Ina Garten’s Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese

Ina Garten’s grown up bacon mac and cheese is not your ordinary macaroni and cheese! It’s loaded with a rich, creamy cheese sauce that is made from 3 types of cheese! The crispy bacon mixed in adds flavor and texture to this grown up comfort food.

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Mac and cheese lovers of the world, unite!  This easy, cheesy dinner is easily the most indulgent mac and cheese that you’ll ever eat!

Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe - This is pure comfort food with a cheese sauce made from FOUR cheeses! Get the recipe from @itsyummi

It’s not a secret that I’m a huge fan of food and cooking shows.  I plant myself on the couch nightly so that my favorite chefs can teach me their cooking secrets.  I learn the methods necessary to roast the world’s juiciest turkey and create a succulent stew.

Many of my friends sit down to watch episodes of Real Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy, while I watch stars like Ina Garten.  I love watching Ina create goodness in her kitchen.  She’s down to earth, elegant, and incredibly talented.

Basically, Ina is the polar opposite of me.  You know that opposites attract, right? The Barefoot Contessa website is a joy to visit, and I’m always excited to try Ina’s recipes.

I’m a comfort food junkie, so when I saw Ina Garten’s Grown Up Mac and Cheese recipe  on a recent visit, I had to make it!

I’m sure that kids will enjoy a bowl of this comfort food, but it’s definitely not a taste you’ll get from a blue box.

Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe - This is pure comfort food with a cheese sauce made from FOUR cheeses! Get the recipe from @itsyummi

Ina’s recipe starts with a basic bechamel sauce, kicked up with a rich blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyère cheeses. It’s even more grown up with the addition of fresh tomatoes and homemade bread crumbs on the top.  It sounds delightful in its own right, but good tomatoes are hard to come by right now. I had to find an acceptable substitute.

When it’s possible, I never turn down opportunities to use bacon, and kids, this was a possible moment!  In addition to bacon, I added more cheese. I used a white cheddar and Gruyère blend, but then I took the sauce to a sophisticated level. The third cheese into the pot is crumbled Blue Cheese, and for even more creaminess, a couple of ounces of cream cheese.  Four cheeses? Oh, yes I did!

What?  You’ve never seen a Wisconsinite doing what she does best?

Come on.  You know you need to have Ina Garten’s grown up mac and cheese in your mouth.

5.0 rating
1 reviews

Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 15 min Cook Time 20 min Yields 6-8

This mac and cheese isn't kid stuff from a blue box, but your kids will love it! It's loaded with 4 cheeses and bacon. It's baked macaroni and cheese made with grown ups in mind!


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni (or small pasta shape of your choosing)
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) milk
  • 4 ounces (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 8 ounces white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces crisply cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Add enough salt to make the water taste "like the sea". Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well in a colander.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the milk over medium heat in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. Melt 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) of butter in a large (4-quart) pot and add the flour, stirring to create a roux. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Slowly whisk the hot milk into the roux and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened and smooth. Turn heat to low and add all cheeses, crumbled bacon, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
  4. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the bread crumbs are browned on the top.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa's Grown Up Mac & Cheese , by Ina Garten

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Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe - This is pure comfort food with a cheese sauce made from FOUR cheeses! Get the recipe from @itsyummi
Grown Up Bacon Mac & Cheese from


Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese Recipe - This is pure comfort food!

39 Replies to "Ina Garten's Grown Up Bacon Mac and Cheese"

  • comment-avatar
    Eileen December 16, 2017 (6:44 pm)

    I need to br this to an office party. Do you think it would cook well in a crock pot instead of the oven?

    • comment-avatar
      Becca December 18, 2017 (10:34 am)

      Hi Eileen,
      The mac and cheese recipe as written won’t work very well being cooked in a slow cooker because of the flour that’s used. When you slow cook foods with flour, they can get very gummy. That being said, you have two options that I can think of. You could make the mac and cheese on the stove top and just reheat it on low heat in the slow cooker, OR you could try to adapt my recipe for the slow cooker, by using this slow cooker mac and cheese recipe:
      Good luck and Merry Christmas!

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    • comment-avatar
      Chef Becca March 7, 2014 (9:03 am)

      Thank you so much, Karen! I really appreciate you letting me know about the food facts, too. I hate to think that I’m boring people 😉

  • Baked Shrimp Scampi #SundaySupper - The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen February 6, 2014 (3:46 pm)

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  • comment-avatar
    Anita at Hungry Couple December 10, 2012 (11:26 pm)

    I share your admiration for Ina and this mac & cheese looks over the top amazing!

  • comment-avatar
    Susan December 6, 2012 (11:31 am)

    I LOVE Ina’s Mac and Cheese. So good. So decadent! Welcome to the group!

  • comment-avatar
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom December 5, 2012 (1:40 am)

    White cheddar, Gruyère and cream cheese? Oh my! I think I am in love!! Love this!! 🙂 Looks fabulous!

  • comment-avatar
    Lyn @LovelyPantry December 4, 2012 (4:06 pm)

    For the love of CHEESE! I’m drooling! Ina always impresses me with her recipes. I’m so getting her cookbook this christmas. Oh, I have never watched Greys Anatomy or any of the Housewives for that matter. LOL! Welcome to #SundaySupper!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 4, 2012 (4:08 pm)

      I agree, Lyn… I love Ina to pieces and I’ve never been disappointed with any of her recipes. Also, I’m thrilled to know that I’m not the only woman in the universe who’s never seen one of those shows! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Family Foodie December 3, 2012 (4:03 pm)

    I am so honored that you joined us Around the Family Table for #SundaySupper this week. I love this recipe and can’t wait to try it. I bet my family will love!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 3, 2012 (9:20 pm)

      I had a great time with the #SundaySupper! I hope you enjoy the mac & cheese. It was SO good!

  • comment-avatar
    Desiree Schleif December 3, 2012 (11:19 am)

    YUM! Bacon and Cheese=Amazing! Gotta try this.

  • comment-avatar
    Sarah December 3, 2012 (9:24 am)

    Ina is so great at teaching us the basics of cooking. I love here q & a portion of the show. She makes everything look so easy and her recipes are easy to follow. This grown up mac and cheese looks absolutely sinful. I know how good it is because I’ve made it myself too. 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 3, 2012 (9:25 am)

      She really does making learning to cook a joy, doesn’t she? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Laura Hunter | Small Wallet Big Appetite December 3, 2012 (4:34 am)

    I am afraid that mac and cheese is my ultimate weakness and this recipe just made my weakness even worse. I swear I can taste it just looking at the photo.

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 3, 2012 (6:34 am)

      Welcome to my mac & cheese addicted world, Laura! Grab a fork and dig in to my oversized bowl 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Martin D. Redmond December 3, 2012 (12:03 am)

    I’ve heard about this recipe for years! I must try this! Thanks for sharing!

  • comment-avatar
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips December 2, 2012 (9:16 pm)

    Oh, Becca, I am DYING! Love the addition of blue cheese!!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (9:21 pm)

      No noooo….don’t die!! Eat some of this instead! 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen December 2, 2012 (3:22 pm)

    This recipe has all the right cheeses. It´s just amazing and your pics are wonderful! Ina´s recipes just don´t dissapoint. Welcome to the group!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (3:24 pm)

      Thanks so much, Paula!

  • comment-avatar
    Jen @JuanitasCocina December 2, 2012 (2:49 pm)

    The only thing that could make macaroni and cheese better is bacon…and Ina. YUMMMM!

  • comment-avatar
    diabeticFoodie December 2, 2012 (2:30 pm)

    Love Ina! I don’t eat much mac & cheese these days, but if I did, it would be this version.

  • comment-avatar
    Tammi @ Momma's Meals December 2, 2012 (12:18 pm)

    I love Ina too!! She just seems like someone I could hug and love LOL. Oh and anything with bacon in it, instant love for me!! Thanks for sharing and welcome to #SundaySupper!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (3:26 pm)

      Tammi, I couldn’t agree more! Ina seems SO lovable! Thanks for hosting this week and for the warm #SundaySupper welcome 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Tara December 2, 2012 (12:11 pm)

    Now that is my kind of mac and cheese!! Love, love, love Ina!!

  • comment-avatar
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts December 2, 2012 (11:08 am)

    Welcome to #SS, I missed making the rounds last week 🙁
    Ina really does know how to kick up a dish, this mac n’ cheese looks incredible!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (11:12 am)

      Thanks, Erin! I look forward to making my rounds, too!

  • comment-avatar
    Renee December 2, 2012 (10:48 am)

    Welcome to #SundaySupper and glad you joined in with us today! Love the recipe. I’m a fan of Ina and have found her recipes to be great and reliable.

  • comment-avatar
    Roxanne December 2, 2012 (10:17 am)

    My family LOVES Mac n Cheese. Can’t wait to make this!!

  • comment-avatar
    Katie December 2, 2012 (9:43 am)

    Droooool. I am pretty sure that bacon makes EVERYTHING better…and adding it to homemade mac and cheese…so delish!

  • comment-avatar
    Cindy's Recipes and Writings December 2, 2012 (7:54 am)

    Can’t go wrong with bacon mac & cheese!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (8:00 am)

      You sure can’t, Cindy! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • comment-avatar
    Lane @ Supper for a Steal December 2, 2012 (7:32 am)

    I love all the different cheeses in here! Yum!!

    • comment-avatar
      becca December 2, 2012 (8:00 am)

      I agree, Lane! It’s SO comforting, too. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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