Classic Macaroni & Cheese

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 1h 10m
  • Rating ****

Serves six to eight.

This tastes best if you assemble it ahead of baking time so the pasta soaks up the sauce. Sprinkle the crumb topping on just before baking.


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 9 black peppercorns
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 6 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the elbows; cook until just tender following the package's directions and drain well. Melt the butter in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat.

Add the flour, onion, bay leaf, thyme and peppercorns; cook over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Slowly whisk the milk into the roux until thoroughly combined. Raise the heat to medium high; whisk constantly until the mixture boils. Simmer 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Lower the heat and continue simmering for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.

Strain the sauce into a large bowl, removing the onion, herbs, and peppercorns. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and shredded cheese, stirring until the cheese is just melted. Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce and pour the mixture into the baking dish. Toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and spread them over the casserole. Bake until sizzling and lightly browned on top (cover with foil if the top browns too quickly), about 40 minutes.

Recipe reprinted by permission of <I>Fine Cooking<. All rights reserved.

RecID 3297

nutrition information per serving

777 calories; 44g total fat; 124mg cholesterol; 1155mg sodium; 67g carbohydrates; 3g fiber; 30g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

Sign Up for Newsletters Here

Delicious recipes, easy meal ideas and holiday inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.