Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Mar 6, 2013 09:24 AM

Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Anything goes here, not looking for a specific method or style. I plan to make several and pick my favorite from the bunch.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am a mac and cheese purist. No eggs or condensed milk or chicken broth in mine! I also stick with cheddar and cheddar-like cheeses and skip the recipes that stray into gruyere or some form of blue cheese or mozzarella. Like I said, I am a purist in this case. So over the years I have tried recipes that are generally simply macaroni and some form of cheddar-based sauce mornay, which is a cheese sauce made starting with a bechamel (flour, butter, milk). For years I had a recipe that came off a box of macaroni. It added some minced onion, dry mustard, and cayenne to the sauce. These days my current fave is the baked macaroni and cheese recipe in Cover and Bake (from Cook's Illustrated). It calls for chicken broth, but I just substitute more milk instead. Making the entire recipe with 2 percent milk instead of whole milk and the chicken broth works very well too.

    2 Replies
    1. re: PinchOfSalt

      Excellent, thank you kindly. I will add it to my list to try!

      1. re: chabrab

        Here is a link to an online version of the recipe. Sometimes I do the crumbs, sometimes not. I definitely up the sharpness of the cheddar-like cheese compared to what the recipe says. And I have skipped the garlic and been entirely pleased. Enjoy!

    2. Another purist here! We swear by this one:

      You could jazz it up a little with breadcrumbs on top, but we like it just "as is".

      I did see a pretty darned good-looking recipe for crab macaroni and cheese (, but the family wouldn't go for all those types of cheese. I've been planning to try it but change the cheese.

      Also, I love to use Cellentani pasta (our fav). I know it doesn't have the hole in the middle like elbow for the cheese, but it's curly and ridged enough to grab onto the sauce.


        This is a huge hit with friends and family. If you can get past who wrote the recipe, it's actually very good. (I don't use the eggs)

        8 Replies
        1. re: Njchicaa

          Mac and Cheese is one dish I trust Paula Deen to do well :)

          1. re: juliejulez

            Everyone and I mean everyone who has had it loves it and asks for the recipe. I add a bit of Emeril's Essence seasoning to it for an extra bit of flavor. It's very good and that is coming from someone who is not a PD fan

            1. re: Njchicaa

              I don't have a slow cooker - doesn't cooked macaroni, cooked for an additional 3 hours turn into mush?

              1. re: 512window

                I didn't even know there was a slow cooker version! The recipe I use has it going into the oven for 45 min or so until everything is hot and bubbly!

                1. re: 512window

                  The recipe I've been using all these years wasn't for a slow cooker. I mix everything together and bake until hot and bubbling. That's what the recipe said to do!

                  I'll pull out my copy of the instructions tomorrow...

                  1. re: Njchicaa

                    The one online says: Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

                    Maybe it's like her recipe for English Peas.

                    Your way makes much more sense to me! Never change if it works.

            2. re: Njchicaa

              Campbell's Cheddar Cheese Soup???????

              1. re: sandylc

                YES and you'd never know! I'm a big snob about canned soups and such but I can't complain about it here.

            3. Extra-sharp cheddar is the main cheese in mine, but I enhance it with a creamy monterey jack and a nutty parmesan.

              Butter and parmesan breadcrumbs on top are great - grinding your own from a good baguette or italian loaf is the best.

              A bechamel-based sauce enhanced by dry mustard, nutmeg, and cayenne is the best. Eggs based upon personal preference.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sandylc

                I am with you on the cheddar. For me it needs to be at least "sharp". Medium cheddar makes dull mac and cheese - at least as far as I am concerned.