This recipe for bacon mac and cheese features corkscrew pasta, a creamy, cheesy sauce, and crisp, smoky bacon. It's perfect as a side dish and also hearty enough to be a standalone meal.
Everyone loves macaroni and cheese, and adding bacon to it gives it a major flavor upgrade! I love this bacon mac and cheese recipe because it's delicious, packed with protein, budget-friendly, and can easily feed a crowd. It also makes great leftovers!
Ingredients for Bacon Mac and Cheese:
- Pasta: I used a corkscrew pasta called cellentani or Cavatappi , which can be found in the pasta aisle at most grocery stores. I like it because it's thicker and able to hold more of the cheesy sauce than traditional elbow pasta.
- Bacon: I used Black Label original bacon but any kind you want to use is fine.
- Cornstarch: I prefer using cornstarch over flour because it's a stronger thickener, meaning you don't need to use as much to get a really thick sauce.
- Salt: Just a little bit since there's already a good amount of salt in the bacon and the cheese.
- Milk: I find whole milk to be best for the creamiest sauce, but you can also use low-fat milk or half & half.
- Cheese: Cheddar cheese is most common for macaroni and cheese. For the best flavor, I recommend using 2-4 different types of cheese. Any cheese that melts well will work, such as Monterey Jack, Colby, Gruyère, Asiago, Mozzarella, Gouda, Fontina, Provolone, or Havarti.
- Sour cream: Sour cream just adds another flavor and texture element that enhances the overall dish.
- Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley, to garnish.
How to Make Bacon Macaroni and Cheese:
Step one: Start by cooking the pasta according to the package directions. Make sure to add salt to your boiling water to give the pasta flavor.
Step two: Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and cook in a large pot until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside. Make a paste by mixing in the cornstarch and salt with the rendered bacon grease. Cook and stir occasionally until the cornstarch is browned. Pour in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook over medium heat until thickened.
Step three: Stir in the sour cream and shredded cheese. Cook over low heat until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the bacon and the cooked and drained pasta until evenly coated. I like to save some of the cooked bacon to use as a garnish. Serve warm and enjoy!
- Always use block-style cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses have anti-clumping starches added to them which make them not melt as well.
- If the pasta sits too long it will start to stick together. To fix it quickly rinse it with cold water.
- Macaroni & cheese is always best served right away. It shouldn't be left out for more than a couple of hours. You can reheat individual bowls in the microwave or bake in an oven-safe dish at 350° for 25 minutes.
More Cheesy Recipes You'll Love:
Bacon Mac and Cheese
- 1 16 oz. box cellentani or elbow pasta
- 10 slices bacon
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 and ½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 cups cheddar cheese* (8 oz.), block-style, shredded
- 2 cups Monterey Jack cheese* (4 oz.), block-style, shredded
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Cut the bacon into bite-size pieces and cook in a large pot over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Make a roux (thickening paste) by mixing the cornstarch and salt with the rendered bacon grease. Cook and stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, simmer and stir until slightly thickened. About 10 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and stir in the sour cream and shredded cheeses until melted and smooth.
- Stir the drained pasta into the cheese sauce until evenly coated. Stir in the cooked bacon. I like to reserve some of the cooked bacon to use as a topping. Serve warm, garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.
- Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.