Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese is creamy, buttery and topped with a cheesy crust that will melt your heart.
This Cracker Barrel mac and cheese recipe puts boxed macaroni to shame–and it’s so easy to make.
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Ahhh…macaroni and cheese, how I adore thee!
Loved by kids and always a family favorite, macaroni and cheese recipes have made their way to countless dinner tables since Mary Randolph’s recipe first appeared in The Virginia Housewife cookbook in 1824.
Although mac and cheese is certainly rooted in Italy, Mary Randolph gave the recipe a whole new life in America. Since then, the popular dish has appeared in thousands of cookbooks and restaurants.
Growing up, going to Cracker Barrel was always a family tradition any time we were traveling.
It’s a tradition I continued with my own kids because it’s a great place to stretch our legs and the menu has something for everyone.
I love the Southern home-style flair to their menu so much that I make copycat Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings at home when we aren’t traveling.
This got me to thinking that I need to make a baked mac and cheese like Cracker Barrel’s.
You’re going to love how creamy this easy, baked copycat Cracker Barrel macaroni and cheese is to make.
Want a pressure cooker version? Try my Instant Pot macaroni and cheese!
More Southern-Style Recipes You’ll Love:
- Southern Style Green Beans
- Doctored Up Jiffy Cornbread
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Instant Pot Cinnamon Apples
Fun Variations of Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese
Who doesn’t love Cracker Barrel Mac n Cheese? Even better is making some adjustments if you’d like to “fancy” it up a bit with these variations!
Once you boil the noodles, everything else is made, mixed and baked in a cast-iron skillet. The recipe is a pretty spot-on copycat, but you can certainly do some things to make it your own. Here are a few suggestions:
- Add garlic and onions. Saute garlic and onions in the skillet before adding in the ingredients to make the roux.
- Top it Off. Sprinkle the top of the cracker barrel mac n cheese with crushed up buttery crackers (like Ritz) or crumbled potato chips. Bake as directed and enjoy a crunchy topping.
- Make Individual Mac and Cheese. Divide the macaroni and cheese between small cast-iron skillets for a fun way to make individual portions of this Cracker Barrel mac and cheese recipe.
How to Make Copycat Cracker Barrel Macaroni and Cheese
It’s really easy to make this creamy baked mac and cheese recipe.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Elbow Macaroni
- Unsalted Butter
- Black Pepper
- Colby Cheese
How to Make It:
(Full printable recipe is available below)
Make the roux. First, you’ll boil the pasta (or cook the pasta in your Instant Pot). Then, you’ll melt butter in a cast iron skillet and whisk in the flour to make a roux.
Continue whisking and slowly add the milk until you have a creamy sauce with little to no lumps. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Add the macaroni and cheese. Next, you’ll add in the cheese and whisk until melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni until well combined.
Bake. Last, you’ll top with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven until the sauce is heated through and the cheese on top has melted.
Notes and Adaptations:
- You can add in some leftover ham if you’d like–simply chop or cube the ham and add it before baking. Perfect for the holidays!
- You can switch up the cheese if you’d like–try cheddar, white cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, etc.
- 16 oz dry elbow macaroni
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 cups shredded Colby cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cook the macaroni according to the package directions (alternatively, you can cook the pasta in your Instant Pot). Once cooked to al dente, drain the pasta and set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour to make a paste (also known as a roux).
- Slowly add in the milk, a little bit at a time, whisking constantly until no lumps of roux remain.
- Continue to stir, allowing the mixture to thicken. Add salt and pepper.
- Decrease the heat to low and add in two cups of shredded cheese, stirring until melted.
- Add the pasta to the skillet, stirring gently to coat with cheese sauce.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of the pasta. Transfer to the oven and bake uncovered for about 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges are turning golden-brown. Remove from oven to serve.
- Freshly shredded cheese melts much easier than store-bought shredded cheese. I always buy a block of cheese and use a box grater or food processor to shred it.
- Feel free to change up the variety of cheese you're using, if preferred.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 513Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 90mgSodium: 608mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 23g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is not guaranteed for accuracy.
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