Freezable Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 40 mins

This recipe for the kid-friendly pasta bake lets you freeze individual portions and bake them off whenever you need them.


  • 1 pound short pasta, such as cavatappi or macaroni

  • Coarse salt

  • 6 tablespoons butter

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups milk

  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 cups shredded (12 ounces) sharp white cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup finely grated (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese

  • 3 cups very coarse fresh breadcrumbs


  1. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water 1 to 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain, rinse with cool water, and return to pot.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour; cook, whisking, 1 minute. Add milk, cayenne, nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons salt; bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in cheeses until smooth. Pour over pasta; toss to coat. Divide among baking dishes.

  3. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; toss with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over pasta. Cover tightly with plastic wrap; freeze up to 3 months.

  4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place frozen dishes on a baking sheet; remove plastic. Cover with foil. Bake until bubbling, 60 to 70 minutes for large dishes, 40 to 50 minutes for small. Remove foil; continue baking until golden, 5 to 10 minutes more.


Cook's Notes

If you'd like to cook and serve this meal immediately (rather than freezing it), bake uncovered until golden and bubbling, 20 to 30 minutes. You can also freeze portions now and bake them as needed for quick weeknight meals.

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