Bacon-Kale Mac and Cheese

Whether you're serving up this bacon-kale mac and cheese as a side, or as a full meal, it's sure to be a crowd-pleaser with this unique touch to a favorite comfort dish.
Photography By Meredith Coe | January 15, 2015


1. Preheat oven to 425°F, with a rack in top position. Boil a large pot of salted water. Add macaroni, cooking until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Strain.

2. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until browned, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and kale and cook until wilted, about 3 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to baking dish.

3. Wipe saucepan clean. Place over medium heat; add butter. Once melted, whisk in flour to create a roux. Once it’s a paste, add half-and-half and milk. Turn heat to low, and cook until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. (Be sure not to let it get too thick.) Add sour cream and all but ½ cup cheese. Pour cheese sauce into cooked pasta; add kale-bacon mixture, and stir to incorporate.

4. Transfer cheesy pasta to baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, followed by panko. Bake until browned and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 5 slices bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small bunch kale, leaves chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • ½ cup 1% or 2% milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
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