Baked Mac and Cheese {Farmhouse Style}

Rich and delicious with four types of cheese this baked mac and cheese with heavy cream will leave you dreaming of more.

Plate full of the best baked mac and cheese with a fork

Mac and Cheese with Heavy Cream

There’s something special about a warm side dish of just out of the oven homemade mac and cheese. It is so amazing because the ingredients are rich and fresh. Freshly shredded cheeses mixed into a heavy cream-based roux is so decadent you’ll always remember it!

This mac and cheese with heavy cream and is a recipe adults love that kids enjoy too. It’s so hearty this macaroni can definitely be a main dish but just like our popular Creamy Crock Pot Mac and Cheese and Kielbasa Mac & Cheese it makes a great side dish too.

Cheese is the main ingredient in this pasta recipe. The exact combination of cheese honestly doesn’t really matter, but we have a few tips. You need to use at least one melty cheese like American or Gruyere. We love the more mild flavor of Gruyere cheese.

For the remaining cheese choose a variety of similar, but contrasting cheeses that you enjoy. Our favorite combination of cheese is sharp cheddar, Colby jack, Monterey jack and Gruyere.

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baking dish full of super cheesy farmhouse mac and cheese

Our Homemade macaroni is really rich and thick with heavy cream. The good news is adjustments can easily be made to this recipe. Use milk and a higher percentage of melty cheese for a creamier cheese sauce.

We have made mac and cheese with cream cheese before and it is good, but we prefer using yellow and orange shredded cheese. A cup of shredded cheese can easily be replaced with 8 ounces of cream cheese. Use very softened cream cheese and add cubes to the finished roux over medium heat just before adding in salt and pepper.

This farmhouse favorite recipe is one of the best because of all of the cheese. The amount of cheese can be decreased by a cup, but I would also decrease or substitute the heavy whipping cream for milk if you cut back on cheese.

Farmhouse Style Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

I like when the kids help me in the kitchen and they shred the cheese up for me. If I’m in a time crunch using bags of shredded cheese is fine, but for those special occasions where you want to go all-out freshly shredded cheese is the way to go.

Since we try to make cooking family meals a family affair this Farmhouse Style Baked Mac and Cheese recipe will often appear at birthday parties and special family meals. We often pair with Crock Pot Sloppy Joes with this pasta casserole and Air Fryer Broccoli. Then our Moist and Rich Chocolate Cake or Cream Puff Cake finish off a birthday party nicely.

Serving spoon in super cheesy homemade baked macaroni and cheese

This mac and cheese also goes great with our Crock Pot Chuck Roast or Marinated and Grilled Meat depending on the season.

Best Type of Pasta

The best type of pasta to use in baked mac and cheese is cavatappi or elbow macaroni. Elbow is easier for kids to eat since the pieces are smaller. We do tend to prefer cavatappi because there are more twists and turns for that delicious rich cheese sauce to get caught on and stuck in.

Let’s be real, the pasta tastes good, but it’s really just a transport vehicle for the cheese sauce!

Cavatappi mac and cheese on a fork

Macaroni and Cheese Topping Options

Panko bread crumbs is the best topping for mac and cheese, but crushed butter crackers, Italian bread crumbs and crushed cornflakes can also be used.

Mac and cheese flavors can easily be changed by adjusting what you top the casserole with.

Our family has been testing several versions of this recipe for a year and a half to find our favorite version! The easiest mac and cheese I’ve made is this No-Boil Pasta with Ham, but it just doesn’t have the same flavor as this one with so many rich ingredients.

My friend Mary loves to top her mac and cheese with pulled pork.

I enjoy sprinkling 3/4 of a cup of bacon bits or chopped bacon on top of the cheese with panko bread crumbs.

9x13 pan of homemade baked mac and cheese with heavy cream and panko breadcrumbs

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

Baked mac and cheese is best reheated slowly in the toaster oven or regular oven covered with foil to prevent drying out.

We absolutely enjoy reheated mac and cheese, but it does taste best out of the oven, so we try to plan the amount that we make accordingly.

How to Make the Best Baked Mac & Cheese

Prepare the pasta to be al dente or cook one minute less. Drain and pour into another bowl. Add 1/4 cup of butter to the pasta and stir to prevent sticking and add a rich flavor.

Measure out and shred cheeses and cheeses and set aside. Reserve 1 cup of cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top.

Four types of shredded cheese ready to make mac and cheese

Using the same saucepan used to cook pasta add remaining butter. Turn to medium heat and whisk in flour. Whisk often until the mixture cooks down, begins to thicken and starts to turn light brown.

While the roux is cooking I like to preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 9×13 lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

At this time slowly add milk and stir well. Add milk in intervals of 1/2 cup at a time stirring well after each addition.

Then stir in heavy whipping cream using the same method of adding 1/2 cup at a time and stirring well in between each addition.

Once the liquid is all stirred in, remove from heat and add salt, pepper and paprika.

After the pot is taken off the heat you will need to move fairly quickly to maintain enough heat to melt the cheese.

My favorite part is next – adding the cheese! Add cheese about 1 to 1 1/2 cups at a time. Stir well after each addition.

Once all but 1 cup of the cheddar cheese has been stirred in add the cooked and butter pasta and stir well.

The whisk can be a little tricky to clean out, so switch to a wooden spoon to make stirring easier. I like to keep using the whisk so that I can have a little snack

Pour the beautiful mixture into a baking dish. Sprinkle reserved cheddar cheese on top. Then sprinkle panko bread crumbs or other topping of choice on the dish.

Bake for 20 – 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly around the edges. Enjoy this beautiful Farmhouse style baked mac and cheese with people you love!

More Family Favorite Meals Ideas:

Farmhouse Stromboli is on our table at least once a month and everyone loves it! This semi-homemade recipe uses frozen bread dough to put a spin on everyone’s favorite pizza meal.

Creamy Pork Chop Casserole combines Swiss cheese, white wine, cream of chicken soup and herb seasoned stuffing with pork chops to make one of our family’s best comfort food recipes.

Cheesy Chicken Pasta Casserole has only 5 simple ingredients that stir together but have a depth of flavor that creates a very satisfying and enjoyable meal. 

Kielbasa and Sauerkraut is simple to make. Lightly browned Kielbasa served on a warm bed of sauerkraut is a great meal anytime of the year.

Printable Easy Baked Mac and Cheese Recipe

Rich and cheesy homemade mac and cheese in baking dish

Baked Mac and Cheese {Farmhouse Style}

Servings 12 servings
Author: Jennifer
Rich and delicious with 4 types of cheese and heavy cream this mac and cheese will leave you dreaming of more.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1/2 cup butter divided
  • 1 pound elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups monterey jack cheese shredded
  • 1 cups colby jack cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese shredded
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs


  • Make elbow pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box to be al dente. Drain and mix in 1/4 cup butter. Set aside.
  • Grate cheese and reserve one cup of cheddar cheese to sprinkle on the top.
  • In a hot sauce pan melt 1/4 cup butter. Turn heat to medium and add flour. Stir well. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes stirring or whisking constantly until flour cooks a little bit and looks grainy.
  • Slowly add millk, stirring or whisking often. Slowly add heavy cream whisking often. Cook over medium heat continuting to stir often until the mixture is pretty thick.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
  • Add 1 cup of cheese at a time and stir until melted. Continue adding cheese reserving 1 cup of cheddar to sprinkle on top.
  • Stir in cooked pasta and pour in a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese evenly over the top then sprinkle panko crumbs on top.
  • Bake in a 350°F oven for 20 to 30 minutes until cheese is bubbling around the edges and warmed through.
  • If desired place under broiler for 20 seconds to a minute (do not leave dish unattended) until the bread crumbs brown.


Calories: 567kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 23gFat: 36gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 643mgPotassium: 230mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1168IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 540mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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