Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

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Chili Mac and Cheese on a plate with fork.  This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

This Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe is a no-apologies meal that layers indulgence on top of indulgence and then garnishes with a bit more indulgence.  It has a super creamy and cheesy curly pasta on the bottom that lays a perfect foundation.  Then it’s topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili filled with tomatoes, onions, and carrots for layers of sweet and savory flavors.  Both the mac and cheese and the chili are super easy to make.  They can be made ahead and then reheated, making them great for weeknight dinners. 

This recipe is also a great one to make directly from your freezer and pantry!  The chili can be cooked ahead and frozen to pull out, warm, and add to mac and cheese any time you want!  Click here to get lots more Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

Scooping Chili out of pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Substitutes – Because you don’t have time to worry!

With our crazy schedules and limited time, you sometimes have to make do with whatever you have in the house, so here are your swaps and substitutes!

Chili Subs

  • Ground Beef – you can easily sub with ground turkey or chicken here!  I use 90% lean beef, but you can use any fat content.  You can also ADD chorizo or ground pork.
  • Seasonings – Feel free to use a Chili Spice mix you like, just taste for salt and pepper.  Paprika and Cayenne are optional, but I find they really boost the smokiness and give a bit of heat.  You can also add more of both of these!
  • Veggies – I use mirepoix for this recipe – onion, carrot, and celery – which bring the right amount of sugar and flavor.  You could eliminate the carrot and celery, but the onion is a must as it brings so much flavor!  You can also add in green or red pepper!

Mac and Cheese Subs

  • Pasta – I suggest using a short-cut curly pasta, such as Rotini, Fusilli,  or Riccioli.  These will hold the cheese and chili in every nook and cranny.  You can also use tube-cut pastas, such as Penne, Rigatti, or even elbows.  Frankly, any pasta will taste great, if you don’t have any of these!
  • Cheese – I prefer to shred my own aged cheddar for homemade mac and cheese.  I find that a little goes a long way for deep cheesy flavor and it melts perfectly smooth and creamy!  Any cheddar you have on hand can be used for shredding.  You could also use Fontina, Monterey Jack.  You can also use a pre-shredded cheese.

Here are a couple other comforting family dinners to try:  Shell Pasta with Italian Chicken Sausage and Kale  or Easy Cottage Pie with Beef & Chorizo!

Chili Mac and Cheese on a plate with fork. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You need 2 pots for this recipe, unless you make the Chili a day or more ahead. For the Chili, you need a large (5-6 quart) pot with lid that can go from the stove to the oven. My prized possession dutch oven was perfect for this! Or any good quality enameled cast iron 5-6 quart dutch oven with lid is great. For the pasta, any large pot to boil the water and cook the pasta will work!

PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR CHILI MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (Full recipe below!) 

For this recipe, you can either just prep the veggies and seasonings or make the Chili entirely ahead, as it reheats perfectly!  In fact, you can make it months ahead and freeze too!

For the veggies…Dice the onion, carrots, and celery. Remove the skin and mince the garlic cloves. 

Diced onion, celery, and carrots Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Measure out your seasonings and spices, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, and Paprika.

Spices for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

If your cheese is not shredded, you can also shred that ahead of time.

At this point, you can either make the chili in advance and store it in the fridge/freezer or you can stop for today and pick up cooking in the next couple days! 

COOK YOUR CHILI! 

Preheat your dutch oven or large pot (with lid) on high. Drizzle in a tsp of Olive Oil and then add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it apart so that it can all cook evenly. Let it brown without touching it for 4-5 minutes. Once you see the pink starting to disappear, you can stir the meat so that it browns and cooks on all sides.

Beef cooking in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

When the meat is fully browned, add the garlic, carrots, onions, and celery. Stir to combine and start to cook the veggies. Cook for 5 minutes.

Veggies and beef in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Next add the Seasonings, broth, diced tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Stir again and then cover and simmer for 20-60 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes. (The longer you cook this, the more the ingredients will meld together and become one amazing chili!)

Diced tomatoes and beef in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Adding tomato paste to chili pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

COOK YOUR MAC AND CHEESE 

For the pasta, I recommend a short curly variety, such as Rotini, Fusilli, or this fun Riccioli.

Boil the pasta until al dente (about 5-10 minutes depending on the pasta). Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer or transfer to a large mixing bowl until the sauce is ready.

In a small pot or in the microwave, warm up the milk (do not boil).

Make your roux by adding 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour to a preheated pan (heated to medium, not high heat). Whisk the butter and flour together as the butter melts.

Butter and flour in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Once they are fully combined, slowly pour in the milk, whisking the entire time to incorporate it into the roux and prevent lumps from forming.  Bring the sauce up to a simmer so that it starts to thicken.  You can test the sauce by coating the back of a spoon and running your finger through it.  If it leaves a trail, you’re set.

Adding slurry to roux for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

sauce with whisk and spoon for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

When the sauce is thickened, stir in the cheese until you have a smooth cheese sauce.

Adding cheese to sauce for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Whisking cheese sauce for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Either add the pasta to the sauce or pour the sauce over the pasta in a bowl and fold it in to coat each pasta.

Pouring Cheese sauce over pasta for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Mixed Mac and Cheese for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

To serve, simply add a heaping scoop of mac and cheese to each plate, then top with an equally heaping scoop of chili! Sprinkle cheese on top and dig in!

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Ladling Chili over Mac and Cheese on a plate. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Beef Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

This Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe is a no-apologies meal that layers indulgence on top of indulgence and then garnishes with a bit more indulgence.  It has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili.  Both the mac and cheese and the chili are super easy to make.  They can be made ahead and then reheated, making them great for weeknight dinners.  #macandcheese #chilirecipes #familydinnerideas #easydinners #comfortfood

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword chili, easy dinner, ground beef, Mac and cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Chili

  • 1 lb ground lean beef, 90% lean raised without antibiotics
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 1/2 cup celery
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 28 oz Diced Tomatoes (whole peeled tomatoes in sauce or crushed tomatoes are fine too.)
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth (vegetable stock is fine too)

Mac and Cheese

  • 10 oz Dry Curly Pasta
  • 2 tbsp All-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp Salted Butter
  • 1.5 cups Milk warmed
  • 4-6 oz Shredded Cheddar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Dice the onion, carrots, and celery. Remove the skin and mince the garlic cloves.

    Diced onion, celery, and carrots Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  2. Measure out your seasonings and spices, Chili Powder, Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Cayenne Pepper, and Paprika.

    Spices for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  3. If your cheese is not shredded, you can also shred that ahead of time.

  4. At this point, you can either make the chili in advance and store it in the fridge/freezer or you can stop for today and pick up cooking in the next couple days!

Cook your Chili

  1. Preheat your dutch oven or large pot (with lid) on high. Drizzle in a tsp of Olive Oil and then add the ground beef to the pot, breaking it apart so that it can all cook evenly. Let it brown without touching it for 4-5 minutes. Once you see the pink starting to disappear, you can stir the meat so that it browns and cooks on all sides.

    Beef cooking in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  2. When the meat is fully browned, add the garlic, carrots, onions, and celery. Stir to combine and start to cook the veggies. Cook for 5 minutes.

    Veggies and beef in pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  3. Next add the Seasonings, broth, diced tomatoes and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Stir again and then cover and simmer for 20-60 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes. (The longer you cook this, the more the ingredients will meld together and become one amazing chili!)

    Adding tomato paste to chili pot for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Cook your Mac and Cheese

  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it's all immersed in the water and doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente (about 5-10 minutes depending on the pasta). Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer or transfer to a large mixing bowl until the sauce is ready.

  2. In a small pot or in the microwave, warm up the milk (do not boil).

  3. Make your roux by adding 2 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of flour to a preheated pan (heated to medium, not high heat). Whisk the butter and flour together as the butter melts. Once they are fully combined, slowly pour in the milk, whisking the entire time to incorporate it into the roux and prevent lumps from forming.

    Adding slurry to roux for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  4. Bring the sauce up to a simmer so that it starts to thicken.  You can test the sauce by coating the back of a spoon and running your finger through it.  If it leaves a trail, you're set.

    sauce with whisk and spoon for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  5. When the sauce is thickened, stir in the cheese until you have a smooth cheese sauce.

    Adding cheese to sauce for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes
  6. Either add the pasta to the sauce or pour the sauce over the pasta in a bowl and fold it in to coat each pasta

    Pouring Cheese sauce over pasta for Chili Mac and Cheese. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Serve!

  1. Simply add a heaping scoop of mac and cheese to each plate, then top with an equally heaping scoop of chili! Sprinkle cheese on top and dig in!

    Ladling Chili over Mac and Cheese on a plate. This Recipe has creamy and cheesy pasta topped with smokey, tangy, savory beef chili! #macandcheese #chilirecipes

Dreamy Bacon Mac and Cheese

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Bacon Mac and Cheese on a plate. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
Bacon Mac and Cheese in baking dish. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Luscious, decadent, mouthwatering, and irresistible.  This is my daughter’s  Dreamy Bacon Mac and Cheese recipe and it’ll make you sooooo happy!  The creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  You get the traditional cheesy backdrop from the cheddar and then more depth and nuttiness from the manchego.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!  

The great thing about this recipe is that you can always have the ingredients on hand in your pantry and your freezer!  The cheese can be shredded and stored in the freezer as well as the bacon.  The pasta, cornstarch, and bouillon are on hand in the pantry.  So if you can’t get to the store, make THIS Bacon Mac and Cheese!

Click here to more freezer food storage top with my printable cheat sheet with 10 Freezer Hacks to make easy dinners!

Bacon Mac and Cheese scooped up. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

A Little Bacon Goes a Long Way!

Bacon has a reputation for being unhealthy because of the fat and cholesterol.  Of course, if you are eating tons of bacon everyday, it can of course be unhealthy.  But, as with any food, moderation is extremely important.  A small serving of bacon, for example 1.2oz or 1-2 slices depending on the cut, is about 70 calories and 5-7g of fat.  There is also new information about bacon’s cholesterol impact and “scientists now agree that it has minor effects on cholesterol levels in your blood“.

AND a little bacon goes a long way!  I love to use bacon in recipes where a little bit can completely infuse an entire dish.  Whether it’s a sauce, a stew, or soup, bacon can take the flavor from good to great with just a little bit!  In this Bacon Man and Cheese recipe, I only used 2oz in the entire recipe!  But I crumbled it up and added it to the sauce from the start so the smokey flavor would infuse all of the cheesy goodness.  THEN, I used the bacon fat to crisp up the cracker topping!  Only 5g of fat from the Bacon in this dish!

Here is another delicious bacon-in-moderation recipe to try: Bacon, Brussels Sprouts, & Chicken Stew!

More on Bacon

Bacon is a great source of high-quality complete protein with about 30-40g in a serving.  It also contains B6 and B12 which are good for your immune system!

Be sure to look for UNCURED or NITRATE-FREE bacon.  Cured bacon is soaked in nitrates to preserve it before smoking it.  However, there are many brands now that offer a more natural option without toxins, such as nitrates. 

You should consult your doctor or nutritionist for any dietary changes or questions. 

Bacon Mac and Cheese on a plate. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  But, I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

You need (1) a large pasta pot (2) a baking dish and (3) a medium-size (8″ or similar size is good) frying pan.

For the baking dish, I love to use a deep loaf dish vs. a casserole dish. The pasta and sauce stay thicker and creamier vs. drying out in a thinner layer. I used a ceramic 1 pound loaf dish that was 10″x 5″x 3.5″. You could also use an 8″x 8″ baking dish.

PREP-AHEAD FOR YOUR BACON MAC AND CHEESE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are the steps you prepare in the day(s) in advance and store in the fridge as your meal Kit… (See the recipe below for more details) 

In terms of prep-ahead, you can certainly make this entire dish and reheat it later.  However, I recommend just prepping the ingredients and eating it right after you make it, when it’s creamiest.  Once it goes into the fridge, the pasta soak up the sauce. 

You can prep ahead the cheeses, the bacon, crackers, and the parsley.  You can even cook up the bacon bits and the cracker crumb topping. 

Shred the manchego cheese and cheddar cheese.

Manchego and Cheddar on cutting board for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Shredding Manchego for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Shredded Manchego and Cheddar on cutting board for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs! Chop the parsley. Crush the crackers.Chopped Parsley for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Crackers in bag for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Crushing crackers in bag for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Dice the bacon.  Since I use only a little bit of bacon at a time, I store mine in the freezer.  I can then cut off just the amount I need across all slices and put the rest back in the freezer!

Knife cutting raw bacon for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Raw bacon diced for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Preheat a medium (about 8″) frying pan. Add the diced bacon on medium heat. Stir so that the bacon doesn’t burn. Render the fat and crip the bacon. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon leaving the fat behind and place on a plate to the side or store in the fridge if doing this in advance.Raw diced bacon in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Cooked bacon pieces in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

To the bacon fat still left in the pan, add a tbsp of butter and melt it stirring it into the bacon fat. Add the cracker crumbs and the parsley and mix to coat with the fat. Stir and toast in the pan on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside or store in fridge until ready to top the mac and cheese.

bacon fat and butter in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Cracker crumbs and parsley in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Cracker crumbs and parsley in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

COOK YOUR BACON MAC AND CHEESE 

I realize that this recipe is called ‘Mac’ and Cheese, but we are opting for Fettuccine instead.  You can use any pasta you want, but my daughter loves fettuccine and she created this recipe.  While Italian grandmothers are probably rolling in their graves, I do break this pasta in half.  Frankly, it’s just easier for me to cook than trying to cook and easier for the kids to eat in smaller pieces.

Fettuccine pasta broken in half for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Boil the pasta in a large pot of water with a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt.  Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

Make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.Adding cornstarch to milk for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon.  Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and add the cooked bacon pieces. Continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).

Adding cornstarch slurry to broth for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Adding cooked bacon bits to sauce for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Whisk in the shredded cheeses and stir until it is completely combined and smooth.

Adding shredded cheese to sauce for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Daughter cooking Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Add in the cooked pasta and mix to combine. Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into a baking dish that is either loaf size 10″ x 5″ x 3.5″ or 9″ x 9″ x 2″. Add the cracker crumbs on top.Mixing fettuccine into cheese sauce for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Pouring cracker crumbs over pasta for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Pouring Fettuccine Bacon Mac and Cheese into a baking dish. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes just for the topping to get extra crispy.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Bacon Mac and Cheese on a plate. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

 

Bacon Mac and Cheese on a plate. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
5 from 1 vote
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Dreamy Mac and Cheese

This Bacon Mac and Cheese will make you so happy!  The creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  You get the traditional cheesy backdrop from the cheddar and then more depth and nuttiness from the manchego.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!  

Course Main Course, pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Bacon, casserole, cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Bacon
  • 10 oz Dry Fettuccine Pasta, broken in half
  • 6 oz Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz Manchego Cheese, shredded
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 1 cup Water (use the pasta water after pasta cooks)
  • 18-20 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1 tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. Shred the manchego cheese and cheddar cheese

    Shredded Manchego and Cheddar on cutting board for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  2. Chop the parsley. Crush the crackers. Dice the bacon.

    Knife cutting raw bacon for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  3. Preheat a medium (about 8") frying pan. Add the diced bacon on medium heat. Stir so that the bacon doesn't burn. Render the fat and crip the bacon. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon leaving the fat behind and place on a plate to the side or store in the fridge if doing this in advance.

    Cooked bacon pieces in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  4. To the bacon fat still left in the pan, add a tbsp of butter and melt it stirring it into the bacon fat. Add the cracker crumbs and the parsley and mix to coat with the fat. Stir and toast in the pan on medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside or store in fridge until ready to top the mac and cheese.

    Cracker crumbs and parsley in pan for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!

Cook your Bacon Mac and Cheese

  1. Boil a large pot of water for the pasta. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a splash of Olive Oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and stir so that it all is immersed in the water and doesn't stick it itself. Boil the pasta until al dente. Remove 1 cup of the pasta water and then drain the pasta. Leave the pasta in the strainer until the sauce is ready.

    Save 1 cup of pasta water to dish for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  2. Make the cornstarch slurry by mixing the cornstarch into the cold milk.

    Adding cornstarch to milk for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  3. Using the same pot that you used for the pasta, add the reserved 1 cup of pasta water plus 1 bouillon cube or chicken/vegetable base. Heat to simmer and dissolve the bouillon. Whisk in the cornstarch slurry and add the cooked bacon pieces. Continue to whisk while it heats through and starts to thicken (about 2-3 minutes).

    Adding cooked bacon bits to sauce for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  4. Whisk in the shredded cheeses and stir until it is completely combined and smooth.

    Adding shredded cheese to sauce for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  5. Add in the cooked pasta and mix to combine. Pour the pasta and cheese sauce into a baking dish that is either loaf size 10" x 5" x 3.5" or 9" x 9" x 2". Add the cracker crumbs on top.

    Pouring cracker crumbs over pasta for Bacon Mac and Cheese. It has a creamy and cheesy sauce with a touch of smokiness from the bacon, coats each piece of pasta.  On top, crispy crunchy, indulgent bacon fat cracker crumbs!
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes just for the topping to get extra crispy.