Martha Stewart's Macaroni and Cheese

By • October 6, 2011 62 Comments

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Author Notes: A genius recipe for perfectly creamy baked macaroni and cheese, adapted slightly from The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The Original Classics. Note: You can easily divide this recipe in half -- use a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish instead of a 3-quart one. Genius Recipes

Serves 12

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta shape)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter (alternately, melt butter in the microwave). Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and reserve.
  2. Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer's directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
  4. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it's not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

More Great Recipes: Cheese & Dairy|Entrees|Bread

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Comments (62) Questions (8)


4 months ago Lindsey López

can this be made to completion in advance and then reheated? or made up to the point of baking and then left overnight?


2 months ago Katie Hardwick

Hey! I've done both- baked the night before and reheated, and prep the night before and bake the next day. It was great both times. I might do the breadcrumbs right before the final baking though, to ensure crispness.


6 months ago Sugar23

Love! I made mine with fridge odds and ends -- cheese I had on hand: cheddar, Gruyere, and Manchego and heavy cream diluted with water. I used less flour (by about a tablespoon) which made the sauce a little soupy for the first meal, but was perfect for reheating. It was fantastic everytime. Will definitely go back to this recipe! Comfort food to the max!


7 months ago cookinupastorm

would it be ok to prepare this one day ahead and bake it the following day?


6 months ago Sugar23

Based on my reheating of the dish, you could.. I would stir in the pasta right before baking just to be sure!


7 months ago Mark X

Recipe: Martha Stewart's Macaroni & Cheese

On Simmer!


9 months ago bookjunky

This is almost exactly the recipe I use -- I think I found the original in Fannie Farmer's cookbook -- and it is always delicious and creamy. Most mac & cheese recipes do not have sufficient sauce or cheese to give you the luscious pasta you want.


9 months ago Katie Samson

I've been cooking this for years and I love adding some spinach and roasted red peppers or sundried tomatoes to give a little variety to the bites, but the nutmeg makes all the difference


11 months ago jayaymeye

Not surprising, but this recipe is, indeed, *amazing.* I found that I didn't need the extra cheese on top (used homemade garlic breadcrumbs instead). It was plenty cheesy without it. In addition to everything that was listed in the recipe, I also added 2 cloves of garlic (grated and added in with the butter while making the roux), 1 tsp of hot sauce, and about 2 tsps of brown mustard. I already can sense it: I'm in trouble for knowing/having this recipe.


11 months ago jayaymeye

Also! No nutmeg.


about 1 year ago Earl Daniel Lee

hot roux should be mixed with cold milk or vice versa


about 1 year ago Laura

This is an amazing recipe. I use Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheese (due to its wonderful melting properties). I also add bacon for a bit of extra smokiness. My husband hates mac-n-cheese; however, I have converted him with this recipe. Feel free to play around with ingredients - shredded chicken, tomatoes, or even bell pepper are awesome extras. Also, I have made this recipe both with and without the nutmeg and I prefer it without- it is too strong of a flavor for me personally. This is by far the BEST mac-n-cheese recipe I have ever tried - you will not be disappointed! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!


over 1 year ago Kate Lord

Last night my partner was raving about his childhood in America and memories of Mac and Cheese. I was a little concerned that tonight's dinner might not live up to his standards but apparently this recipe has 'raised the Mac and Cheese bar'!

1/2 the recipe served 3 very hungry people.


over 1 year ago Jonathan Moore

I couldn't find sharp white cheddar in my area. Used Tillamook sharp yellow cheddar. Made this at a conference for some VIP's with a southern meal of roast and all the sides - and there was not a speck of it left in the dish! They LOVED it!


over 1 year ago Mike

This is incredible mac and cheese! The pan never lats more than two days in our household (family of four!). comes out perfectly every time.


over 1 year ago Mike



over 1 year ago Dawne

This was a huge huge huge hit.


over 1 year ago Miles

I made this recently and it was everything everyone said - I'd never been successful with Mac and Cheese before (the cheese was always grainy and never seemed to bond with the pasta). I did use Velveeta : ) instead of the cheddar and used panko as the topping. That said - it was great - my husband loved it and it is now the "go-to" for Mac and Cheese! Thanks!


over 1 year ago Thardison

I made this for Thanksgiving and was it ever a bug hit! Yum. I followed the recipe, just left of the bread cubes. Easy to make... I used a 3qt Corning Ware dish that is tall and square vs the more shallow dish pictured. I will use a shallow 3qt Nxt time. At 30 min it was not heated thru so cooked for hour. Everyone loved it I would be liked it too be a bit more creamy. Next to I will use a more shallow dish or cut the cooking to 45 min. Also, I bet if you add some beer in place of some of the milk it would add another layer of flavor. This is a 10!


almost 2 years ago TheLearningCook

I made this on a whim and it is now my go to mac and cheese recipe. I have added chicken, tried it without and with bread crumbs, added bacon, added broccoli, tried different cheeses, It has never been anything but delicious. One of my friends said, " I really don't like mac and cheese" and then got seconds.


almost 2 years ago Tracey Wade

Just made this without the gruyere, mostly due to cost - but, I added roasted cauliflower - wow! The combination with this recipe is amazing...


about 2 years ago skm818

I halved the recipe,following exactly, using sharp cheddar and gruyère. Sprinkled some Parmesan/Romano into buttered casserole, and added a little tabasco. Don't skip the panko & cheese topping. this was delicious!


about 2 years ago Katie

I loved this recipe but I have to say, in my opinion, Ina Garten's version trumps this pasta- thanks in part to her breadcrumb topping. This is definitely a genius recipe and delicious indeed but I will be sticking with Ina's mac & cheese in the future.


about 2 years ago Indebskitchen

Trying this tonight! I think I will use Parmesan mixed with gruyere and cheddar basically bc that's what I've got in the fridge!