Sunday Supper: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Seems like mac’ and cheese weather (more or less). Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Time: About 45 minutes

One of the most popular recipes in the original How to Cook Everything, which I attribute to too many people growing up with what the Canadians call “Kraft dinner.” The real thing is rich, filling, delicious, and dead easy. You can change the type of cheese you use: Try blue cheese, goat cheese, smoked Gouda, or even mascarpone. Or mix in some crisp-cooked chunks of thick-cut bacon or pancetta, about 1/2cup.


2 1/2 cups milk (low-fat is fine)

2 bay leaves

1 pound elbow, shell, ziti, or other cut pasta

4 tablespoons (1/2stick) butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

11/2cups grated cheese, like sharp cheddar or Emmental

1 /2cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

1 /2cup or more bread crumbs, preferably fresh

1. Heat the oven to 400°F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it.

2. Heat the milk with the bay leaves in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides, about 5 minutes later, turn off the heat and let stand. Cook the pasta in the boiling water to the point where you would still think it needed another minute or two to become tender. Drain it, rinse it quickly to stop the cooking, and put it in a large bowl.

3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter; when it is foamy, add the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture browns, about 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves from the milk and add about 1/4cup of the milk to the hot flour mixture, stirring with a wire whisk all the while. As soon as the mixture becomes smooth, add a little more milk, and continue to do so until all the milk is used up and the mixture is thick and smooth. Add the cheddar or Emmental and stir.

4. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss in the Parmesan, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use the remaining 1 tablespoon butter to grease a 9 ×13-inch or like-size baking pan and turn the pasta mixture into it. (You can make the dish to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day; return to room temperature before proceeding.) Top liberally with bread crumbs and bake until bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve piping hot.


Posted in American, Baking


  1. FidoEats said...

    OMG Mac and cheese is not sunday supper! Roasts,potatoes,gravy, veg fruit,nuts sweet , now that’s Sunday !

  2. Clarissa R. said...

    FidoEats–that’d be Sunday DINNER. This is Sunday Supper–something that’s less of a production.

  3. momfood said...

    I always loved Kraft Dinner, but I’m learning to love the real thing, too. Still, the blue box is a familiar love.

  4. Elizabeth_Akre said...

    This sounds perfect! Can’t wait to make it.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Don’t Americans call it Kraft dinner? Who knew? I thought that was universal. They probably don’t know about Nanaimo Bars either, poor things.

  6. GoodStuffNW said...

    I was crushed when my husband developed severe lactose intolerance a few years ago, since we loved this dish. But since lactose is eaten up in the aging process, I found he could tolerate super sharp (though expensive) cheddar, and developed a recipe for lactose-free mac’n’cheese that we think rivals the real thing (rivals, not tops, but what’re you gonna do?). The recipe’s at:

  7. ron said...

    Omg. You make too big of a production out of something simple. Put the milk. butter and cheese in the pot. When cheese is melted stir and add flour to thicken. Pour over cooked macaronis and bake. Its that simple.

    • Michaela said...

      I use a variation on this recipe to tweak the flavor (secret ingredient, makes a difference in my formulation), but this is my mac’s base.

      And Ron, I have a friend who makes hers just like you do. At the church potlucks, my pan returns home empty while she ends up taking half a pan home. Just sayin’.

    • maureen mcguire said...

      But then you miss the wonderfully savory and subtle flavor of bay leaves and browned butter-not that much more work and so much more tasty, aromatic, sophisticated. Wouldn’t miss it for anything, when I crave mac and cheese. it’s the bay and browned butter I am salivating for. Have tried all variations and cheeses, have at times, added a layer of spinach, mozzarella..but the real secret is -bay and browned butter.

  8. Kusalee Vachananda said...

    Love recipe! Although I would up the ante and put 10 to 12 oz of cheese instead of 8 oz. I used cheddar and gruyere. The butter makes its so yummy

  9. kayte young said...

    We used this recipe, on a large scale, for a lunch/informational meeting at our food pantry this week. We wanted to serve comfort food, and to show that when you cook from scratch, using whole food ingredients it is always tastier, and more nourishing. Everyone loved it, and it drew a crowd. Thank you!

  10. Andy Yoder said...

    One more variation on a recipe that’s already a home run: fried onions on top instead of bread crumbs. I like the ones from Trader Joe’s, but they are only sold around Thanksgiving, so French’s are fine.

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