Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese

5 from 2 votes

This Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese is topped with bacon and buttery crisp topping. It is prepared in a cast iron skillet that feels like your favorite restaurant dish! Homemade macaroni and cheese has never been this delicious and pretty simple to make at home with my recipe instructions!

baked mac and cheese in skillet

Best Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked mac and cheese is so dreamy!! Baking it in a cast iron skillet adds a fun rustic vibe, perfect for entertaining and treating your family too. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you can bake it in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish as well. This mac and cheese is topped with more cheese, crumbled cooked bacon and buttery Ritzy Crackers that really takes it to the next level. Check out my instructions below and enjoy!

For more mac and cheese recipes, try my Perfect Mac and Cheese Recipe! Follow Picky Palate on Instagram for daily recipe inspiration.

adding crushed ritz crackers to top of mac and cheese

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • elbow pasta– I like to use small dry pasta for my mac and cheese recipes. Any small pasta of your choice works great.
  • butter– Generally salted butter works best when making homemade mac and cheese.
  • all-purpose flour– The flour is needed when making the homemade roux.
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • whole milk– Using milk with more fat makes for a richer cheese sauce. You can also use 2%, even half and half works.
  • shredded cheddar cheese– You can use cheddar cheese that is already shredded or even shred your own. Saves time to use the bagged shredded cheese.
  • Ritz Crackers– You use the buttery crackers as your topping on the mac and cheese.
  • cooked bacon– In most cases I’ll use the ready bacon that you microwave to brown. If you have time, brown your own bacon for the best results.

How to Make Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and cook pasta according to package directions. I recommend cooking the pasta a minute less than the directions. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.
  2. To prepare roux, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until color of roux gets slightly darker. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted.
  3. Transfer cooked pasta to 12-inch cast iron skillet over low heat. Pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to combine.
  4. Top mac and cheese with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, crushed crackers and bacon pieces.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and hot. Serve warm.

bacon and cheese added to top of mac and cheese

Add lots of bacon pieces on top and your ready to bake!

baked mac and cheese in serving skillet

Crispy topping with cheesy goodness underneath. Perfect dinner for entertaining your guests.

How To Serve

Serve your skillet mac and cheese in skillet, but be careful as the skillet stays hot. Use a heat proof sleeve on the handle to prevent burns. Serve with your favorite roasted vegetable as a side or even a chopped salad.

Tips For Making The Best Mac and Cheese

  1. Don’t overcook your noodles. The noodle is the base of the entire dish, so it’s crucial that you choose the right kind of pasta. Noodles with lots of nooks and crannies—such as shells, mini penne, elbows, and corkscrews—ensure you achieve maximum cheesiness with every bite. If the dish is eventually being baked in the oven, parboil the noodles and drain when they’re still slightly chewy.
  2. Don’t forget the roux! Though it might be tempting to use a recipe that doesn’t require a roux, it’s a helpful step that improves the dish’s texture. To begin, cook equal parts flour and butter in a saucepan over medium heat until a paste forms. Whisk in warm milk until it creates a creamy sauce, and then stir in your shredded cheese until it reaches a smooth consistency.
  3. Use a variety of cheeses. To ensure the flavors aren’t too strong for the kids, choose cheeses that everyone will love. A good rule of thumb is to choose one sharp and one creamy, such as sharp cheddar and jack, or gruyere and Parmesan.
Image of Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon Pretzel Topping
5 from 2 votes

Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese

This Skillet Baked Mac and Cheese with crunchy buttery topping is such a crave-worthy dish! Homemade macaroni and cheese has never been this delicious!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 489kcal
Author: Jenny
Cost: $8
Print Pin Rate

Equipment

  • Oven
  • cast iron skillet
  • measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • saucepan
  • mixing spoon
  • strainer

Ingredients

  • 3/4 pound dry elbow pasta
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded and divided
  • 1 cup finely crushed Ritz Crackers
  • 12 strips cooked crumbled bacon pieces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Cook pasta according to package directions. I recommend cooking the pasta a minute less than the directions. Drain and set aside for a few minutes.
  • To prepare roux, melt butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes until color of roux gets slightly darker. Slowly whisk in milk, stirring continuously until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir in 2 cups of cheese until melted.
  • Transfer cooked pasta to 12-inch cast iron skillet over low heat. Pour cheese sauce over top, stirring to combine.
  • Top mac and cheese with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, crushed crackers and bacon pieces. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and hot. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 489kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 856mg | Potassium: 295mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 523IU | Calcium: 396mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: baked mac and cheese, baked mac and cheese recipe, best baked mac and cheese, creamy baked mac and cheese, easy baked mac and cheese, homemade baked mac and cheese, how to make baked mac and cheese

Pin To Your Favorite Recipe Board

baked mac and cheese

Related Posts

39 Responses
  1. Marsha M

    5 stars
    I found this recipe this morning and made it for lunch for my hubs and myself before he left for work. OMGoodness is all I can say! Absolutely delicious! I did add diced roasted garlic chicken sausage because it was thawed to add to our usual mac ‘n cheese. This will be our new “usual mac ‘n cheese” for sure! Thanks for sharing this recipe. My tastebuds are still dancing ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Lisa

    Why does this skillet mac and cheese, that says it uses ‘a pretzel crust” call for ritz crackers? Where do the pretzels come in?
    I don’t understand!

    1. Jenny

      Hi Lisa, at one point I used a pretzel cracker, but I prefer it with just the regular Ritz crackers. Either are fine, just updated to my preference now ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Max

    Tastes great! I made it for my roommates and girlfriend and they couldn’t say enough greats things about it! It probably added a couple inches to my waist, but totally worth it!

  4. Kendray

    Made this for dinner on Saturday. It turned out pretty good… I feel like my cheese sauce could have used a little more liquid… but other than that, tasty.

    The one thing I might do differently is a purely logistical thing – when I was cutting into my skillet, the bacon and pretzels came off (I guess the melted cheese wasn’t quite enough to hold them on). I might put the bacon and half of the pretzels under the cheese, and then sprinkle the other half of the pretzels on top.

  5. Heather @ Shards of Lavender

    Looks like the perfect recipe for my family! Bacon, pretzels, buttery cracker, & cheese? Yum!

  6. Beth @ bethcakes

    I never would have thought to add pretzels to mac and cheese, but I can imagine how good it! Especially with bacon. ๐Ÿ™‚ This looks amazing!

  7. Erin | The Law Student's Wife

    Please pass the skillet! Love the combo of the cheddar (one of my faves) with the crunchy pretzels. And bacon…never a bad choice ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Alice // Hip Foodie Mom

    oh my gawd!!! this mac and cheese looks unbelievable!!! soooo good! love the idea of throwing pretzel thins on top! genius!

  9. Kat

    I have a go-to macaroni and cheese recipe that I love, so I’m not normally interested in trying new ones. This looks so good though. I think I have to try it!

  10. haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine.com

    wow. all of my favorite things in one dish. i really don’t think it can get any better than this!

  11. Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    Seriously pretzels make my salty world go round. Love this. And I’m sure the kids would dig right in!
    Pinning.
    Happy Wednesday Jenny!

  12. Tom @ Raise Your Garden

    Wow what’s there not to like??? What guy first of all doesn’t love bacon? and Pretzels and yes Mac and Cheese! Thanks for this one!

  13. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    Bacon. Pretzel. Mac and Cheese.
    I can’t even. This is amazing Jenny! I wish I could dive face first into that pot right now!

  14. Orla

    Hi Jenny, this looks awesome!
    I’m from Ireland where we don’t have boxed mac and cheese, and it’s hard to find macaroni pasta shapes but I hunted down a great recipe and make it from scratch every so often. I always dice up some bacon and mix it through the pasta (in Ireland a meal isn’t a meal if you don’t have meat in it ๐Ÿ˜› ) but the last time I was rushing so skipped the bacon- my boyfriend couldn’t hide his disappointment! LOL! Think bacon is a must for mac and cheese! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating




Welcome to Picky Palate!

Picky PalateWelcome to my online kitchen! Picky Palate is where youโ€™ll find family friendly recipes along with the best Disney eats, tips and copycat recipes! Read More...

Recipe Categories

Picky Palate Disney Hungry

Never Miss an Update!

Sign up to get easy recipes or Disney tips delivered to your inbox for FREE!