Macaroni and Cheese

Martha Stewart's Genius Mac & Cheese Is What We're Bringing to Every Summer BBQ

June 26, 2018

As Food52 gets older (and wiser), and our archive of recipes grows, we’re making the effort to revisit some good-as-gold recipes. Today, we're highlighting a home-run mac and cheese from Martha Stewart.

I’ve never met a mac and cheese I didn’t love—from velvety noodles swimming in sauce to sheet pans of crisped up pasta. Even the cheese-ish kind that comes from a box makes my heart flutter. But there’s one recipe that stands out above the rest, a creation that’s rich and buttery and creamy throughout: Martha Stewart’s Genius Macaroni and Cheese.

We first highlighted Stewart’s masterpiece back in 2011, staking the claim that this was a macaroni masterpiece the world was searching for. Her secret? The béchamel.

Shop the Story

The simple silky sauce is what ties this dish together, said Genius columnist Kristen Miglore when she first shared the recipe:

Skip it and the cheese inevitably toughens and the grease breaks free. (A notable exception: Amanda's truly genius baking sheet mac and cheese, which cooks quickly enough not to destroy the tenuous impromptu cheese sauce.) Resort to American cheese or Velveeta and sure, you lock down creaminess, but along with it comes that tongue-coating nacho cheez stickiness that has no place on a noodle. (Both of these are actually "cheese food," emulsified with water and a lot of ingredients we laypeople don't understand.)

Sharp cheddar and earthy Gruyère melt beautifully into the mixture of butter, flour, and cream, forming a smooth sauce that coats each noodle. And don’t worry about making too much. The dish goes into the oven quite soup-like, which keeps the pasta from drying out.

To shield the gooey bottom, Stewart instructs cooks to forgo breadcrumbs for mighty chunks of buttery bread. The top then bronzes into a delicate crouton crust, sealing up the creaminess within.

Sure, there are easier mac and cheeses out there. But none of them are quite as Genius.

What does your perfect macaroni and cheese look like? Share all your cheesy dreams in the comments below!

Order Now

The Genius Desserts cookbook is here! With more than 100 of the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the hidden gems soon to join their ranks) this book will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.

Order Now


Granny S. October 2, 2018
Well crap! It just put me out! I was trying to tell you that: This is not the BEST. Go to Leite's website and get Augratin Mac n Cheese. It is the best! I have made it for FAMILY and friends and it it ALWAYS GOOD!!

Deborah L. September 24, 2018
Ahhh, the doyenne Domestic Goddess's Mac and Cheese. Yes, this is great as confirmed by my 2 elderly parents in the midst of their 2nd childhood. I add ham, peas, and caramelized onions so there is less guilt.
Barbara S. July 16, 2018
The best. I have made this since 2012. Little kids, big kids, old kids, young kids and urban sophisticates all rave about this. Also outstanding for leftovers next day. Yum.
Barbara July 5, 2018
This has been my go-to mac and cheese when I want to impress people, ever since I found it long ago in her magazine. I think it’s the nuttiness of the Gruyere that makes it, but the bread cubes make a terrific texture, as well. Not low carb, alas.