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Beer & Bacon Mac and Cheese

 In Dinner/Supper, Lunch, Pasta

A silky beer and bacon-infused cheese sauce takes this mac and cheese up a notch. This recipe is perfect for entertaining or feeding a crowd.

Beer & Bacon Mac and cheese

Not much needs to be said for this Mac and cheese. Crispy bacon, beer and cheese all in one dish? Yes please!

Beer & Bacon Mac and cheese

This might seem like it’s ‘bloke-only’ food but I have to say, I loved this so much I had seconds and found myself picking at the left-overs all night. I like to make a huge amount of this as there never seems to be enough but also because I love (LOVE) left-over mac and cheese the next day. Re-heated with tons of chilli sauce, it’s one of my guilty pleasures in life.

Beer & Bacon Mac and cheese

Serve the mac and cheese with a zesty side salad and cold beers for a weeknight favourite revisited!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Beer & Bacon Mac 'n Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A silky beer and bacon-infused cheese sauce takes this mac and cheese up a notch. This recipe is perfect for entertaining or feeding a crowd.
Author:
Recipe type: Mac and cheese, macaroni, pasta, baked pasta
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
for the sauce
  • 500g bacon, diced
  • 150g butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 can beer (approximately 330ml)
  • 250ml milk
  • 250ml cream
  • 2-3 cups strong cheddar, grated
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
to assemble
  • 1kg cooked macaroni (reserve 2 cups of the cooking water)
  • 1 cup grated cheese mixed with 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c and grease a large oven-proof dish.
  2. Fry the bacon in a large pot until crisp and golden.
  3. Remove the bacon from the pot but leave the fat.
  4. Add the butter to the bacon fat and allow to melt before adding the flour.
  5. Stir and cook for 1 minute before slowly pouring in the beer whilst whisking. When all the beer has been incorporated, add the milk and cream and mix until the sauce is smooth. At this point you might need to add a little more liquid, I just add more milk but you can also use chicken stock if you prefer. The sauce needs to be the consistency of shop-bought custard. Take the pot off the heat and Add the cheese and bacon back to the sauce as well as the smoked paprika and nutmeg, and stir until the cheese has melted. Season to taste.
  6. When the sauce is cooked, mix it with the cooked macaroni. Add some of the reserved cooking water and mix well. The macaroni needs to be well covered by the sauce and will almost look like it's got too much sauce covering it. If it doesn't, add more of the water. If you wanted to be very decadent you could add more cream at this stage too.
  7. Transfer the macaroni into the prepared dish and cover with the breadcrumbs/cheese mixture.
  8. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Other mac and cheese recipes you will love:

Caprese mac and cheese

Caprese mac and cheese

Mac and cheese with Brussels sprouts and bacon

Mac & Cheese with brussels sprouts and bacon

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Alida Ryder
Being a general food freak has proven to be quite helpful in this career I've found myself in. Author of two cookbooks, photographer, food stylist. Mom to twins. Ex make-up and hair artist obsessed with beautiful clothes and spaces. I love a good G&T and I've been known to spend too much money on shoes.
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Showing 23 comments
  • Claudia
    Reply

    You never actually say when to put the paprika and nutmeg in. Just put mine in the oven realising this – hope it’s still okay! May want to refine the instructions though!

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Oh goodness, thanks so much for letting me know! I’ve amended the recipe!

  • Alida Ryder
    Reply

    Thanks for your lovely comment.

  • Sara
    Reply

    I just put this in the oven for a Thanksgiving gathering with my [new] in-laws tonight. Really hoping to “wow” with this dish; it sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  • Victoria
    Reply

    Hey there…planning to make this tomorrow – have a bunch of peppercorn white cheddar and looking to find good ways to use it – this looks fantastic! 🙂 … and while I *should* have a kitchen scale, I don’t…do you know how much dry macaroni is needed for 2.2 lbs cooked? Thanks!

  • Andy
    Reply

    I’ve got to say I made this for my room mate and I tonight. Turned out incredibly delicious. One quick note, I didn’t see the paprika / nutmeg step at all. I just added it in after the all the cheese and macaroni was ready to go in the baking dish. Definitely earned a “very good” from my roomie.

  • Samantha
    Reply

    This sounds amazing! Is there any way not to make this with beer, though? Or something to substitute for it?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Samantha, I would suggest you just replace with milk/chicken stock if you didn’t want to use the beer.

  • Racheln
    Reply

    This may be a silly question but can I feed this to my 2.5 yr old, would all the alcohol have cooked off?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Rachel, my kids ate it and LOVED it. All the alcohol cooks off but if you’re nervous, rather make your toddler their own little portion without the beer?

  • Kim
    Reply

    Alida, I just finished eating way too much of this mac and cheese. It encompasses all things good in life – pasta, cheese, bacon, and beer. It was INCREDIBLE. WOW. Luckily I have an enormous amount leftover to eat for days. I added onions and mushrooms, too, which was a really nice addition. THANKS!

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Kim, I’m SO glad you enjoyed it! 🙂 It really is my favourite mac and cheese at the moment!

  • charmaine
    Reply

    Excellent receipe – definitely the best mac and cheese we ever had.

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Wow Charmaine. Thanks for the lovely comment! Glad you liked it!

      • Charmaine
        Reply

        Your Mac and cheese is my all time favorite. How long in advance can u make it and keep it in the fridge before u bake it. I want to make it Monday and bake it Wednesday. Your website and receipes is awesome.

  • Rachel
    Reply

    Oh my goodness! I made this for my husband’s birthday and it was fabulous. I choose a lite beer but next time, I will go with an ipa. I mixed up a couple of cheese (provolone and american) and it was so good!

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Rachel, I’m so glad you and your husband liked it!

  • Julia {The Roasted Root}
    Reply

    Homemade mac and cheese is fun and deeelicious! I’ve never put bacon in my mac and I can’t for the life of me figure out why because this is pure genius! Always looking for someone else’s take on the mac and I love yours!

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      Thanks for the lovely comment Julia. I would love to hear what you think once you’ve tried it!

  • Sal
    Reply

    Oh my word! this sounds amazing!!!

    As a matter of interest, what beer did you use?

    • Alida Ryder
      Reply

      I used a South African lager called Castle Lite. 🙂

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