Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Cheesy Happiness - An Adjustable All-American Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."What do those words from the Declaration of Independence have to do with macaroni and cheese? Not really that much. They were both created by Thomas Jefferson, who would have been considered one of the greatest Americans in history had he just come up with one of those brilliant ideas, let alone two.

This video recipe shows the basic steps to making classic, old-school macaroni and cheese. The adjustable aspect comes in when you decide how much pasta to boil. Most mac and cheese recipes that use this amount of cheese sauce call for 8-ounces of dry elbow macaroni. This makes for a very rich, cheesy, and gooey casserole that yields about 4 portions.
In this version I use the same standard cheese mixture, but boil the whole pound of macaroni. This also produces a lovely, crispy-topped dish of mac and cheese, but yields about 8 portions. This version is very tasty, very cheesy, but certainly not as rich, moist, or gooey. Of course, as I mention in the video, you can use 12-ounces and split the difference.

I know you still may be working on your chocolate lava cake homework, but when you have time try this recipe, and vary the amounts of pasta to find your personal preference.

One thing you won't want to change is the perfect crust technique I use for the topping. The surprisingly small amount of crumbs, covering just the right a mount of cheese, cooked at just the right temperature, will produce crust that even Mr. Jefferson would have been proud of. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
1 lb elbow macaroni
3-4 cups of grated sharp Cheddar cheese, or whatever
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs plus 1 tbsp butter


Another Satisfied Customer

191 comments:

Mikan said...

I use a panko crust on my mac and cheese too. It really is yummy. :)

Michael said...

Chef,

We should use all cheddar, sharp cheddar cheese? Yellow or White? Both? Just one kind? :) I'm anxious to make this and want to make sure I'm not screwing up the cheese part (since it's fairly important!)

Thanks!

Susannah said...

Oh dear God in heaven. This is what I have been waiting for all of my life.

Chef John said...

all sharp cheese works best for me. white and yellow taste the same, depends on how you want it to look.

Anonymous said...

Enjoying this recipe very much. Canot wait to make this version! Thank you!! Questions--salted or unsalted butter? Saw you added salt--and wondered. Heard there is a signifcant difference for flavor in the rue.
Crumbly bacon and bacon fat on top with the panko may be nice, cause who doesn't like bacon. :)

Thanks again Chef!

StephanieAnn said...

I just found your blog, and I love it!! Thanks for the recipes! Mac and cheese is my absolute favorite comfort food and I loved the molten lava cake from before. I haven't had a chance to make these yet but I appreciate the recipes all the same.

Chef John said...

bacon yes. salted butter, never. I only buy unsalted butter.

Anonymous said...

Really? Only unsalted butter? Why? Why is it more expensive? Would you use it on a piece of toast? Butter a slice of no-knead bread? Please elaborate.
I will try this mac and cheese recipe. I have made your other mac and cheese recipe that uses whipping cream and am interested to see the difference.
I like to use some smoked cheddar.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you...

Seemingly such a basic "simple" dish that I can never get quite right.

This looks so-o-o-o-o-o good. I'm having it tomorrow. It's my patriotic duty! I have all the ingredients-even special extra sharp white Tillamook cheddar and some yellow cheddar for color.

I never thought I'd get so excited over mac and cheese.

You're simply the best.

Jackie

Chef John said...

copied from bruce on chowhound...
Salt was originally added to butter as a preservative. I suppose people just got used to the taste of salted butter. The truth is, unsalted butter is purer; more care must be taken in manufacturing to remove the milk solids (which are what spoils in the short term; butter, like any fat, will eventaully turn rancid, but that takes a long time). Unsalted butter is specified A) because the amount of salt you then add to your recipe will be a precise and known quantity, B) because it tastes better – more buttery and B) it's less apt to be old and have off flavors.

Michelle said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

i've been waiting for this video... will try e recipe soon during my hols...

just 1 qns, how many servings does this recipe, erm, serve?

do i make sense?

THANKS AGAIN! =D

Fabiano Mayor said...

Chef Johjn ....my name if Fabiano, and I am from Brazil, I am a great fan of yoursite, if you would like to share, learn or get any information about Brazilian cooking let me know.

Let me ask you something, do you know how to make that Aussie Bread that has honey flavor just like that one they serve in Outback ?

I really wanted to learn


thanks

Chef John said...

I mentioned in the post this will make between 4 and 8 servings depending on if you use 8, 12, or 16 oz of macaroni.

granny said...

This is going in the oven this weekend. Grand kids are coming. Well worth waiting for. Never would have thought to add the seasonings you used. Thanks

jeff said...

Did you get new editing software? Bravo!

Thanks for the great recipe,

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Thank you Chef. Salt in butter is a preservative yes. I saw Alton Brown make his own butter by using heavy cream run in a food processor to separate the butter. I did not know it was that easy.

Birder said...

This is the perfect classic, and it's wonderfully customizable. I've made this before and added lightly cooked garlic and onions to the roux, as well as substituted sriracha sauce for the cayenne pepper. Oh, and the sharper the cheddar, the better! I hope others will post their variations. I wonder how it would taste with a bit of Stilton crumbled in there...

Lucia said...

In Europe we don't really have that kind of pasta (elbow). What would you replace it for? Fusilli? Radiatori? I think normal penne would be not that great.

Chef John said...

I agree with not using penne, never liked it for M&C. I think Fusilli, Radiatori, or Elbowtini would work great.

Anonymous said...

So whatever happened to the whole transcript thing? Are they here but I just don't know where to look?

Chef John said...

they are just about ready, but I still have to decide how to charge for them, etc. I'm thinking of a Foodwishes Pro site where for a very small monthy fee, you get all the videos, plus transcripts, plus any cooking school videos. Still brainstorming!

Susannah said...

oh yeah. You need to do that.
You're so worth a monthly fee. You really are. I'm in.

DF said...

New York Times on obesity says if we cook at home more, we will lose weight. (Expert from UNC-Chapel Hill, Go Tarheels)

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/dining/04loser.html

Also, staying at home costs less in this economy.

You're on the cutting edge, Chef.

Anonymous said...

What is the difference in regular yellow mustard and dijon mustard? Is there a big taste difference?

Anonymous said...

What is the difference in regular yellow mustard and dijon mustard? Is there a big taste difference?

Chef John said...

yes, Dijon is made with wine. Taste them.

Pam said...

To FABIANO MAYOR: you could do an internet search for "Outback Bushman Bread" There are copy-cat sites that have this recipe available.

Milano Cafe said...

Made this for dinner tonight. Very nice. It was cold outside, and you're right to call it "comfort" food.

Anonymous said...

Chef...you are a wonder...made this tonight , it was unbelieveable ,so gooey and cheesey. Had it with fry tilipia with a crispy crust too. PANKO LIVES!!!!!!!They are the best keep secret in the foodie world..

John said...

Hi,

You don't list the breadcrumbs in your list of items.

Jairus said...

im guessin this roux doesnt work if you use whole wheat flour. my sauce didnt taste cheesy at all.

Chef John said...

whole wheat roux doesnt thicken as much, but has no effect on cheesiness.

Zee said...

Will it affect the taste if i dont add dijon mustard?

Chef John said...

yes, or it won't be in there! How much is up to debate.

Emmy said...

why was the video removed? it looks so good i want to watch it being made.

Chef John said...

?? not removed

AceTravis said...

I made this last night chef and I really messed up on the roux part. When the butter began to "sing" as you say, I dumped in the flour and it instantly got really clumpy. It was the color you said it would be but it looked nothing like the consistency your roux had. What did I do wrong here?

Chef John said...

If you measured right, then nothing, you just need to keep stirring until it's smooth.

Kate said...

I made this last night. I used the cheeses you used in the video (I'm kind of sick of plain cheddar), and it was fantastic!

JANET TRUMPER-WHITNEY said...

Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.
I have liked your blog. I will come again to your site. Keep it up!

Cheese said...

I just made this and mine turned out weird. I think I put to much nutmeg, because it was overpowering the cheese and everything else. It was only a dash though :(

Christopher said...

what if I were to use crushed pretzels instead of panko?

Chef John said...

you tell me...

Chef John said...

you tell me...

Christopher said...

you think they would burn?

Chef John said...

if fine enough should act the same as breadcrumbs, but I've never tried.

DENNIS KALBARCZYK said...

It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.Yours is a nice blog.

Nicholas said...

I decided to make this as my first ever DIY meal from "scratch" (except the noodles were store bought). My most adventurous meal previously was a PB&J pizza with chocolate chips and marshmallows that I made for my son.

I took it to a party and it was a hit! Nothing was left to bring home! I used cheddar and gouda and it was amazing.

I am so subscribed to this site.

Radian78 said...

Made this last night for the second time, turned out great again. 16oz served 9 people easy. Think next time I'll try 12oz to see what the increased cheesiness is all about!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John! I live in Honduras, and I really, really doubted I would EVER find panko, but the other day a found a whole lot of panko bags in the asian section of one of my favorite supermarket! Yay! I was so happy I found it! :D

I tried using panko in a couple of recipes instead of normal breadcrumbs and they turned out so different and even more delicious!
Thanks!!
AAH

Yubi Shines said...

In the mac and cheese my mother made, it has a milk/cream mixture that's been simmered with a bay leaf and cinnamon stick and clove. It makes the roux a little more scary since the milk won't be cold (when I tried it, for a moment I was holding a pan full of squishy pancake batter -- eep) but it works nicely.

Going Crazy In Michigan said...

wheres the video?!
i wanted to make this again but i need the video 8-(

Chef John said...

video looks fine, maybe check your browser. You can also watch on the Foodwishes Youtube channel

Amaliah said...

Hi Chef, could you recommend a recipe for fried chicken to go with the mac and cheese. Would appreciate it a lot. Thank you.

Chef John said...

Enter fried chicken in the search box top left, I already posted one

Going Crazy In Michigan said...

Ive done a version of this now several times, unfortunetly i dont have most of the ingredients due to just not having the money. what i tend to do is make the rue using just the butter milk flour and salt, then i use a bar of mild chedder and a half of sharp. ive tried all sharp and ive tried all mild cheddar and neither have really hit the nail on the head for me yet. its not bad considering all the missing ingredients. my biggest problem however is the i guess consistency of the cheese. its good but its not completely smooth and creamy. i almost think somehow im adding too much flour, even though im adding only as directed....not sure though...maybe you have an idea?

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John, I just want to say that you're the best cooking teacher ever! I was too scared to cook anything but when i saw your videos, they were so easy. My husband and my friends are sssooo impressed. Anyways, I made this mac and cheese and it came out grainy. Seem like the flour is uncooked? What do you think caused this?

Chef John said...

i wish i knew! was the sauce ok before u baked it??

Anonymous said...

I think the sauce was ok before I baked it. I was thinking that maybe I overcooked the sauce a little bit because my baby was crying and i left it for a few minutes. Do you think that might have caused that? By the way, my husband and I still finished the whole thing for lunch and dinner. :p

Amanda in MI said...

i have the same problem. its got that grainy problem whether i bake it or not...cant figure out the problem.

sadia said...

hey chef john...
i just made this mac n cheese at home n evrybody luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuvd it.....im sooo happy...thankyou sooo much 4 this delicious recipe....

Chef John said...

sooo glad you guys liked it!! I love it when celebrities make my recipes!

IdaPaulina said...

Hi, I made this today and it tasted a bit blend! I'm not sure what kind of cheese I used, it was cheddar, the only one they had at the store, problem is that I'm a non French speaking Swede living in Paris, so I didn't manage to figure out if I had a sharp cheddar or not. Anyways, to the point, the end result was not so cheesy, tastewise, the consistency and all was great, but the taste was kind of weak...I used 400g of cheese. Did I use too little? We don't measure cheese in cups here in Europe so I just took a guess at how much I might need...

Razors Edge said...

I just made this but used crushed Captain Crunch instead of the panko bread crumbs.. tasted very very nice. Thank you Dr. John..

BTW, do you rinse your macaroni?

Chef John said...

rinse? never!!

ihath said...

Loved the recipe. Thank you for sharing.

ihath said...

Loved the recipe. Thank you for sharing.

Tracey said...

I have always loved baked macaroni and cheese but just did not have a good recipe. This is the best. Tonight I have made it from this recipe for te second time since I stumbled across it on youtube. Comes out perfect with never having leftovers.

Thanks for a great recipe.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef, I made the m&c and the white sauce turned out great..then I put int he sharp cheddar and let it cook but it had a grainy texture to it.. what did I do wrong?.. besides that, even my teen ate it! And to him if it not fast food to its not food...Im slowy winning that fight with your help..Thank you!

Chef John said...

you can't cook the cheese, you have to turn off the heat when you add the cheddar. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Ooops sorry I was not clear, my fault.. I did turn off the heat. I meant "melt" the cheese in the white sauce. Trying the Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo recipe tonight!

Cem said...

Hello Chef :D

i am going to make it for my Parents today, i hope they like it but, i guess we dont have Chedder cheese here at Germany so I´ll try Gouda.


With friendly greetings

Anonymous said...

Chef.. My last post I asked why my cheese sauce had a little grainy texture to it even when I turned off the heat. I was just watching a food show and they said use whole milk not 2% or your sauce will break.. is this true?

Chef John said...

yes, the more fat, the less chance it breaks

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Chef! Now I know what I did wrong.. I will have to make it again.. yaay me!:)

April said...

Could I use
regular pepper ?

Chef John said...

yes!

barret08 said...

Is it still safe to use 2% milk? I bought 2% from the market when I was grabbing all the ingredients. By break, do you mean curdle?

Chef John said...

I prefer full fat milk which doesn't curdle as easy, but have used 2% before and it's ok

Chef John said...

I prefer full fat milk which doesn't curdle as easy, but have used 2% before and it's ok

Chef John said...

I prefer full fat milk which doesn't curdle as easy, but have used 2% before and it's ok

Alexandra said...

Hello, I just made this for my kids and they loved it. For me, I think it's missing something. I added some black pepper and it brought some flavors out but that something is still missing. Any suggestions on what to increase or add extra? If not, is one of the best I've made so far.

Chef John said...

sounds like a salt issue to me. add more salt and/or more sharp cheddar

Sepi said...

I made this today and it was really excellent. I used half mild cheddar and half of some special sharp white - I wish I remembered the name.

I also served it with cranberry bean ragout, which made an excellent combination.

Dessert was raspberry clafouti (following your cherry clafouti recipe only with raspberries instead).

For some reason today I also started being really clever and witty and I'm beginning to grow a moustache.

Chef John said...

LOL, you'll look great with a stache!

Taskaro said...

hey chef john, i'm making this right now and it looks GREAT. however i've been planning to save it for tomorrow around 12:15 ish so that i can serve it at a class party. should i oven cook the crust in the morning or right now? its 9:30 PM hehe

jennifer said...

I made this just the way you instructed and it is my new favorite. It makes the Mac-N-Cheese I made before look boring. I love this recipe! Thanks so much for it!

Anonymous said...

For those who are having the "grainy" problem, in my opinion cheddar cheese is not the best cheese to use. I know I'm going to get flamed, but I switched to American Sharp by Land O Lakes and it melts wonderfully and it has a nice sharp kick to it. I couldn't stand the funky texture of melted cheddar and since I started using the LOL sharp, it is the best Mac n cheese ever. Ok flame away

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,

I just made this and was very yummy! Everyone enjoyed but when I watched your video, your sauce was very light colored. Mine was relatively dark even before I poured the milk in. My butter did not "sing", it just kind of burned so I added the flour and let it go on...what do you think I did wrong to end up with a sorta dark colored sauce?

shellie said...

Hi Chief.

I have sent this recipe to my family.
This is the best mac and cheese that I have ever made.

Thanks and Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Hi chef,
I just made this and the cheese sauce didnt turn out to be as smooth looking as yours, theres a slight weird grainy texture in the cheese sauce. I think my problem was when i made my roux, the flour mixed with the butter to form sandy and clumpy lumps.

any tips? I NEED HELP!!

Mel said...

Hi Chef John!

I just stumbled onto this site from looking up mac&cheese recipes and after seeing your video, I really want to make it now!

Question, if I substitute shell pasta for the elbow macaroni do the same rules of thumb still apply?
I.e.
-8 oz. for rich & gooey
-16 oz. for light & luscious

Thank you!

Chef John said...

yes!

Anonymous said...

For those of you who tried this recipe and came up with a thick, clumpy roux (mine kinda looked like mashed potatoes) I think I might have figured out why this is happening--you need to use more butter (or less flour). If you use equal proportions of flour and butter the absorbent flour will just take in all the butter and you'll be left with a thick substance which looks nothing like what Chef John made in his video.

I recommend you use a little more than twice as much butter than flour. I tested this out using 1/4 cup of butter and about 1/8 cup of flour and the roux looked much like that in the video. Also, I believe it eliminates the "graininess" found in the finished product, as since the roux becomes clumpy it shows up in the end cheese sauce.

Hope this helps a little!

Chef John said...

not true! I used what I list in the video and it works fine. Let the butter melt and flour cook for a minute. it WILL smooth out and get pasty. Give it a minute. NO need to double the butter! Rouxs have been roughly half fat/flour since they were invented.

Razzmatazz said...

Just found your site-first time using one of your recipes.

I used the exact proportions in the recipe and the Mac n Cheese was perfect. And the panko.....I was a hit! My house full of college students loved it as I served it along side the mushroom veggie burgers.

Thanks!

Bubby said...

I have always wondered how to make Macaroni and Cheese from scratch because I figured out that, contrary to the name, that isn't all of the ingredients.

Thank you for posting this! (p.s. found you through YouTube)

Grant - Australia said...

Hi Chef John.

The first attempt at the Rue, it turned brown after a 2 mins with the flour and got worse in the S/S Pan, I tried again in a cast iron pan and it seemed better, it still turned a slight brown but not as bad. I Added Tasty cheese slices chopped up with Regano Parmigano and Parmasen, all the other ingredients including the salt and the chesse sauce was pretty nasty, very salty and too spicy. The Panko turned out great, it had a wonderful crunch when I cut into it, its a pity though the cheese sauce was way too salty and too spicy. You put cayenne in a lot of foods, is this just your thing?
Also were the cheese's I used already salty enough, sorry but I have to question your reason for so much salt...
Grant.

Chef John said...

It's not the pan, if the roux turns brown the heat it too high. In all recipes salt and cayenne are "to taste" meaning, add a little, taste and adjust. Also, do you use Reggiano Parmigano and Parmasen? Because you don't need the Parmasen if you use Reggiano Parmigano. Never add the amount of salt given in a recipe until you taste first! Good luck!

Grant - Australia said...

Ok Roux Take 2

Thanks Chef John...

I tried again today, making Macaroni and cheese from your website, also viewed the making of the different white sauces and maybe its one of my ingredients, because the Roux + Cheese didnt combine, it just looked mean and tasted weird.

My Roux I used cooking butter, 1/4 cup, 1/4 flour, bit of thyme, s+p, "Fat Reduced Milk" Like 99% reduced.

I simmered the butter, till it stopped singing, maybe a min or two past this happening, added the flour and mixed well and simmered on low heat for 4 mins, it had a grey brown light tan, I added the salt and pepper, thyme, cooked for 1 min, added the milk in portions, 3 cups, waiting on that to come to a boil and once that was done, added some Tasty Shredded Cheese. Around 4 cups, it just didnt combine completley and had lots of small lumps.

Of all the items I have use, is there one that is mucking it all up?

Grant - Australia said...

Oh and I use plain flour, not self raising, is this correct and thanks for the advice on the cheese...

Ruth Rivera said...

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You! I will be making this dish. I have been waiting for a good mack and cheese dish and this one looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chef, tonight I made this for the 2nd time & it turned out absolutely amazing!

John

Bobby said...

Hi Chef John,
I love all your recipes but, I always have trouble making the roux. Everytime I try this one it comes out sandy and dry. It looks nothing like yours. I used exact proportions, but it never works for me. I could use some help.

Chef John said...

sorry, no idea! Add more butter then.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,

In most of your pasta videos, you advocate under-cooking the pasta so it reaches the right consistency while absorbing the sauce.

I'm wondering with a baked pasta dish like Mac&Cheese, do you want to under-cook the pasta even more? It seems like there will be a lot more cooking happening as it sits in the oven...

Thanks!
Mike

Chef John said...

You can under cook a bit, but mac and cheese is not a dosh where we want the pasta al dente, you want soft and cheesy.

Suchi said...

Chef John I made this for dinner today and it was the best. Mentioned you in my food blog as well. http://ourkitchenkarma.wordpress.com/

Thanks,

Suchi

Lamonté said...

I made this along with your cheesecake recipe. Both turned out fantastic! 1lb of macaroni was perfect with the amount of cheese sauce this recipe makes....for my liking at least! The crust was also perfect! Just delicious! Will be my new go-to recipe from now on, no more boxed mac n cheese for me!

Anonymous said...

Can you use normal thin bread crumbs? Or will it not taste as delicious?

Anonymous said...

For the domestic chefs in Michigan, try our very own Pinconning cheese (block-style), named for Pinconning, Michigan, instead of sharp cheddar. There is nothing creamier or richer for your Mac&Cheese. It melts perfectly with no graininess. Simply luscious and clings seductively to your choice of pasta!

Anonymous said...

This recipe and your other mac and cheese recipe were my inspiration for a...tuna noodle casserole!

And man oh man, it was the most delicious tuna noodle casserole we've ever had!

I did everything this video said to do for the sauce, except I used 1:1 bacon fat and butter for the base, omitted the Worstechire (I didn't have any), I doubled the amount of Cayenne and added about a tsp of hot sauce. I also used 3 pts cheddar to 1 pt parm-regg for cheese.

I used half (8 oz) of spiral noodles.

I added one can of tuna, and 2 cups of frozen peas/carrots/green-bean mixture (I microwave-boiled them before putting them in the sauce).

Then the topping: I couldn't decide which topping from your 2 recipe's to use, I had panko, chips, and parm all on hand, so I decided to combine your 2 recipes for the topping! So I mixed 1/2 cup panko, with 2 tbsp melted butter, 1/3 c. crushed chips, and about 1/8 c. of parm. and mixed it all together!

I topped my mixed tuna casserole with a little cheddar and then the combined topping, and then topped with some chopped fried bacon (that I had fried earlier for the fat base)

20 minutes at 400.

Anyway, it was amazing. It was spicy and the flavors and crunch and texture...so divine! We've never had a more delicious tuna casserole in our entire lives!

Thanks for the inspiration, chef! This one is definitely a keeper for our family!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John! I only have 2 cups of cheese will that still work?

Anonymous said...

The grainy problem some people might be having might be due to them tasting the cheese sauce and then putting the spoon back into contact with the sauce. Saliva (even tiny amounts!) breaks down the creaminess of cheese sauces. Sometimes if we are cooking just for ourselves it doesnt seem like a big deal to just use that same tasting spoon... but it is!

Chef John said...

The recipe will still work, but it just won't be that cheesy = not as good.

Anonymous said...

Chef: Can I make this dish the night before I want to serve it? I was thinking that I would put everything in a casserole dish with the topping and then store it in the fridge and bake it the next evening for dinner. Would that work? Thanks in advance! Karen

Gluten Sucks said...

This recipe looks interesting but im wondering if it would work if i alter it to be gluten free? Do you have any suggestions on the effects gluten free might make on the recipe?

Chef John said...

Sorry, but I adore gluten and have no GF experience. I would imagine there are tons of GF blogs that cover pasta replacements though.

Ebony said...

I have everything except for the Panko breadcrumbs and the worcestershire. Can I sub soy sauce for worcestershire and use whatever breadcrumbs I have on hand.

Chef John said...

Sure!

Athena/Chin Yu said...

hi chef! i have no thyme with me. will this recipe be as good without it? or can you mention any good substitute?

Chef John said...

not really a sub. I like it better with, but you can leave out of you have to. enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Great recipe, Chef John! I've always failed with Mac and Cheese recipes, but, this one turned out just as advertised! My only minor problem would be the flavor wasn't as cheesy as what I'd like, but, I can experiment with different kinds and amounts down the road.

All in all, I was quite impressed. Your recipes and technique are easy to understand and follow. Thanks for helping all of the cooking newbies out there! :)

Cheers,

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Recipe is crazy good.
Want to remind people that if the mac&cheese top is overdone it does not make for good leftovers.
As awesome as this is, there are so many things you can do with it, ranging from toppings to bacon wrapping and deep frying squares.

Anonymous said...

Can i keep the mac and cheese in the fridge after having cooked it? If so, for how long can I keep it?

Johnny Dam said...

I love this recipe and have even improved upon it making it the best Bacon Mac & Cheese I have ever tasted.

With the following additions:
Before you begin:
1) Cook one pound of bacon saving a 1/8 cup of bacon grease

2) Cut the bacon into smaller pieces and then grind it up to about the size of coarse pepper. (I use my Magic Bullet for this task)

3) Pour the saved bacon grease into the sauce pan with the butter (See recipe)

4) Follow the recipe to the letter and after you add the cheese, add all but a 1/4 cup of the bacon.

5) Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of ground up bacon just before you add the Panko bread crumbs

6) Instead of roasting for 20 minutes, roast for 25 min.

Johnny Dam said...

For an additional kick of flavor, I boiled the pasta in New Castle Nut Brown Ale.

Anonymous said...

I've been making this since the video came out. Call me a heretic, but I toss in about a cup of Texas Pete's Buffalo Sauce instead of some of the other spices. Buffalo Alpha-Strike Mac N Cheese!

Godsjoy said...

I REALLY love Chef John's style and commentary - you are so fun to watch and listen to! I also got RAVE reviews on your Chocolate Mocha Pot de Creme...but I have to say, I leave out the coffee and renamed it "Truffle in a Cup" - HUGE HIT! WOW!

But this mac 'n cheese recipe isn't for us. I guess we like it plain jane - no thyme, mustard, etc. for us, but the rest of the directions make for a wonderful mac 'n cheese dish! :) Thanks! :)

Bermudaguy said...

I made this with some tinned diced tomato's....it was very yummy :)

Natalie said...

Hi Chef, if I make this recipe for 8 people and want the cheesier version, do I also double the milk to 6 cups, Basically my question is do I multiply all the ingredients by 2 or just the cheese?

Chef John said...

Just the cheese! But I would still make 2 pans for that many people. This makes 8 small portions.

Natalie said...

Wow, thanks Chef for your fast reply! You're Awesome! Happy Ressurection Day!

Anonymous said...

i want to make this mac & cheese in a 18 qt electric roaster, should i do the same directions ?

kent said...

Thanks for a great recipe!

I`m a Norwegian, living in Norway, but I was able to get hold of all the original ingredients, even the panko :)

Great to have the original american Mac & Cheese served here in Norway!

Daniel said...

If I were to use this recipe but use pimento peppers or pimento cheese, when would I add the pimento peppers?

Nepenthe said...

Chef John, if I were to top this with asparagus, do I bake longer?

Chef John said...

No, but I'd mix in, not top, it will get all dried out.

Nepenthe said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Muahh! (that's throwing you a kiss, btw...lol)

Allen said...

Hi Chef John,
I really want to make this dish, it looks delicious! Do you think it would be ok to add other cheeses as well> I just really love gruyere cheese and it would be great to have in my mac and cheese...thanks!

Chef John said...

You can add any cheeses you want! But the sharper the better.

Aishen said...

Hi Chef John! I just tried making mac and cheese following your video. But my cheese sauce probably isn't right. I'm not sure what i did wrong. It tastes slightly sort of 'gritty' or flowery?, maybe i put too much flower into the roux? Or is it the type of cheese i used? I used cheddar and young gouda. :/ Well.. maybe i need practice.

Chef John said...

hard to say, but maybe you need to cook the flour more? Cheese gets gritty if you simmer it, so make sure your heat is not on.

Anonymous said...

Family says very good! My middle child has acquired a taste aversion to boxed mac and cheese. (Flu last winter) I'm glad. I prefer to feed my family real food. This turned out fantastic! My daughter thought I should have put the extra optional cup of cheddar in. Will try next time. Also split the difference and cooked 12 oz. of pasta.

Anonymous said...

hey chef, great recipe :) what i did was left out the dijon and used a sweet and spicy red pepper mustard in its place. i also mixed all my seasonings into the flower before i mixed the roux (i dont know if it matters)and i used a piece from ur ovenless mac , crushed jalapeno kettle chips on top of the panko. you should try it with the crushed chips its amazing :)
thnx again chef, keep'em coming

Anonymous said...

I've been using this recipe for years now & have long since memorized the recipe, but always make a habit of watching prior to making your mac cheese because I enjoy this vid so much :)

Anonymous said...

Love this recipe, have made it multiple times, and have (what I think is) a great suggestion. Use the base recipe but:

1) Sub 1/4-1/2 of the cheddar for smoked gouda and

2) Add mushrooms, either fresh and sauteed in the butter very well, or rehydrated dry wild mushrooms.

This takes the awesome M&C and turns it into an earthy, smokey, delicious win.

basilwhitedotcom said...

If you're just trying to brown the top, why don't you broil it?

basilwhitedotcom said...

If you're just trying to brown the top, why don't you broil it?

Beanie said...

I was looking for something relatively easy, and knew I'd find it on your site! I had a 2 cup package of cheddar and about 3/4 block of cream cheese! Very good!!

Shankara Umaputra said...

All I can say about this recipe is WOW!

I went on vacation to the Bahamas once and had something called Bahamian Johnny cakes. I've never seen them since, and all I can remember is how good they were the time...

have you ever heard of them before and if so, do you have a recipe posted somewhere for them?

Roger from
San Antonio

Tisha said...

I was wanting to make this tonight but the video has been removed. Is there anywhere else that I may find it?

Chef John said...

Try now!

bb said...

How many people can this recipe serve? Thanks!

Chef John said...

probably 4?

BooKat said...

Can I make and assemble this a day ahead and just bake it up the next day? I really want to make this as a side at my Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday. Help a fellow North Bayer out....puh lease....

BooKat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chef John said...

Sure! Takes a little longer to cook since everything is cold.

BooKat said...

Thanks for the prompt response. You are the man!

Akeam Brouwers said...

I want to make this for a dinner party but I live in Holland and cheddar cheese is very expensive and not common. What other cheeses go wel with a dish like this?
Can I use Gouda? And should I use jong gouda cheese or old gouda cheese?

Desmond Blackstone said...

Chef John, how much more cheese/milk would I need if I wanted to have a pound of macaroni oozing with cheese like the 8oz variation?

Desmond Blackstone said...

Chef John (or anyone for that matter) How much more milk and cheese would you need to get a pound of macaroni oozing with cheese like the 8z variation?

Chef John said...

Just double the cheese/sauce part! You may have some extra, but you can throw it on some broccoli ;)

ChristineDux said...

For years I have been pulling out my Fannie Farmer cookbook to get the ingredient proportions for (1) bechamel sauce, plus (2) cheese sauce (one of the bechamel variations, plus (3) macaroni and cheese itself, where the pasta, bread crumbs, and cheese on top come in. What a pain.
Anyway, Marion Cunningham says under the bechamel recipe, "The foolproof way to attain a perfectly smooth sauce is to have the milk hot when added to the butter and flour. It uses an extra pot, but as you become more proficient, this cautionary measure may not be necessary."
So now, Chef John, with your help and some cold milk I've reached proficient perfection. Thanks!

Lyla Mendes said...

Hi form Portugal!

I'm right now preparing to do this lovely and amazing recipe, but I'm having a bit of a hard time to know how much is 1 cup in kilograms. If you could help me i would very much apprecciate.

Thank you

Chef John said...

A cup is volume not weight, but it's 240ML in size. Enjoy!

Matthew Wenzel said...

Does pouring the milk in too quickly affect the consistency? I just tried this recipe and poured in the first cup of cold milk a bit too fast, and it came out a little chunkier than yours did.

Chef John said...

It can. but if you keep whisking it should smooth out. Next time turn off the heat, add milk, and then return to heat. This helps some people. Also, you can always strain. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi chef, i would like to know what the weight in grams are for the dry ingredients please (for instance: flour, butter and cheese.

Chef John said...

Sorry, I don't have metric for the recipes. But if you Google there are many convertors you can use!

Brian said...

Hey Chef, just to be sure, what size baking dish are you using? Also, does it matter if it's ceramic or can it be just clear glass? (which is all I own at this present time)

Chef John said...

I believe it's 13x9, and any type will work! Enjoy!

Dylan Tan said...

Hi Chef John!

My girlfriend and I love watching your videos and trying out the recipes you make.
One question though, is it possible to use oregano as a replacement for thyme?

Thanks and keep cooking!

Dylan Tan said...

Hi Chef John!

My girlfriend and I love trying out your recipes and watching your videos together! We saw how awesome this looked and can't wait to try it out.

One question though, is it possible to replace thyme with basil or any other herb? Where we live, (Singapore) it is quite expensive to get herbs.

Thanks again for the great recipes and your fantastic commentary during the videos!

itsErika said...

I just put this in the oven :-) I'm so excited, the sauce tasted great and I decided to add some cooked bacon on the top along with the panko and cheese. I double the recipe because its for thanksgiving dinner and I really hope my family likes it

Dimitri said...

which way would be best way to serve this 3 hours later?

heating tray or warming it somewhere else or even ( dare i say it) a microwave??

Chef John said...

the last 2 are best

Anne Grossman said...

Hello Chef John, Can this recipe be made with "low fat" ingredients? I would like to use non-fat milk, low-fat cheese etc. I lOVE this recipe but want to make it a way that we can have it more often. My waste line cannot take this! I know that some recipes don't work if you get rid of much of the fat. Thanks!!!

Anne Grossman said...

Hi Chef John. I would like to lower the fat and calories for this recipe. Can I use non-fat milk and low-fat cheese or will the effect the recipe?

Chef John said...

IMO, low fat versions are not worth it!

J. Charles Chaplin Churchill said...

Chef John, would it be okay to prepare the mac & cheese, sprinkle top with panko and cheese, and then refrigerate for several hours? I was thinking about preparing this and bringing it to a party; the idea was to bake it there.

J. Charles Chaplin Churchill said...

Can I refrigerate this for a couple of hours before baking? My hope was to prepare this, sprinkle top with panko and cheese, and then refrigerate before bringing it to a party to bake. What do you think, chef? Would it be better to bake immediately after and transfer the hot dish to the party?

Chef John said...

Yes you can! Just make sure you cook it long enough afterward.

Roger said...

For the roux you use 1/4 cup butter and flour. In a traditional roux its 5:6 (butter:flour). In this recipes it converts to 56 gram butter and 31 grams flour. I'm curious whats the thought behind this?

Your recipes use CUPS, i assume its US? But thats not truly clear, and might be confusing ;-)

Kathy Sabol said...

I just made this tonight for dinner and the texture was grainy. I think the sauce separated. The roux looked good. I used cold whole milk, adding 1 cup at a time. By the time it was done simmering, it looked like it had broken a little. It didn't improve when I added the cheese. What did I do wrong? The only difference I can think of was that my thyme was ground and looked more powdery that yours in the video. I had a little trouble getting it down to a simmer - it was not a hard boil, but it was more than a simmer. Can that break it?
One the positive side, despite the texture, we all loved the flavor. I want to try it again, but I'm not sure what to change.

Kathy Sabol said...

I just made this tonight and it turned out grainy. The sauce separated a bit before I added the cheese. The roux looked good, I used cold whole milk, added one cup at a time, and it looked good all the way to the end of the simmer. At that point it seemed to be separating. Where did I go wrong? The only differences I can think of was my thyme was ground and had a more powdery texture that yours in the video. And I had a little trouble bringing it down to a simmer. I wasn't a hard boil but it was a little more than a simmer.
On the good side, despite the texture, everyone loved the flavor. I want to make it again, but need help making it smooth.

Chef John said...

Graininess usually comes from the cheese cooking too much. Also, not sure why you are letting this boil, you need to keep you heat lower it sounds. Other than that I have no way of telling for sure! Watch the video again, and give it another try! Enjoy!

Zuhaira Zulkifli said...

Hi, chef John! I don't have Dijon mustard. Can I use dry mustard instead? If yes, how many teaspoon? :)

Chef John said...

Not sure, maybe 1 tsp?

Emily said...

I made this and also had the grainy burning problem. I found out it was because I had my heat on too high and I was not stirring the roux enough because I was trying to cook my pasta around the same time, too. Make sure you are stirring it a lot and keeping an eye on it!

Matthew stevens said...

Mmmmm put some bacon in mine with a pinch of cayenne, and some fresshhhhly ground Black pepper.... turned out great thanks.