This easy baked mac and cheese is made in a cast iron skillet and does not require making a bechamel sauce! It's so simple to make and is the perfect balance of creaminess and cheesy goodness.
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: baked shells and cheese, best baked mac and cheese, cast iron skillet mac and cheese, easy mac and cheese recipe, mac and cheese
Author: Whitney Reist | Sweet Cayenne
10'' cast iron skillet
8ouncesdried shell pasta
2tablespoonssalted butter, cut into cubes, plus more for the dish
4ouncespepper jack cheese, shredded
4ouncessharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4ouncespart-skim mozzarella, shredded
1can(12 ounces) whole evaporated milk
½teaspoondry mustard powder
2teaspoonshot sauce (such as Louisiana)
Preheat the oven to 375℉. Butter the inside of a 10’’ cast iron skillet. Set aside.
Cook noodles according to the package instructions until just under al dente (use the lower end of the cooking time). Drain, then transfer to a bowl. Toss with cubes of butter until butter is melted.
While the noodles are cooking, grate the cheeses with a box grater or the grating attachment disk of a food processor.
In a blender, combine the eggs, milk, paprika, salt, pepper, mustard powder, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Set aside.
Layer cooked noodles with a blend of cheese (pepper jack, cheddar, mozzarella). Layer back and forth, starting with noodles and ending with cheese. You should have two layers of each in a standard 10’’ cast iron skillet.
Pour the milk mixture on the noodles. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and bake 10 minutes more until brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving and enjoying!
This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 3 quart enameled cast iron pot to serve 8-12 people. Simply double the ingredients and layer into a larger dish. If using a 3-quart Dutch oven, you will have four layers of shells and cheese. Alternatively, you can reduce the recipe ingredients by ½ to serve 2-4 people.
Make smoked mac and cheese: bake the mac and cheese on a grill or smoker heated to medium heat (350-375℉). Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.