Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese

"A friend served this for dinner the other night. It was great. From America's Test Kitchen."
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Ready In:




  • For the bread crumbs: Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides.
  • Add bread crumbs; cook, tossing to coat with butter, until crumbs just begin to color, about 10 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt; set aside.
  • For the macaroni and cheese: Mix eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, pepper sauce, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, and mustard mixture in small bowl; set aside.
  • Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts water to a boil in large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven.
  • Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and macaroni; cook until almost tender but still a little firm to the bite.
  • Drain and return to pan over low heat.
  • Add butter; toss to melt.
  • Pour egg mixture over buttered noodles along with three-quarters of cheese; stir until thoroughly combined and the cheese starts to melt.
  • Gradually add remaining milk and cheese, stirring constantly, until mixture is hot and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, topped with toasted bread crumbs.
  • Variation: “Baked” Macaroni and Cheese.
  • This dish is for those who prefer their macaroni and cheese served out of a baking dish.
  • Smooth and creamy like the stovetop version, this version is broiled just long enough to brown the crumb topping.
  • Follow recipe for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, pouring cooked macaroni and cheese into 9-inch-square gratin dish (or another heatproof baking dish of similar dimensions).
  • Spread crumbs evenly over top.
  • Broil until crumbs turn deep brown, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Let stand to set a bit, about 5 minutes, and serve immediately.

Questions & Replies

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  1. This is my favorite way to make mac and cheese. I got it from Cook's Illustrated years ago. It doesn't take much longer than the Kraft product. The only change I make is to use mild cheddar or American cheese. Otherwise it is much too rich. I usually omit the breadcrumb topping also.
  2. my kids just loved this, a definite improvement over the blue box. the sauce thickens upon standing , and was very creamy. i did add some cayenne, and served it with hot sauce on the side for the bolder among us. this recipe doubles easily
  3. This recipe was okay. I think it was better the next day. I made as directed except I didn't end up using the second addition of evap milk in step 10, as my mixture seemed runny at that point. I also omitted the dry mustard as DH doesn't care for it. I also mixed in 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese at the end to tighten it up as I stirred it over the heat.
  4. After all the wonderful reviews, I was a little disappointed in the outcome of this recipe. I thought it was creamy, cheesy and had a good flavor, but it turned out a little "grainy" for me. I followed the direction exactly except for omiting the bread crumb topping. I'm wondering if perhaps I cooked it too long. I ate it as I thought it was OK, but my husband wouldn't. I might try the recipe once more and not cook it as long to see if that helps. Thanks for posting.
  5. A great recipe! My 9 y.o. daughter ate a good sized portion, which is saying a lot! It was very smooth and cheesy; not gummy. My non-cheese loving husband declared it "too cheesy" (is that even possible?) - and it is very rich. Decent flavor and I'm looking forward to trying out the leftovers today to see if they further developed. I also didn't bother with the breadcrumbs. Thank you!


I live in Omaha NE and am an audiologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital. I love to cook, as does my husband Michael. In the summer, we have a large garden and try to use alot of fresh fruits/veggies in our cooking. We have a 5 year old daughter, Kate and almost 2 year old son Sam and enjoy introducing them to new foods. One of their favorites is fresh pesto smeared on crackers!
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