Chef John's Macaroni and Cheese

Chef John's Macaroni and Cheese

Chef John 21744

"This easy-to-make old-school macaroni and cheese has a perfectly crispy crust."


55 m servings 695 cals
Serving size has been adjusted!

Original recipe yields 6 servings



  • Calories:
  • 695 kcal
  • 35%
  • Fat:
  • 32.3 g
  • 50%
  • Carbs:
  • 72.8g
  • 23%
  • Protein:
  • 29.4 g
  • 59%
  • Cholesterol:
  • 95 mg
  • 32%
  • Sodium:
  • 928 mg
  • 37%

Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling, stir in the macaroni, and return to a boil. Cook the pasta uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is cooked through but still slightly firm, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam and bubble, stir in the flour; cook on medium heat until flour just begins to turn pale yellow, 3 to 4 minutes. Add thyme, cayenne pepper, and white pepper; cook and stir another minute, then whisk in 1 cup of milk until smooth. Pour in remaining milk and whisk again. Bring the sauce just to a simmer.
  4. Stir in nutmeg, Worcestershire sauce, and salt; simmer on medium-low heat until thickened, about 8 minutes, whisking often. Turn heat off, then add 2 1/4 cups of Cheddar cheese; stir until melted and combined. Add Dijon mustard.
  5. Transfer the macaroni into a casserole dish, then pour in the cheese sauce; stir to thoroughly combine sauce with pasta. Mix panko bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon melted butter in a small bowl, and sprinkle crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of Cheddar cheese on top.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until bread crumbs and Cheddar cheese topping are golden brown, about 20 minutes.


  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.
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  1. 638 Ratings


I made this for the boys before I went to work last night. I did not try this myself but based on the message I got at my break--they absolutely loved it. To be honest, there were no leftovers f...

Oh boy! I finally found the best macaroni and cheese I have ever had. I followed the recipe exactly, except I used only 12 oz. of macaroni, to make it more cheesy. It was a perfect ratio. I ...

Lordy, all anyone wanted was the crust. New rule, take what's UNDER the crust, too. This was the closest to my mom's, and all kidding aside, a terrific success.

Very good. I am thinking that the people who commented that they were overpowered by the taste of thyme must have used ground thyme instead of dried thyme leaves. 1/4 tsp. of dried thyme leave...

The best mac and cheese I have made in a long time. My family all stated the same. I followed the recipe with the exception of a couple of changes. After reading the reviews, I cut the pasta by ...

My family really loved this dish. The only changes I made was 1/8 cayenne (because of kid), made only 12 oz. of macaroni and used black pepper. I didn't have panko crumbs so I made my own crum...

Delicious! Very easy and kid-friendly. Use a little less pasta if you like your mac and cheese very saucy -- this wasn't overly saucy, but had great flavor. It's easy to make changes according t...

Tried this recipe because I was starting to think my tried and true mac&cheese was a little bland. I was skeptical of the thyme so only filled the 1/4 tsp about 2/3 full. Followed everything e...

Tweaker alert. I used the basic recipe but changed the seasonings due to my "NON-Gourmet" children who will never eat Thyme flavored anything. The sauce recipe works fantastic & I was quite prou...