Baked Macaroni with Cheddar Cheese and Ham is a favorite family recipe. This homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe is crowd-pleasing because the pasta is baked in individual ramekins. Serving the pasta this way is perfect for personalized meals.
This pasta recipe is also a full meal because it contains ham. The individual portions make it easy for everyone to have their dinner without worrying about not having enough food. The pasta with cheese and ham is baked in the oven and then served hot with a healthy salad of broccoli and grapes.
Why baked macaroni in ramekins is a great idea
Ramekins are perfect for family dinners and small gatherings. They are also effortless to clean as this is a plus in the kitchen. And let’s not forget portion control. Everyone will have the right food portion of starchy foods.
How to make Cheddar Baked Macaroni and Ham
This recipe may be as daunting as many other baked macaroni recipes, but don’t worry, we break it down for you.
- The first step is to broil pasta. I usually follow the directions from the packaging.
- While the pasta is boiling, in a saucepan under low heat, melt butter, add flour and stir. This mixture will help the pasta and the ingredient bind together. This is the glue!
- While stirring slowly add milk and keep stirring until the mixture starts to boil.
- Add cheese (reserve a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle before baking) and keep stirring until cheese is completely melted.
- Add ham and shallots. Let cheese mixture cook for about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Drain pasta and place in a bowl. Stir in the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease 2 – 4 ramekins (depending on the size of the ramekins).
- Add pasta, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake at 375°F for 30 – 35 minutes.
- Serve hot by itself or with your favorite side salad.
Tips and Notes
- The pasta: when making baked macaroni it is usually best to boil the pasta al dente – meaning not too soft – boil the pasta a few minutes less than recommended.
- Make sure the milk and cheese are at room temperature
- Use your favorite soft or hard cheese – a great sharp substitution is Asiago cheese. If you like sharp cheddar cheese you will love this one too.
- Best to buy a whole or block of cheese to shred. It tastes so much better.
- For meat, you can use leftover meat, such as chicken, beef, pork and veal. Bacon, prosciutto are also good subtitions.
- Use unsalted butter to lessen the amount of sodium in the dish.
- Don’t have ramekins, use a baking dish.
- Best temperature for baking macaroni and cheese is 350 F degrees for 30 minutes. You can also broil for 2-3 minutes to get a cheesy crust.
- Want to make is ahead, make the recipe as directed and don’t bake it. Cover with foil and refrigerate for dinner the next day. When it is time to bake, make sure you let the baking dish sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
This dish makes 2 – 4 servings depending on how you fill up the ramekins. The recipe calls for 1 cup of pasta and a lot of cheddar cheese. You can use any meat with this dish, but I prefer ham because it always tastes right. So that’s what happened with the Cheddar Baked Macaroni with Ham.
- 1 cup elbow macaroni or any other small pasta
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 cup milk
- 8 oz cheddar cheese grated
- ½ cup ham shredded
- 1 tablespoon shallot
- salt to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Broil pasta depending on directions listed on packaging. While pasta is boiling, in a saucepan under low heat, melt butter, add flour and stir. While stirring slowly add milk and keep stirring until mixture starts to boil. Add cheese (reserve a couple of tablespoons to sprinkle before baking) and keep stirring until cheese is completely melted. Add ham and shallots. Let cheese mixture cook for about 3 – 5 minutes.
- Drain pasta and place in a bowl. Stir in cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Grease 2 – 4 ramekins. Add pasta, sprinkle remaining cheese on top and bake at 375°F for 30 – 35 minutes. Serve hot.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.
The recipe was first published on April 30, 2014. The content has been updated to add more step details.