My Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese is another recipe that my daughter can sniff out. Without fail, her nose hones in on it when it’s baking. More often than not, she’s asked for it instead dessert. Which- I’ll admit- is weird.
What goes into this Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese?
While I’m a believer in using Velveeta in some recipes, this won’t be one of them. Use straight-up, uncomplicated cheeses here and you’ll reap the rewards.
In addition to a pound of large elbow macaroni, you’ll need evaporated milk, unsalted Danish Creamery butter, an egg, ground: paprika, garlic, onion, mustard, black pepper, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper, and our five cheese blend. I use extra sharp cheddar (for its bite), colby jack (to smooth things out), gouda and gruyere (our gooey cheeses), and chevre (for tang).
The importance of shredding your five cheese blend by hand
If you look on most packages of shredded cheese you’ll find an “anti-caking agent” has been added to it. Anti-caking agents are just what they sound like. A coating (usually a flour-based mixture) which keeps the cheese from clumping in the bag. While it’s great for topping your tacos, it’s horrible when you’re trying to develop a smooth, creamy cheese sauce. Because of that anti-caking agent, buying your cheese in blocks and shredding it when you’re prepping your ingredients is important. This is a great way to get the kiddos involved in the prep, too!
Boil the Mac and Shred the Five Cheese blend
Boiling and cooking the pasta is the first step in preparing this mac and cheese. Follow the packages cooking instructions for al dente pasta. It usually takes less boiling time for the macaroni to reach al dente. This is the preferred texture to use when it comes to baked pasta dishes like this five cheese mac and cheese. Al dente affords some grace during the additional baking time, which means you’re not left with a mushy macaroni come serving time.
While you’re waiting for your pasta to cook, gently whisk the egg in a small bowl. I whisk my egg prior to adding it to the sauce, so that I’m not left with clumps of egg in my baked casserole.
Mix the Milk Base
Once the pasta has finished boiling, drain it in a colander. In the same large stock pot that you boiled the pasta in add the sliced butter, evaporated milk, and the crumbled chevre. Return the pot to the warm stove to heat and melt the chevre until smooth.
Once smooth, add the spices to the milk-chevre blend and stir to incorporate them.
Add the drained macaroni to the pot and stir to coat it in the milk mixture.
Add all the shredded cheese except a 1/4 cup (of each) to the pot. Because we’re going to top the assembled mac and cheese with this cheese blend we need to reserve some.
Finally, add the beaten egg to the pot.
Stir well to coat the macaroni in the cheese-milk mixture.
Pan, Top, and Bake
Pour the mixed macaroni into a lightly greased 9″x13″ casserole dish. Smooth it so the surface is level.
Sprinkle the remaining cheeses onto the surface of the macaroni. Cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil.
I have taken to lightly greasing the part of the foil that touches the top of the macaroni and cheese. This prevents too much of the cheese from sticking to the foil.
Bake the casserole in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown slightly.
Cool and Serve
Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
At this point, it’s a free-for-all. If you have guests who are anything like my daughter, watch your hands when dishing it out. You might pull back a nub.
To prep ahead of time
This is a freezer-friendly/make-ahead friendly recipe. In the past, I’ve prepped this entirely and wrapped the pan in foil to freeze for 6 months.
Granted, when freezing, I opt to store it in a disposable aluminum pan. This to prevent my ceramic dishes from being held hostage for long periods of time. It also allows me to toss the pan of macaroni into the oven straight from the fridge without fear the cold dish will shatter.
If you need to make this ahead of time, follow the instructions all the way up to baking. Wrap the pan in foil and store it in the fridge up to 48 hours; in the freezer for up to 6 months. If you’re taking the freezer route, you’ll need to remember to thaw it for 24 hours in the fridge prior to baking it.
Enjoy your Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Serve this gooey, cheesy side with your choice of mains- or as a main itself. As I mentioned before, my daughter would be happy to eat this mac and cheese for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. The girl has absolutely no shame regarding her love for this dish.
This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for larger parties, as well. Make sure you pin the recipe for your holiday meals and be sure to share it with any guests you may invite, too.
Five Cheese Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 16 ounce large elbow macaroni
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
- 2 1/4 cups evaporated (or whole) milk (1 1/2 12 ounce cans)
- 4 ounces chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
- 1 tbsp seasoned salt or to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 8 ounces or 2 cups (each) colby jack, extra sharp cheddar, gouda, gruyere cheeses, shredded- a 1/4 cup of each reserved
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9x13x3" casserole dish with melted butter or non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large stockpot, bring a gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of salt (optional) to a rapid boil over medium-high heat.Follow the packages cooking instructions for al dente pasta.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain it in a colander.
- In the empty stock pot stir together the butter, evaporated milk, and the crumbled chevre. Return the pot to the warm stove to heat and melt the chevre, stirring until smooth. Add the all of the spices to the milk-chevre blend and stir to incorporate them.
- Pour the drained macaroni into the milk mixture.
- Add the beaten egg and all except the reserved portions of shredded cheeses and to the pot. Stir well to coat the macaroni in the cheese-milk mixture.
- Pour the mixed macaroni into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the reserved cheeses on top of the macaroni. Cover the dish with a piece of aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown slightly. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Thaw the macaroni for 24 hours in the fridge prior to baking it.
Complete your holiday meal with these sides: