Bangin’ Mac and Cheese

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    Bangin’ Mac and Cheese recipe made from scratch comfort food just– perfect for potluck dinners.

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    This recipe is from June 2011, you guys.

    This was one of the first recipes I put on the blog.

    I was still living in my parent’s house. I just started my first job and started dating Jason.

    I figured, why not be an adult and make adult mac ‘n cheese?

    There’s truly not much that is “adult” about this recipe except it’s not out of a blue box.

    It’s just “from scratch,” but let’s be real — some nights, the blue box mac ‘n cheese is totally needed.

    I also named this bangin’ because it has some KICK to it!

    Bangin’ Mac and Cheese

    This is the richest, creamiest, mac & cheese with a kick, you’ll ever have.

    It takes no time at all to prep and has the simplest ingredients that you should already have in your pantry & fridge.

    Oh, notice how I never mentioned that this was healthy ;)

    This bangin’ mac and cheese recipe is the epitome of the comfort food we all know and love.

    Loaded with three types of cheesy goodness, it’s a cheese lovers dream.

    You’ll love it so much you might as well go ahead and make two batches.

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    What Makes This Mac and Cheese Bangin’?

    There are a few components that make this mac and cheese truly bangin’.

    It might just seem like your typical mac and cheese from the outside, but trust me, there are a few things that make this special.

    From the perfect blend of cheeses to the dash of spice from the cayenne pepper, all topped off with the crispy brown bread crumbs; there is simply no other way to explain it.

    When this first came out of the oven, Jason and I both thought the same thing “eh, what’s the big deal? It’s just pasta and cheese.” WRONG.

    Even while I was making this, I was thinking “man, this is so simple, it’s going to suck and just be a flopped dish.”

    I’m so glad it was the complete opposite. And best of all: it was made from scratch!

    Seriously, I was floored when I had my first bite.

    Jason said, “Wow. This.is.awesome.”

    So, trust me when I say you absolutely have to give the recipe a try.

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    What Do I Need To Make This Mac and Cheese Recipe?

    • Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
    • Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
    • Colby cheese, shredded
    • Pasta shapes (I used shells)
    • Whole milk
    • Panko breadcrumbs
    • Cayenne pepper
    • Butter
    • Salt

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    How To Make Bangin’ Mac and Cheese

    Don’t let that “made from scratch” line intimidate you, this recipe is still easy enough for mac and cheese lovers of all skill levels.

    You don’t need any kind of fancy tools or specially trained skills for this one.

    Cook everything according to the directions below!

    You’ll definitely want to remember to sprinkle the toasted panko bread crumbs on top before putting it in the oven.

    Cover the casserole dish with a lid or foil and bake. Serve & enjoy! :)

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    Tips For Perfecting This Bangin’ Mac and Cheese Recipe

    • Do NOT cook pasta all the way through. cook it 1/2 way — it will finish cooking in the oven
    • Use pre-shredded if you want. The more authentic way to make this recipe is to buy blocks of cheese and shred them yourself, but if you want to save a little time, it’s totally fine to cheat and buy the pre-shredded like I did.
    • Use whole milk, not skim. Skim milk is too watery to use in this recipe. If you try to use skim milk you won’t end up with the same creamy consistency as I did in the original recipe.
    • Remember to let the crumbs brown. The crunchy topping is arguably the BEST part of this entire mac and cheese dish. Make sure you don’t forget the last step to brown the crumbs on top. It will still be fine if you do forget, but the dish will be unforgettable if you remember.

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!

    Like This Mac and Cheese? Then You’ll Love These Comfort Food Dishes

    Instant Pot Minestrone Soup

    Sausage and Gravy Soup

    Pumpkin BBQ Sloppy Joe’s

    White Pizza Grilled Cheese

    Tender Oven-Baked Honey Butter Ribs

    Fast Easy Biscuits

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese! #macncheese #pasta #cheesy #comfortfoods #comfortfoodrecipe

    This mac and cheese recipe has a bit of a kick to it and it's the perfect weeknight comfort meal when you are craving pasta and cheese!
    5 from 1 vote
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    Bangin' Mac and Cheese

    This mac and cheese made from scratch comfort food just perfect for any weeknight dinner when you're craving the classic!
    Prep Time: 20 mins
    Cook Time: 40 mins
    Total Time: 1 hr
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: American
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 4
    Calories: 975kcal
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    Ingredients

    • 16 ounces medium shells pasta
    • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 8 ounces freshly shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
    • 8 ounces freshly shredded monterey jack cheese
    • 8 ounces freshly shredded colby jack cheese
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a deep and large 9x13-inch casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
    • In a large pot, bring water to boil for your pasta. Season water with salt then cook pasta halfway through and drain. Do not cook it all the way through as it will finish cooking in the oven.
    • While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter and then add in the panko breadcrumbs, stirring frequently to get a nice, toasty brown color. Pour in a bowl and set aside for later.
    • In the same skillet melt remaining butter then pour in the milk and add the cayenne.
    • Dump in all your cheese and melt it to a nice, smooth consistency. It'll be a fairly runny mixture but don't fret – it all thickens up in the oven!
    • After the cheese is all melted and everything is mixed evenly, fold in the pasta and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
    • Pour the pasta in the prepared casserole dish and sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs on top.
    • Bake covered for 25 minutes.
    • For the last 5-10 minutes, remove the lid and let the panko breadcrumbs brown some more.
    • Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

    Video

    Notes

    Nutrition Facts
    Bangin' Mac and Cheese
    Amount Per Serving (1 Serving)
    Calories 975 Calories from Fat 657
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 73g112%
    Carbohydrates 38g13%
    Fiber 2g8%
    Sugar 4g4%
    Protein 45g90%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

    Photos by Jesse Reilly

  • 5 Comments
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    Comments

  • Karen B says:

    I made this for dinner tonite and invited my sister and brother in law over. We all loved it! I will admit I wasn’t expecting much because it was just too easy to put together, but I was so pleasantly surprised and now this one is in my keeper recipe box. I had to give my sis a copy before she went home! Thank you for an easy and great recipe. I will make it often. And you’re so right. Don’t leave out the toasty Panko breadcrumbs! They are a definite winner! Yum!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m so glad you loved it and were able to share it!!

  • Mary says:

    It looks very delicious!
    Actually, I’ve never made my own Mac and Cheese, I have to try this recipe :)

  • Samantha says:

    I’m interested in making this mac ‘n cheese for a book club gathering I’m hosting. Would it be possible to prep any of this the night before and then bake in the oven while everyone arrives? Would greatly appreciate your guidance!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      yes! you can actually prep all of it ahead of time but don’t sprinkle the panko breadcrumbs on top until you bake.

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