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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Incredibly decadent baked macaroni and cheese made with three cheeses and bacon. Take your baked mac and cheese to the next level!

Baked macaroni and cheese in a red casserole dish next to a serving spoon

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Don’t you just love new cookbooks?

Let’s Brunch by Belinda Smith-Sullivan is a cookbook so appealing that it will tempt you to cook everything in it.

Cover of Let's Brunch cookbook by Belinda Smith-Sullivan

Here’s just a few of the other recipes.  (There are over 100 in the book.)

  • Ramp Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Panettone Grand Marnier French Toast
  • Croque Madame
  • Smoked Salmon Blinis
  • Spinach and Goat Cheese Eggs Florentine with Hollandaise Sauce
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Scallops
  • Southern-Style Succotash
  • Blackened Catfish on Herb Grits with Pineapple Relish
  • Red Velvet and Pecan Waffles with Fried Chicken
  • Black Walnut-Cardamom Pound Cake
  • Rum-Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie
  • Mint Julep
  • Chef Belinda’s Creole Mary

Don’t they look scrumptious?

I’m sharing the brunch macaroni and cheese recipe.  The author is from South Carolina, so I consider this to be a Southern baked macaroni and cheese recipe.  And, really, despite being called a “brunch” recipe, it’s just as good anytime of day—lunch, dinner, supper, or midnight snack.

Check out this review from Wisconsin Public Radio to try three more recipes from this cookbook!

Got leftover macaroni?  Make this Southern Ham Macaroni Salad.

Baked macaroni and cheese in a red casserole dish next to a serving spoon
5 from 10 votes

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Incredibly decadent baked macaroni and cheese made with three cheeses and bacon. Take your baked mac and cheese to the next level!

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Main Dish
Cuisine American, American Southern
Keyword bacon, casserole, cheese, pasta
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 1149 kcal
Author Belinda Smith-Sullivan


  • 1 pound cavatappi or elbow pasta
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 large clove garlic smashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 onion studded with 1 whole clove
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 pound thick-sliced bacon cut crosswise into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded and small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups grated aged Gouda cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil divided
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large pot of salted water, cook pasta until al dente, 5–7 minutes. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons butter. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, add milk, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, onion with clove, and mustard. Warm over medium-low heat until milk starts to steam, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside, and let the flavors infuse.
  3. To a medium skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Sauté jalapeño and bell pepper until soft. Remove and transfer to another paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Strain the milk, discarding the solids. To a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, add remaining butter and flour. Whisk for 3–4 minutes. Do not let brown.
  5. Whisk the milk into the roux to avoid lumps. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cheddar and Gouda and stir until melted then add the cooked pasta, peppers, half of the bacon, and half of the basil, stirring to thoroughly combine. You can bake this in the skillet, or transfer mixture to a casserole dish.
  6. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, breadcrumbs, and remaining basil and sprinkle over the top along with remaining bacon. Bake for 25–30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1149 Calories from Fat 684
% Daily Value*
Fat 76g117%
Saturated Fat 41g256%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 222mg74%
Sodium 1547mg67%
Potassium 614mg18%
Carbohydrates 60g20%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 55g110%
Vitamin A 1936IU39%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Calcium 1164mg116%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Recipe and photo reprinted from Let’s Brunch by Belinda Smith-Sullivan.  Photograph by Susan Barnson Hayward.  Gibbs Smith/September 2020. 

Recipe Rating


Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Thanks For Sharing this amazing recipe. My family loved it. I will be sharing this recipe with my friends. Hope the will like it.

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorites and your version looks so yummy!


Sunday 31st of January 2021

This is exactly what I want for my Sunday dinner! It looks so inviting!

Mama Maggie's Kitchen

Sunday 31st of January 2021

This Baked Macaroni and Cheese is making my tummy growl! This looks really delicious!


Saturday 30th of January 2021

This looks a lot like the macaroni and cheese my mom used to cook. Sadly, she did think to add bacon to it, I would have loved it that way!