Easy Penne Mac and Cheese Recipe

Do you love mac and cheese but want something a bit different than the classic version? Then this one-pot creamy penne mac and cheese recipe is for you! This cheesy, creamy pasta dish is simple to make, yet so delicious. So get ready to satisfy your craving for comfort food with this easy mac and cheese recipe.

What You’ll Need:

To make this penne mac and cheese, you will need 1 1/2 cups of uncooked penne pasta, 1/4 cup of butter, 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and a generous pinch of nutmeg.

What is the best noodle for mac and cheese?

The most common noodle for mac and cheese is elbow macaroni, as it holds up well to the sauce. We chose Penne since its shape allows it to absorb more of the creamy cheesy sauce. Technically, you can use any type of pasta noodle for mac and cheese but the best type of noodles are hollow noodles like elbow macaroni, penne, shells, or cavatappi.

What cheeses go best together for mac and cheese?

A great combination for mac and cheese is cheddar and Parmesan. The sharpness of the cheddar balances out the rich, nutty flavor of the Parmesan cheese. I recommend using high-quality grated Parmesan cheese for the best flavor profile. Other cheeses that are great for mac and cheese include mozzarella, Gruyere, Gouda, and fontina.

Instructions for making this penne mac and cheese recipe:

Add the penne pasta to a pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.


Melt butter and add the flour to the pot and stir continuously until combined with no lumps remaining (about one minute).

Slowly add in the milk while stirring continuously. Then, add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Then, slowly add in the cheddar cheese while stirring continuously until melted.

Stir everything together until all ingredients are combined evenly throughout.

Mix breadcrumbs, melted butter, and Parmesan cheese and spread evenly over the penne and cheese casserole.

Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!

This baked penne mac and cheese recipe is the perfect way to satisfy your craving for comfort food.

Penne Mac and Cheese

Recipe by PantrezeCourse: Main DishCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




Total time




  • 1 1/2 cups penne

  • Cheese Sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

  • Breadcrumb Topping
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 2 tbsp butter

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated


  • Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  • In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil.
  • Add 1 1/2 cups penne noodles to boiling water, stir, and cook for 9-10 minutes or until al dente or desired doneness.
  • Drain the macaroni and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt ¼ cup butter or margarine.
  • Whisk in ¼ cup all-purpose flour until blended and cook for a minute, then slowly add 1 1/2 cups milk while constantly whisking until incorporated and thickened to desired texture.
  • Turn heat to low and add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Pour the cooked penne into the cheese sauce and mix together until all noodles are coated in sauce evenly throughout the pan.
  • Pour noodles and sauce into a 9×13-inch baking dish (or any 2-liter baking dish) sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of bread crumbs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or margarine and 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. Mix together until incorporated. Sprinkle breadcrumb topping evenly over top of the penne and cheese mixture forming an even layer of topping on your penny and cheese baking dish.
  • Place on the center rack of the preheated oven for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven once finished baking, and cool slightly before serving!

Recipe Video

This one-pot penne mac and cheese recipe is perfect when you want something comforting yet different from traditional macaroni and cheese dishes. In just about 30 minutes you can have an incredibly tasty meal on your table that everyone will love! If you’re looking for an easy dinner option that won’t break your budget, give this recipe a try tonight – you won’t regret it! Bon Appetit! If this is the best penne mac and cheese recipe you’ve ever made or tasted, let us know in the comments!

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