Classic Macaroni and Cheese (America's Test Kitchen)

Total Time
Prep 20 mins
Cook 30 mins

America's Test Kitchen finds the best way to make ordinary everyday dishes the ultimate. This is a very different and delicious way to make Mac and Cheese with no baking.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. For the bread crumbs:
  2. Pulse bread and butter in food processor until crumbs are no larger than 1/8 inch, ten to fifteen 1-second pulses and set aside.
  3. For the pasta and cheese:
  4. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat broiler.
  5. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat.
  6. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt; cook until pasta is tender; drain and set aside in colander.
  7. In now empty Dutch oven, heat butter over medium-high heat until foaming.
  8. Add flour, mustard, and cayenne and whisk well to combine.
  9. Continue whisking until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1 minute.
  10. Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to boil, whisking constantly (mixture must reach full boil to fully thicken).
  11. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened to consistency of heavy cream, about 5 minutes.
  12. Off heat, whisk in cheeses and 1 teaspoon salt until cheeses are fully melted.
  13. Add pasta and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
  14. Transfer mixture to broiler safe 9 by 13" baking dish and sprinkle evenly with bread crumb mixture.
  15. Broil until crumbs are deep golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, rotating pan if necessary for even browning.
  16. Cool about 5 minutes, then serve.


Most Helpful

I loved the consistency of the sauce, but it didn't seem quite cheesy enough for me. Next time I will probably use more cheddar. And the bread crumbs burned after about 2 minutes under the broiler, but that is probably the fault of my oven. Overall, this is a very, very good recipe!

Sherrill M. May 12, 2015

It was a very solid mac and cheese recipe. I used less cheese and more noodles than suggested and still felt that it was more than creamy enough. The mustard adds a nice punch of flavor with the cayenne pepper.

alyssamoore September 16, 2010

We followed this recipe, however, the sauce was thinner and runny. I just didn't get the power punch of the cheese in this.

Amberngriffinco February 08, 2009

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