You absolutely need this decadent 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese at your next summer gathering. Rich Gouda pairs beautifully alongside a host of other creamy cheeses creating fireworks for your tastebuds and a recipe you can’t resist.
Growing up, I never knew how to make baked macaroni and cheese. It didn’t become a staple for the holidays until I got to college. Now there isn’t a 4th of July that goes by without it since bringing the recipe home. The key to a great pan of baked macaroni and cheese is all in the sauce; the cheese sauce that is. You can completely customize this recipe with a variety of cheeses. That’s what makes this 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese so great!
5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
With barbecue season approaching, we all need a great side dish to pair with our favorite tangy barbecue recipe. Baked macaroni and cheese is always a crowd pleaser, so I knew I wanted to include cheeses that would make the dish creamy, smokey, and dripping with cheesy goodness. You can interchange the types of cheeses you use, but I recommend using at least two different kinds when making this recipe. Once you get to layering, it makes the process a lot more fun and the layers in each spoonful will make a difference.
The optional barbecue pulled chicken is a great compliment to this 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese and can easily be switched with pork if you wish. Just season the chicken or pork before adding it to your slow cooker. Once cooked, shred it, and then cover it in your homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce and save it for later.
5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
I used whole milk mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and smoked gouda in the cheese sauce for this recipe. After making my roux, which consists of flour and melted butter, I tossed in diced green bell pepper. It adds to the flavor and crunch of each bite of this 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
Next, I slowly added half and half to the roux to make a béchamel sauce. Depending on how creamy you like your baked macaroni to be, you can use whole milk or heavy cream. If you’re a beginner, opt for the milk on your first go-round since it is easier to get a smooth consistency. Once the lumps are whisked out, you’re almost ready to add your cheeses! Just be sure to add your seasonings first.
In a separate pot, cook your pasta in salted boiling water for about four minutes until it’s al dente. It’ll finish cooking through in the oven so you don’t want to over cook it too early. Once your pasta is drained, add it to your cheese sauce and stir to make sure all parts are covered.
I layered the bottom of my baking dish with a cheddar and Monterey jack cheese mix before transferring the pasta over. Cut cubes of cheddar cheese are mixed in the layers for “surprise” cheese pockets throughout the dish. After adding about half of the pasta to the pan, I repeated another cheese layer before topping with the remaining pasta. The last step was putting the 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese in the oven which was already pre-heated at 400ºF.
The great thing about making this 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese is that you can bring it out to entertain hungry guests as they wait for the burgers and hot dogs to be ready. This recipe will make your 4th of July celebration even more special!
- 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 4 tbsp butter
- 4 cups half and half or whole milk
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp kosher salt or to taste
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- ½ tsp dry mustard (optional)
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 pound dried pasta of your choice
- Kosher salt (for the pasta water)
- Half of a green pepper cut into small cubes
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, plus a few pieces of cubes
- 1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups shredded smoked Gouda
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
- Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
- Use cooking spray or butter to grease a 8x11 baking dish, set to the side.
- Boil your pasta in water that is seasoned with salt (about a tablespoon) for about 4 minutes. Let it sit and drain while you make the cheese sauce.
- In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the flour and start to whisk to create the roux.
- Add peppers.
- Start to stir in 2 cups of half and half (or milk), stirring slowly to remove the lumps.
- Let the base of the sauce thicken, as you start to add in your gouda, sharp cheddar, and whole milk mozzarella.
- Add the remaining 2 cups of half and half. Stir in your seasonings which you can adjust as you see fit.
- Once your mixture is thick enough, remove from heat.
- Toss the pasta into the cheese sauce and cover all corners of the pasta before preparing your pan.
- Coat the bottom of your pan with half your cheddar and Monterey jack blend. Then layer half of the pasta on top.
- Repeat by coating the pasta with any of your remaining cheese and then layer the remaining pasta on top. You can add in the cubes for your surprise cheese pockets.
- Bake in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the dish is golden brown.
- Remember to let the dish cool before you dig in.
- Pair with barbecue chicken or pork if desired.
Home Chef Tip: When draining your pasta, save a small glass of your pasta water. If your cheese sauce is too thick, you can use it later to even it out to your liking.
We hope you love this decadent 5-Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe from SoFabFood Contributor, Casandra from Food Before Love, as much as we do. If you enjoyed this delicious recipe, be sure to check out our other side dish recipes for more like it. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter so that you never miss a single recipe, and for daily recipe inspiration, like us on Facebook and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!