Sheet pan mac n cheese means an almost equal ratio of crispy crunchy topping to tender pasta. Is there anything better?
I am not a pasta person, but I do love mac n cheese, and have tried it dozens of ways. Baked, creamy, skipping the pre-boil. It’s almost always good, but my favorite part of the dish is the crunchy topping. The more browned cheesiness, the better, at least in my book. When you fill a deep casserole dish and then top it, you get less topping and more pasta. Not bad, but want more topping?
That’s where sheet pan mac n cheese comes in. It’s my favorite way to make mac n cheese now. The specific recipe doesn’t even matter — although this one is pretty easy and delicious. It’s a basic bechamel cheese sauce with standard cheddar. Nothing fancy. Oh, except the topping. Breadcrumbs are standard, but this time, I used Cheez Its. Yes, those cheesy orange crackers that are everyone’s favorite junk food. Well, at least mine. You can top them with breadcrumbs or tortilla chips or nuts or whatever, but I recommend Cheez Its.
This is a great dish to bring to a holiday meal or potluck, because everyone loves mac n cheese.
Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces macaroni penne, or shell pasta
- 3 tablespoons butter divided
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon Colima Sea Salt
- 3 cups milk
- 1 pound shredded cheddar divided
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan divided
- 1/2 cup crushed Cheez Its or breadcrumbs
- Cook the pasta until al dente and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add the flour mustard powder, and salt. Cook until flour is golden in color.
- Add the milk and whisk until boiling. Boil for a minute and turn off heat.
- Add half the cheddar and half the Parmesan and stir until melted. Stir in the cooked pasta.
- Line a 9x13 sheet pan with parchment or grease with a bit of butter. Spread the pasta on the pan.
- Combine the remaining cheddar and Parmesan and and sprinkle over the macaroni.
- Bake for 20 minutes until cheese is bubbly.
- While the macaroni is baking, melt the remaining butter and toss with the Cheez Its.
- Sprinkle over the macaroni and continue baking until pasta is as browned and bubbly as you like.
- Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.