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Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food to serve. It is loaded with flavor and this copycat recipe will be your go-to mac and cheese recipe.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Recipe:
We love making Mac and Cheese as a side dish for many different meals. My kids love getting Cracker Barrel’s Mac and Cheese anytime we go, so I decided to make a copycat version.
This macaroni and cheese recipe is so delicious and is made with simple ingredients. The creamy, cheesy texture makes it the ultimate comfort food. If you are needing a simple side dish, make this mac and cheese recipe.
Mac n cheese is always a kid favorite, but making this recipe makes it everyone’s favorite. This side is perfect for a weeknight meal or to bring to your next holiday dinner.
Ingredients for Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese:
- Large Elbow Macaroni (uncooked)
- Salt and Pepper
- Salted Butter
- All Purpose Flour
- Whole Milk
- Shredded Colby Cheese
How to Make Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese:
- Step 1 – Heat Oven – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Step 2 – Cook Pasta – Add 4 cups of water and the salt to a large pot. Bring to a medium over medium high heat. Stir in the pasta and cook the pasta to al dente and then drain.
- Step 3 – Create Roux – In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to create a roux.
- Step 4 – Add Milk to thicken – Slowly whisk the milk into the roux whisking constantly. Continue to cook (whisking constantly) until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Step 5 – Stir in Cheese – Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese ½ cup at a time and stir until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Step 6 – Stir in Pasta – Once the cheese is melted, stir in the cooked pasta.
- Step 7 – Pour into prepare baking dish – Pour the pasta into a baking dish or a cast iron pan.
- Step 8 – Bake – Bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the pasta begin to brown.
- Step 9 – Serve and Enjoy – Remove from the oven. Let the Mac and cheese cool for 10-15 minutes. Then it’s ready to serve and enjoy.
Tips for The Best Macaroni and Cheese:
- Cheese – Make sure to grate your own cheese to make sure that the cheese sauce is creamy and packed with flavor. Pre Shredded cheese has added ingredients.
- Baking Mac and Cheese – We recommend baking the mac and cheese after combining the ingredients. This allows the top to extra crispy with golden brown edges. You can bake in a baking dish or a cast iron skillet.
- Cooked Macaroni – Do not over cook the macaroni. You want it to cook right at al dente as it will cook more in the oven.
- Melting Cheese – When adding in the cheese, make sure to stir constantly. This prevents the mixture from burning in the sauce pan.
- Milk – We recommend using whole milk when making this recipe. It helps to keep the texture creamy.
Why Make a Roux for Mac and Cheese?
Making a roux for mac and cheese helps to make it have a thicker texture. It is a combination of flour and butter that are melted together. Then add in water, broth or milk to thicken the consistency to mix in the mac and cheese ingredients.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese?
Mac and Cheese is a staple holiday meal but I also like making it throughout the year. It is delicious served as a side dish or you can add meat to make it a complete meal.
- Pork Chops
- Grilled Chicken
- See What to serve with Mac and Cheese for more ideas
Mac and Cheese Cracker Barrel Recipe Variations:
- Macaroni – When we make mac and cheese, we usually use elbow macaroni. But you can easily use other types of pasta.
- Cheese – Feel free to use other types of cheese in this recipe. Cracker Barrel only uses Colby cheese, but try Cheddar, Gruyere or Pepper Jack Cheese.
- Meat – For a complete meal idea, mix in some cooked meat. If you have leftover shredded chicken or diced add them to the mixture before baking.
- Vegetables – If you have leftover chopped vegetables, we like to sneak in a few to the mixture. Bell peppers, onions, or chopped broccoli are great options.
How to Store Leftovers:
Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. We like to store in individual containers to easily reheat for lunch the next day.
When ready to reheat, you can reheat in the microwave or in a sauce pan on the stovetop.
Print Recipe for Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese:
Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add 4 cups of water and the salt to a large pot. Bring to a medium over medium high heat. Stir in the pasta and cook the pasta to al dente and then drain.
- In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to create a roux.
- Slowly whisk the milk into the roux whisking constantly. Continue to cook (whisking constantly) until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese ½ cup at a time and stir until the cheese is melted and smooth.
- Once the cheese is melted, stir in the cooked pasta.
- Pour the pasta into a baking dish or a cast iron pan.
- Bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes until the edges of the pasta begin to brown.
- Remove from the oven. Let the Mac and cheese cool for 10-15 minutes. Then it’s ready to serve and enjoy!
Pin This Now to Remember It LaterPin Recipe
More Copycat Cracker Barrel Recipes:
- Cracker Barrel Pancakes
- Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
- Roast Beef Cracker Barrel Recipe
- Cracker Barrel Chicken Tenders