Beefy Baked Macaroni and Cheese: A Hearty Main Dish

 Beefy Baked Mac & Cheese

What kid doesn’t love macaroni and cheese?

All of mine do, but I’m not excited about the boxed stuff, even the organic brands. I’ve tried several different from-scratch variations, both stovetop and baked, with varying levels of success.

I recently came up with this baked version with ground beef added. I first made it without the meat, just as a side dish, and everyone loved it, so I wondered if I could make it a complete main dish.

Sure enough, it turned out delicious!

Since then, it’s been added to our regular meal rotation, and is equally loved by everyone in the house: adults, teens, and kids. It’s very hearty and filling! It’s also not complicated to make. 🙂

Beefy Baked Macaroni and Cheese


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (I like Tinkyada for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 lb ground beef, browned
  • 6 tbsp butter, divided
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder or flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 5 cups (or about 12 oz) sharp chedder cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste (I use Real Salt)
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup homemade sourdough bread crumbs (or panko bread crumbs)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Cook the pasta according to directions, to al dente.
  3. While the pasta cooks, melt 3 tbsp of the butter in a stockpot. Whisk in the arrowroot and mustard, stir for a couple of minutes and make sure there are no lumps.
  4. Add the paprika and onion and toss well to coat with the mixture, letting it sauté for another couple of minutes.
  5. Stir in the milk and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for ten minutes.
  6. Temper in the egg. (Need directions for tempering an egg? Click here.)
  7. Stir in 3/4 of cheese, continue stirring until melted and smooth.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Fold in ground beef and macaroni, pour into a 9×13 pan.
  10. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a small skillet, toss bread crumbs to coat.
  11. Top the dish with the remaining shredded cheese and the bread crumbs.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes, let rest five minutes before serving.

(If you’d like the more traditional “stovetop” mac ‘n cheese, just skip the last three steps and serve it straight out of the pot without baking!)

This is comfort food at it’s best! I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Linked with Nomday Monday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday, Titus 2 Tuesday, Titus 2sday, Growing Homemakers, Hip Homeschool Hop.

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