Calling all mac and cheese lovers! Get ready to dive into a creamy, indulgent bowl of homemade goodness with our Cast Iron Mac and Cheese recipe. This classic dish is cooked to perfection in a trusty cast iron skillet, giving it that irresistible crispy texture on top. In just a few simple steps, you'll be able to create a comfort food masterpiece that will have your taste buds doing a happy dance.
Today, I have a mouthwatering treat in store for you that's sure to satisfy your cheesy cravings. Cast iron skillet mac and cheese is a classic dish with a twist that'll have you coming back for seconds (or maybe even thirds).
Now, why the cast iron skillet, you ask?
Well, my friends, using this trusty kitchen companion is the secret to achieving that coveted crunchy crust on top while keeping the mac and cheese ooey-gooey and creamy on the inside. It's like a match made in culinary heaven!
So, grab your favorite cast iron skillet, gather these simple ingredients, and get ready to indulge in a cheesy masterpiece that'll have your family and friends begging for the recipe.
- Elbow Macaroni: The classic choice for mac and cheese, these small curved tubes are perfect for capturing all that creamy sauce. If you're feeling adventurous, you can swap them out for other pasta shapes like shells or cavatappi. Gluten-free noodles may be used.
- Unsalted Butter: If you prefer a salted butter flavor, go ahead and use it. Just keep in mind that you may want to adjust the amount of added salt accordingly.
- All-Purpose Flour: The flour acts as a thickening agent to make the roux for the cheese sauce. If you have dietary restrictions, you can use a gluten-free flour blend instead.
- Whole Milk: If you're looking for a lighter option, you can use reduced-fat milk, but keep in mind that the sauce may be slightly less creamy. You could also use heavy cream or half and half.
- Cheddar Cheese: Feel free to experiment with other types of cheese like Gruyere or Pepper Jack to add your own twist.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Known for its stretchiness and mild flavor, mozzarella blends beautifully with the cheddar to create a smooth and gooey texture. You can substitute it with provolone, monterey jack or fontina if you prefer.
- Swiss Cheese: With its nutty and slightly sweet flavor, Swiss cheese adds depth to the dish. Gruyere cheese could be an excellent substitute.
- Salt and Pepper: Adjust the amount to your liking.
- Cayenne Pepper: Feel free to skip it if you prefer your mac and cheese mild. A teaspoon of smoked paprika or dry mustard could be used as well.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: Try using seasoned bread crumbs or crushed crackers if you don’t have panko.
- Parmesan Cheese: Make sure to use freshly grated parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
- Butter: Mixing butter into topping helps to achieve that beautiful golden brown color.
Looking for more Mac and Cheese Inspiration? Don't miss our Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese, Ninja Foodi Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese with Breadcrumbs, Veggie Mac and Cheese, Air Fryer Mac and Cheese, and Crockpot Mac and Cheese.
Step by Step Instructions
For the full recipe with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
🧀 Tips for Cast Iron Baked Mac and Cheese 🧀
- Don't be afraid to get creative with your cheeses in this mac and cheese skillet! Mix and match different varieties like cheddar, Gruyere, or even some smoked gouda for a flavor explosion.
- Want to add a little extra oomph? Try stirring in some cooked bacon, sautéed onions, or even some diced jalapeños for a spicy kick.
- Let your cast iron mac and cheese cool for a few minutes before diving in. It'll be piping hot straight out of the oven, and nobody wants to burn their tongue on gooey cheesy goodness (as tempting as it may be!).
- Leftovers? No problem. Reheat your cast iron mac and cheese in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes. It'll bring back that crispy topping and gooey center, making it just as delicious as the first time around.
More Skillet Recipes to Try
- Crispy and Golden: Cast Iron Cornbread - This classic recipe delivers a perfectly moist and slightly sweet cornbread with a deliciously crisp and golden crust.
- Sweet and Spiced: Gluten Free Apple Crisp - Indulge in the warm and comforting flavors of fall with this gluten-free apple crisp, featuring tender apples, a buttery crumble topping, and a hint of cinnamon.
- Fresh and Flavorful: Skillet Green Beans - Elevate your side dish game with these skillet green beans, sautéed to perfection with garlic, lemon zest, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
- Veggie Delight: Skillet Black Bean Tacos - Packed with protein and bursting with flavor, these skillet black bean tacos are a vegetarian delight, filled with seasoned black beans, fresh veggies, and a zesty lime crema.
Baked Cast Iron Mac and Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow noodles
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter melted and cooled slightly
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, reducing the cooking time by 1 minute. Drain.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until lightly browned about 2 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the milk, whisking to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low. Stir in the cheeses, and cook until the cheese melts.
- Stir in the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Add the noodles and toss to coat.
- In a small bowl stir together the panko, parmesan, and butter. Sprinkle on top of the pasta.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly.