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This bacon mac and cheese is so creamy and delicious – no lack of cheese or bacon in it – my most luscious mac and cheese yet.
The bacon adds a definite kick of smokiness, crispiness, and flavor to the creamy, saucy mac and cheese.
This is a definite one-pot meal, including the macaroni. I have found that cooking the macaroni in chicken stock or broth REALLY enhances the flavors.
And you get to skip the draining step since you’re not using water, and you’re using just the right amount of broth to cook the pasta with a bit left over for juiciness.
The pasta soaks up the flavorful broth, making it more delicious than ever! (Tell me how much you love it in the comments below!)
Making Fabulous Bacon Mac and Cheese
You will cook your bacon first, and part of the bacon fat will be left in the pan to lightly saute your garlic. This is a fantastic base of flavor that you will built upon to create an amazing mac and cheese!
The next key to making this dish as tasty as possible is to cook the pasta in the chicken stock (or broth). As noted above, the chicken broth is measured precisely so you won’t need to drain, and the pasta will soak up the delicious chicken broth flavor.
So layer one of flavor is your bacon and garlic. Layer two of flavor is the chicken-broth-enhanced pasta. Layer three will be your cheeses, butter, and cream.
And then, layer four will be the bacon crumbles that you add at the end – YUM!
Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 2 tsp garlic (about 2 cloves), minced
- 4 slices bacon, meaty and thick cut
- 3 cups chicken stock or broth
- 2½ cups uncooked macaroni
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp salt, more to taste
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 4 ounces cream cheese (½ cup)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup milk or cream
- In Dutch oven, cook bacon for 5-10 minutes or until browned and crispy. Remove bacon from pan to a paper-towel-lined plate. Remove all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon fat from the pan.
- Turn heat to low and add garlic to the bacon fat in the pan. Cook 2 minutes.
- Turn heat up, and add broth, pasta, paprika, salt, and black pepper to the pan and bring almost to a boil. Lower heat to 3-4, cover, and cook 5 minutes.
- Stir mixture and cover again, turning heat down to low.
- Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Uncover and stir. (Macaroni should be done by this point and much of the liquid absorbed by the pasta.)
- Turn heat off. Add butter, cheddar cheese, and cream cheese. Stir and cover for 5 minutes (with heat still off).
- Uncover and stir until cheese is fully melted and blended. Add parmesan, cream/milk, and crumbled bacon. Stir until all is incorporated. Taste and add more salt if needed. Serve right away.
What if your macaroni and cheese with bacon is too dry
If you find that your mac and cheese comes out dry and not as creamy as you had hoped, you can always add more broth or cream. Watch your pot as the pasta is cooking, so it doesn’t overcook and boil out all the liquid.
If you lose some of the liquid because you didn’t cover the pot or for some other reason, just add more broth.
Don’t add cream until the end, as you don’t want milk products to boil (they will curdle and clump – instead of creating a smooth dish, it may get lumpy).
It’s perfectly fine to add more cream if you find it’s not as creamy as you like. Just don’t add so much that it becomes soupy. You want creamy and saucy – not runny.
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