Home Recipes Homemade Mac and Cheese with Ritz Crackers (Best Recipe)

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Ritz Crackers (Best Recipe)

Mac and cheese with Ritz crackers brings a crispy twist to everyone’s favorite. It’s the comfort food you didn’t know you needed until now. 

Imagine cheesy goodness blanketing al dente pasta, crowned with a Ritz cracker crust. It’s the ultimate “pass the seconds, please” dish.

Baked mac and cheese with crushed Ritz crackers in a white bowl.
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Perfect for busy weeknights, this meal is ready in minutes and guaranteed to please. It’s a fantastic way to upgrade your mac and cheese game without any fuss. 

So ditch the takeout menus and grab your pantry staples. Let’s make mac and cheese!

Ingredients for Mac and Cheese

Let’s walk through what you’ll need to make this epic baked mac and cheese. For the full ingredient measurements, scroll to the bottom of the page. 

  • Elbow macaroni – It forms the base of the dish. This classic choice is perfect for holding onto all that cheesy goodness. 
  • Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour – To form the roux. It’s a thickening base that ensures your cheese sauce is smooth and velvety.
  • Whole milk and heavy cream – For the base of the sauce, offering creaminess and a luxurious mouthfeel. 
  • Sharp cheddar and Gruyère – To bring the flavor home. Sharp cheddar adds a classic, tangy punch, while Gruyère offers a smooth, nutty elegance.
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard powder – To provide the seasoning that ties it all together. These spices add depth and a hint of warmth.
  • Ritz crackers and melted butter – To create a topping that’s nothing short of magical. The crackers add a buttery crunch contrasting beautifully with the creamy macaroni. 
Baked Mac and Cheese in a white casserole dish, top view

How to Make Mac and Cheese with Ritz Crackers

Get ready to make the best mac and cheese with Ritz crackers you’ve ever tasted, in just a few easy steps.

1. Prep. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a baking dish.

2. Cook the pasta. It should be just shy of al dente, then drain and set it aside.

3. Toss Ritz crackers in butter. Ensure they’re well coated. Set aside.

4. Combine the cheeses. Put them in a bowl and set aside.

5. Make a roux. Melt the butter, whisk in flour, and cook until smooth. Gradually add milk and cream, whisking until thick.

6. Add the cheese and season the sauce. Off the heat, whisk in the cheese until it’s smooth and creamy. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard powder.

7. Assemble the dish. Toss together cooked pasta and cheese sauce in the prepared baking dish. Top with more cheese and buttered crackers.

8. Bake and rest. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes before serving.

9. Serve and enjoy!

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Cheesy mac and cheese in a white bowl topped with crushed Ritz crackers.

Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese

Here are some pro tips to elevate your mac and cheese to legendary status.

  • Pick your pasta. While macaroni is the traditional choice, feel free to use any pasta you love. Shells, elbows, and Gemelli work great, too.
  • Milk matters. Whole milk is the secret to that rich, creamy texture, but 2% or 1% will do the trick if needed.
  • Have fun and experiment. Try different cheeses beyond cheddar for unique flavors. Just avoid the pre-shredded stuff to prevent a gritty texture.
  • Get shredding. Block cheese shredded at home melts better and tastes fresher than pre-shredded options.
  • Breadcrumbs or Ritz? Your call. Whether it’s breadcrumbs or Ritz crackers on top, both add a delightful crunch.
  • Be extra cheesy. Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the Ritz Cracker topping for added cheesy goodness.
Mac and cheese with crumbled Ritz crackers on a rectangular baking dish.

How to Store

Store your mac and cheese with these tips, and it’ll stay delicious.

To Make Ahead and Store: Prepare and assemble your dish up to a day in advance. Keep it chilled with plastic wrap over the top. 

When ready, bake covered with foil for 15 minutes, then follow the usual baking instructions.

To Freeze: For freezing, you can choose to freeze before or after baking. 

Add a bit more milk to the sauce and let it cool. Wrap the whole pan first in plastic, then foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. 

Thaw in the fridge, then bake as outlined in the make-ahead tip. 

To Reheat: Pop a portion in the microwave with a splash of milk and cover it with a damp paper towel. Heat for about a minute or until it’s warm throughout. 

Prefer the oven? Stir in some milk, cover with foil, and reheat at 350ºF, checking every 10 minutes.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Original Kraft Mac and Cheese

Trisha Yearwood Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Copycat Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese

Sweet Pie’s Mac and Cheese

Ina Garten Mac and Cheese

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Ritz Crackers (Best Recipe)

Course: SidesCuisine: American
Servings

10-12

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

20

minutes

This mac and cheese with Ritz crackers is as good as it gets! The creamy noodles, coupled with the crunchy, buttery topping is a match made in heaven.

Ingredients

  • For the Mac and Cheese
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups whole milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

  • 2 cups shredded Gruyère, divided

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

  • For the Ritz Cracker Topping
  • 1 sleeve of Ritz crackers, crushed (about 20 crackers)

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch (3-quart) casserole dish and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes (or for 2 minutes less than al dente per the package instructions). Remove from the heat, drain, and set aside.
  • While the pasta cooks, mix the Ritz crackers with 1/4 cup of melted butter. Set aside.
  • Mix the cheddar and Gruyère cheeses together. Remove 1 cup and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan with deep sides, melt 1/4 cup of butter over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of flour and whisk constantly until smooth. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Slowly add the milk, followed by the cream, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook until thickened.
  • Take the saucepan off the heat. Add the cheddar and Gruyère in small handfuls, whisking until melted between each addition. (Put the pan back on low heat if the cheese needs help melting.)
  • When the cheese sauce is smooth, add the salt, pepper, paprika, and mustard powder. Stir until blended.
  • Pour the drained pasta into the saucepan and stir until fully coated in the cheese sauce. Then, transfer the mac and cheese to the casserole dish and sprinkle the reserved shredded cheese and Ritz crackers over the top.
  • 10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden. Let the mac and cheese rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

  • Undercook the pasta by a couple of minutes – 1-2 minutes under al dente. If you cook it fully first, it will turn mushy in the oven. Use the package instructions as a guide.
  • Add 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the Ritz Cracker topping for added cheesy goodness.
  • Experiment with cheeses, such as Gouda, for a different flavor. Just be sure to shred it from a block for the best texture.
Mac and cheese with ritz crackers.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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