Make Macaroni and Cheese with All the Crunchy Edges

October 29, 2015

We've paired up with McCormick Gourmet to show how a freshly-stocked spice cabinet makes on-the-fly cooking and holiday meal planning easier (and more flavorful). 

Today: Amanda shows you why you should ditch the dish and grab a baking sheet for a macaroni and cheese with all the crunch.  

The best part of macaroni and cheese is the edges—the crunchy pieces that cling to the corners of the baking dish, sticking to the sides; the top layer of noodles, blistered from the oven and rife with golden brown bits. And while a regular macaroni and cheese recipe is great, it doesn't deliver maximum crisp. "I've always thought macaroni and cheese's 20 percent crunch to 80 percent soft ratio was all wrong," Amanda Hesser explains. The ratio should be more like 50:50."

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Lucky for you, and us, Amanda already solved this problem with the be-all and end-all of baked pasta recipes. Watch as Amanda shows you how to make her Baking Sheet Macaroni and Cheese—a kind of mash-up technique inspired by Melissa Clark's kugel, baked pasta from Cucina Simpatica, and Vogue's Jeffery Steingarten's potato gratin. There's cayenne, smoked paprika, and two kinds of cheddar involved. It's golden. It's crisp. It's, dare we say it, the perfect ratio.

Video by Kyle Orosz

We've paired up with McCormick Gourmet to share everyday dishes (and snacks) that will look just as good on your holiday table. See all of their herbs and spices here

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Esteban
  • Nauriel
  • Simon Champion
    Simon Champion
  • Linda
  • Martine Roundtree
    Martine Roundtree
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


Esteban November 2, 2015
Thanks! I had tried going to the url listed in the video without result. Thanks for pointing me to the most obvious solution!
Nauriel November 2, 2015
The hard part would be cleaning that baking sheet. Looks delicious though. Great comfort food on a cold winter night and very easy.
Simon C. October 30, 2015
You didn't make a roux?
Linda October 30, 2015
You can get the recipe on The Readers Digest website. Just do a search.
Amanda H. October 30, 2015
The recipe is right here on Food52:
Martine R. October 30, 2015
Esteban October 30, 2015
wish there was a recipe
Author Comment
Riddley G. October 30, 2015
Here you go!
Kate October 30, 2015
The technique sounds fabulous, though really not happy to see the product endorsement.
annette October 30, 2015
So, could we apply the same logic to brownies, to get more edges?
mizerychik November 21, 2015
I received this a few years ago, and it is magical: If you are committed to crunchy edges on your baked goods, it is worth the price.