Best Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe By : Heavenly Recipes

Creamy macaroni + parmesan breadcrumbs =the best macaroni and cheese recipe ever! After backing, try and stay away for 15 minutes to allow it to cool.


Prep Time


Total Time


Best Macaroni and Cheese


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

¾ cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

¼ ounce Parmesan, finely grated (about ¼ cup)

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more

8 ounces cavatappi or other short curly pasta

2 cups whole milk

½ small onion, grated

1 garlic clove, finely grated

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup Fontina cheese, grated

1 cup Gruyère, grated

4 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated (about 1 cup)

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

Pinch of cayenne pepper


    STEP - 1

    Preheat oven to 350°. Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko and cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden brown, 6–8 minutes (make sure to get them toasty brown; they won’t darken much during baking). Transfer to a small bowl and toss with Parmesan, thyme leaves, and ¼ tsp. salt.

    STEP - 2

    Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente (the noodles will continue to cook in the cheese sauce, so take them out a minute or two before you think they’re actually done). Drain pasta; let cool while you make the sauce.

    STEP - 3

    Bring milk to a bare simmer in a small saucepan; keep warm. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until onions are fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour over and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture starts to stick to bottom of the saucepan, about 1 minute. Add warm milk in a few additions, whisking to combine after each addition.

    STEP - 4

    Bring béchamel sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened and doesn’t feel grainy when a little bit is rubbed between your fingers, 6–8 minutes (cooking the flour thoroughly at this stage ensures a creamy sauce). Add Fontina, Gruyère, cheddar, mustard powder, cayenne, and ¾ tsp. salt and stir until cheeses are melted and sauce is smooth. Remove from heat and mix in pasta; transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish.

    STEP - 5

    Bake 10 minutes. Top with Parmesan breadcrumbs and bake until sauce is bubbling around the edges, 8–10 minutes longer. Let cool in pan 15 minutes before serving.

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