Bacon Mac & Cheese with a Chipotle Panko Crust

Yes, this dish was as good as it sounds, and yes, we had it for dinner between TWO thanksgiving feasts! On Thanksgiving day we visited my sister-in-law’s parents. Friday was Snacksgiving 2017, which featured this here mac and cheese, and then Saturday was Thanksgiving with my fam.  

Families and holidays can be filled with stress, but this year I found myself in a true peaceful place where I was wholeheartedly enjoying the bustle and QT with both of our crazy families.

As I did on Thanksgiving of 2015, here are some highlights from this memorable weekend.

On Thanksgiving day my sister-in-law’s mother hosted, and being a true Italian she served not only a delicious bird but also a fabulous lasagna.  Then, on Friday we drove to Vermont for “Snacksgiving.” My father made hot crab dip, and some liver paté.  I chose to make some stuffed mushrooms and added some chipotle panko crumbs that I found in the cabinet.  

stuffed mushrooms_1.JPG

My brother stole the show with this mac and cheese.  The mac and cheese gene seems to have skipped me as mine always seems to be lumpy. This one, however, was packed with bacon, the cheese was creamy and flavorful, and the topping was perfectly crisp.  His use of the chipotle panko crumbs also brought some welcome heat.  I technically didn’t cook this one but I’m documenting it here so I can work on my game.

Then, on Saturday, we had our third feast which might be our best family Thanksgiving that we’ve collaboratively prepared without Mom.  Each dish was unique in its own way but filled with great flavors. I FINALLY made a stuffing that tasted like stuffing, and my husband made loaded mashed potatoes and a green bean casserole.  My brother made a turkey that he brined and then smoked for 10 hours. My sister-in-law made french onion soup and two pies – a maple butternut squash and an apple crumb topping.  My father made parker house dinner rolls which broke apart perfectly by hand, as well as the family classic — my mother’s cranberry pear relish.

cranberry orange pear relish_2.JPG

Outside of eating there were at least 5 board games played, a constant fire in the fireplace, a winter hike, and freshly fallen snow.  I have my work cut out for me with 4 new recipes to post but that seems like a pretty fantastic way to kick off this winter season!


chipotle bacon mac and cheese.JPG


  • 1 box of campanelle pasta
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 6 oz of gruyere
  • 6 oz swiss cheese
  • 6 oz of smoked gouda
  • 2 pounds of slab bacon, diced (your butcher can do this step)

Steps and Notes:

  1. Pre-cook the bacon in a large wok or pan, set aside
  2. At the same time, boil the pasta, and set aside when done
  3. Make a roux with the butter and flour
  4. Slowly add the milk and fully combine, mixing regularly
  5. Add the shredded cheese one handful at a time and bring to a low simmer
  6. Add half of the bacon into the cheese mixture
  7. In a large greased baking dish add the pasta and then pour in the cheese sauce. Mix well. Top with the remaining bacon.
  8. Toast panko bread crumbs with butter in a saute pan for 2 minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the mac and cheese
  9. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes – just long enough so that the edges are bubbling

Thoughts for Next Time:

  • Next time I’d add just a bit more cheese sauce to ensure all noodles are properly doused
  • Try adding some american cheese to make it even creamier.




  1. mistimaan · · Reply

    Loved your tasty recipe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, so what could be more amazing than ordinary Mac & cheese… Bacon Mac & cheese 😀 I usually add it too!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh yum, what a great mac and cheese recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a collection of feasts!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. […] cheesy, gooey mac and cheese. Over these last few years, (and 200 recipes) I’ve made a bacon mac and cheese as a Thanksgiving side dish, and a butternut squash mac and cheese experiment a while back, but […]


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