Classic Mac and Cheese

Author Notes: This version is creamy and simple, so the flavor of your cheese comes through. Choose a good sharp Cheddar as a base; you need 16 oz/455 g of cheese plus the Parmesan. You can use all Cheddar or a combination of half Cheddar and half ends and bits. Some folks add parsley or other herbs before baking (as shown in photo). Peggy and I like to make it without herbs.Sue Conley & Peggy Smith

Serves: 4


  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups Whole milk
  • 3/4 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound Grating cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce
  • 12 ounces Pasta (elbow or corkscrew)
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko or fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons Grated Parmesan or other cheese
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C/gas 6. Place a rack in the bottom third of the oven, and butter a 3 qt/2.8-L baking dish. Set a large pot of unsalted water over high heat.
  2. While the water heats, melt the butter in a large saucepan. When the butter has finished foaming, stir in the flour, whisking until the flour takes on a little color, about 3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and pour in the milk slowly, while whisking continuously. Return the pan to medium heat. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken (about 5 minutes) and then take the pan off the heat again; stir in the cream, mustard, and three-fourths of the cheese. Stir in the salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the hot sauce. Set the sauce aside.
  3. Cook the pasta just until al dente. Drain (don’t rinse) and quickly stir the pasta into the cheese sauce, then pour into the prepared pan, scraping all the cheese sauce into the dish. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the pasta. Sprinkle the panko over the cheese, and sprinkle the Parmesan on top of that.
  4. Bake until the mixture is bubbling on the edges and showing some golden brown color on top, 25 to 35 minutes. Let the dish cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

More Great Recipes:
Macaroni and Cheese|Cheese|Milk/Cream|Mustard|Serves a Crowd|Vegetarian|Entree

Reviews (5) Questions (2)

5 Reviews

helen September 25, 2017
I used oat milk in this recipe as it was all I had in the fridge, skipped the cream and parmesan, and used less cheese, it was still delicious. Added some chopped parsley under the panko as the picture has some hidden green.
becky C. February 16, 2016
what is green in the photo?? it drives me crazy when the recipe/ingredients are incomplete!!
Jane F. October 30, 2013
One word. Lobster.
Barbara M. October 30, 2013
Try adding chopped broccoli and roasted red bell pepper or pimientos, for color.
Jennifer C. October 24, 2013
I love bacon in Mac and cheese. Or sun dried tomatoes. Or my fingers. Lol