A Chef Explains The Best Way To Add Bacon To Your Mac And Cheese

Mac and cheese, the ultimate comfort food, is delicious all on its own, but it definitely doesn't hurt to add an extra ingredient or two. Many would agree that one of the best additions to mac and cheese is, undeniably, bacon. To find out all of the best tips for adding bacon to mac and cheese, Tasting Table spoke with an expert: Chef Bob Bennett, the head chef at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Bennett definitely knows what he's talking about — the menu for Zingerman's Roadhouse has its own section for mac and cheese, including one with a bacon addition, after all.

When asked the best method for cooking bacon — between the stovetop, the oven, or the microwave — Bennett said that "At the Roadhouse, we typically cook all our bacon in the oven." He noted, "It just saves us some time and really gets an even cook on the bacon."

Of course, you can't add full pieces of bacon into your mac and cheese — well, at least not without making it difficult to eat. So does Bennett recommend chopping up the bacon before or after cooking it? Bennett says, "We tend to chop after. I think it allows for better consistency as bacon can lose a lot of size during the cooking process."

How to avoid overly greasy bacon mac and cheese

If you made bacon mac and cheese before, then you may have experienced an overly greasy outcome. After all, bacon has a lot of grease, so it's easy to allow that grease to transfer over to the bowl of mac and cheese — and greasy mac and cheese is certainly not what we want. Luckily, Bob Bennett has a tip for the common problem.

The Zingerman's Roadhouse head chef says, "My biggest suggestion would be to drain your grease, either in a strainer or just on a paper towel. This will definitely help you with the end product." Plus, if you save that bacon grease, you can use the bacon grease to upgrade other recipes with foods that will actually benefit from the grease, such as dinner rolls, rice, cornbread, or breakfast potatoes. You can even use the bacon grease-infused dinner rolls or cornbread as a side dish to your bacon mac and cheese.

Now that you know all of the best tips for adding bacon to mac and cheese, it's time to start cooking. You can start with Tasting Table's recipe for simple mac and cheese, or for a different take, baked mac and cheese, to get started and go from there.