. Don’t buy pre-shredded cheeses: I recommend shredding your own block cheese, because pre-shredded cheese usually has added ingredients which prevent the cheese from melting properly. This will result in a grainy texture to your sauce!
  4. Lots of sauce: You might feel overwhelmed when you’re mixing the noodles into the sauce because there is so much of it. Don’t worry! It will turn out perfect. The macaroni will absorb some of the sauce as everything bakes. We want it to come out of the oven still nice and saucy, not as a noodle block.
  5. Don’tover bake: If you over bake you’ll end up with mushy macaroni. You want to bake it only until the cheese on top melts and you see the sauce bubbling and it starts to get golden around the edge. Only bake for the recommended time.

While technically you can freeze mac and cheese, I don’t recommend it because after you thaw it out and bake, the creamy consistency is gone. However if you really wan to freeze it, before the baking step, transfer the mac and cheese to an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw it out, then transfer it to a skillet or 9吉 inch baking dish and bake it as instructed.

Absolutely not! I like my mac and cheese unbaked as well, but there’s something to be said about a cheesy bubbly sauce.

No, do not cover it. If you cover it, it will steam the inside instead of giving it a crunchy topping.


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