Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Classic Macaroni & Cheese

Article Image
Scott Phillips

Servings: 6-8

For many of us, this is the epitome of comfort food. Classic macaroni and cheese relies on a full-flavored Cheddar. You don’t have to buy expensive aged Cheddar, but do make sure the cheese is sharp. The dish will taste best if you assemble it ahead of baking time so the pasta can soak up the sauce, but sprinkle the crumb topping on just before baking. This recipe calls for a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, but it’s also nice to use individual ramekins.

If you’d like to take the classic and jazz it up some, use the Macaroni & Cheese Recipe Maker to create your own ultimate macaroni & cheese recipe with all your favorite ingredients.


For the casserole:

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni
  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 6 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 9 black peppercorns
  • 4-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 6 cups (1 lb.) finely shredded sharp Cheddar

For the topping:

  • 1-1/4 cups coarse breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Nutritional Information

      Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
      Calories (kcal) : 740
      Fat Calories (kcal): 400
      Fat (g): 45
      Saturated Fat (g): 31
      Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
      Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12
      Cholesterol (mg): 135
      Sodium (mg): 1040
      Carbohydrates (g): 58
      Fiber (g): 3
      Protein (g): 27


  • Heat the oven to 375°F and butter a 9×13-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 to 3 min., stirring constantly. (This is a roux.) 
  • Slowly whisk the milk into the roux until thoroughly combined. Raise the heat to medium high; whisk constantly until the mixture boils. Simmer for 3 to 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 2 tsp. salt, the 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.


Rate or Review


  • this8120 | 06/13/2017

    I'm about to make this delicious recipe again to later in the week. I wonder if I should freeze it before putting it in the oven?

  • cdwilliams | 08/24/2016

    This is great, but not as written. A prior reviewer noted that the first addition of butter should be 6 Tbs, not 12; to make a roux, use equal amounts of butter and flour. Also, I skipped the step of straining the sauce; didn't want the time/mess of straining a thickened white sauce. That said, the version I made with less butter and unstrained white sauce was really, really good!

  • this8120 | 05/21/2016

    I followed the recipe and it was delicious. My children and extended family loved it. I made it a few days before Easter, froze it, then brought it with us on a four-hour drive to serve on Easter at my sister's house. It was a huge success. I'm about to make it again today. It's a keeper.

  • grlup | 04/16/2016

    There is nothing wrong with this recipe as written. I have made this mac 'n cheese many, many times and it has always been a favorite. Use the 12 Tbs of butter for the roux as instructed. This is delicious!

Show More

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 44%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All

Season 4 Extras

Bonus Scene: Bee Farm in Greenough, Montana

Montana's wall-to-wall grass and wildflowers make it the perfect place to raise bees and harvest honey. In this extended scene from Season 4's Greenough, Montana, episode, we visit beekeeper Sam…

View all Moveable Feast recipes and video extras


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks