Jess Pryles

Individual Mac N Cheese Cups (with bacon!)

individual mac n cheese cups
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Enjoy the glorious crispy edges and gooey centres of these bacon-laden individual Mac N Cheese cups.

I believe texture is an underrated quality in food. Would we like queso as much without the crunch of a tortilla chip delivery system? Would chicken fried steak be as satisfying with a soft crust?  The experience of crunch leading to soft goodness heightens the enjoyment of food. With this in mind, these mac’n’cheese cups make perfect sense. The edges of the noodles get all firm and crispy, while the interior of the cup retains its gooey, cheesy goodness.

The cup system has other benefits, too. You can pile these M&C “pucks” on a plate as an appetizer and eat them with your hands, which makes them great for a make-in-advance-and-warm-in-the-smoker tailgate option, too. The individual servings also make for a nice neat side dish if you’re doing a plated dinner, too. Just be prepared to possibly sneak an extra

When making these, I asked my friend “do you reckon I should add in bacon?”. She looked at me with her head cocked to the side. “Did you really just ask me that?!”, she asked with a bewildered tone. I realise it was both a silly and redundant question. And that’s how I came to include bacon in the recipe. Sure, you could leave it out if you want to, but why would you?

I use shell pasta for any and all mac n cheeses. Maybe it’s just psychosomatic, but I honestly feel they taste better. You could use any funky-shaped noodles for these, spirals would work great too.

Recipe after the pics:

crispy edged baked mac and cheese

gooey ultimate mac n cheese best recipe shell

mac n cheese cups with bacon

Print Recipe

Individual Mac N Cheese Cups (with bacon!)

Makes 12 cups

Ingredients

  • 16oz uncooked shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1.5 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated gouda
  • 1 cup grated gruyere
  • 1 cup grated cheddar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup cooked chopped bacon
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • spray oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Boil pasta in salted water until just al dente, then drain. It will continue to cook in the oven, so ensure it's not overboiled at this stage.

  3. Using the same pot, melt butter, then whisk in flour to create a roux. Cook 2-4 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the milk, whisking constantly, then add cheeses and stir until melted. Turn heat down to medium and continue to stir, cooking for 5-6 minutes while mixture thickens slightly. Stir in pepper, cayenne, mustard and cooked pasta.

  4. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan lightly with oil, and sprinkle breadcrumbs at the bottom of each cup. Spoon the mac n cheese mixture into the cup to fill, then top each with the cooked bacon pieces.

  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

By Jess Pryles

Jess Pryles is a full fledged Hardcore Carnivore. She’s a cook, writer, and TV personality specializing in red meat, with penchant for grilling and bourbon. She's also a respected authority on Texas & competition style barbecue. Born in Australia, she now resides in Austin, Texas.

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