Miso Mac and Cheese

January 28, 2016
4 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Serves 6 (or 4 hungry people)
Author Notes

Miso paste has all the excellent qualities of cheese; it's savory, rich, and packed with umami flavor. Adding it to a classic mac and cheese amplifies and intensifies the cheese flavor, and gives the entire dish an interesting "oomph"! —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • 8 ounces dried pasta (I like elbows or cavatappi)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk, warmed slightly
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded cheese (I like a mix of cheddar, Pecorino, and Gruyère), divided
  • 1/4 cup sweet white miso paste, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil. Add your pasta and cook until a minute or two shy of al dente (do not cook it all the way to al dente!). Drain (don't rinse) and set aside.
  3. In a large pan, heat the butter until it melts. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly to break up any clumps, for a minute or two.
  4. Whisk in the warm milk and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, salt, pepper, and miso paste. (N.B.: Start with just two tablespoons of the miso paste, and taste. Add more as you like but it's important to taste and decide what you like!)
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat.
  7. Pour the pasta into a greased baking dish (big enough to hold your pasta—a 9- by 13-inch dish works, or a 2-quart or 3-quart dish) and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese and the panko.
  8. Bake the pasta for about 25 minutes. The pasta should be bubbling and the breadcrumbs should be browned.
  9. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Christina
  • Marsha Gainey
    Marsha Gainey
  • Joy Muller Bolger
    Joy Muller Bolger
  • Kate K
    Kate K
  • liguy

11 Reviews

Christina October 9, 2017
Sadly this recipe didn't work for me. The miso was a nice touch but 1 c. of breadcrumbs drowned out the recipe. They never browned, and overpowered any creaminess or cheesiness. I used regular breadcrumbs, not panko, but not sure that made any difference.
liz A. July 2, 2018
agree totally. interestingly, it seems 50/50 on this page with creaminess factor. mine also turned out dry. i also didn't even use the full cup of b-crumbs and felt it was way too much :-(
Marsha G. October 21, 2016
This was good. It was a nice mix of crunch on top and creamy in the middle. I added a handful of mushrooms and a handful of peas when I added the cheese, et. al. I also added 1/2 t. of nutmeg when I added the milk to the roux. I used an 8x8 glass dish to bake everything. I used 3 T. of miso, and my miso was reduced-sodium brown.
Joy M. July 26, 2016
We had this for dinner tonight - used whole wheat penne, and used just over 2 cups of 2% milk. Used a combination of mild cheddar, sharp cheddar, and parm, and about 1.5 T. yellow miso (what was in the 'frig). Cooked the pasta until just almost done so it wouldn't get mushy during the time in the oven. I prepared this in a small La Crueset Dutch oven and kept the lid on while in the oven, except for the last few minutes (with the heat turned off). We all liked it, including our 17 month old grandson, and his parents, who tend to like rich foods. The miso intensified the cheese flavor - good way to cut down on a few calories. This recipe makes me want to try miso to accentuate the cheese flavor in other dishes, and maybe reduce the fat calories without sacrificing calories. Thanks!
cpc February 27, 2016
We were not impressed with this recipe. I used 2T of miso. The casserole went into the oven pretty wet but came out very dry and kind of bland. I prefer Martha's Macaroni & Cheese 101 recipe.
Laura415 July 23, 2016
I use hers also with some add ins like bacon or veggies. This one has a similar method but lacks something with just the one kind of cheese. Martha Stewart's cheese combination of nutty swiss and sharp cheaddar makes wonderfully balanced Mornay sauce for the mac and cheese. I would use hers and try some miso in it.
Kate K. February 24, 2016
We had this for dinner yesterday. It was lovely, and with 2 T of miso deeply flavored without the miso taking over the cheese. I made it with three cups of milk and aged cheddar for an extra-creamy sauce, and that variation worked well.
liguy February 3, 2016
liguy February 3, 2016
liguy February 3, 2016
liguy February 3, 2016