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Baked Mac and Cheese

Even people who have had their own homemade baked macaroni and cheese recipe for years ask for mine when they taste this crumb-topped version. For the best baked mac and cheese, use extra-sharp white cheddar cheese for more flavor. —Shelby Thompson of Dover, Delaware
  • Total Time
    Prep: 15 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente; drain.
  • In a Dutch oven, heat 1/3 cup butter over medium heat; saute onion until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended; gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted. Stir in macaroni. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish.
  • In a microwave, melt remaining butter; toss with bread crumbs. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, until heated through, 30-35 minutes.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Sharp cheddar cheese has been aged longer than regular cheddar. As cheese ages, its flavor becomes more pronounced. Using aged cheese in a recipe can add complexity and rich flavor, even to humble favorites like mac ’n’ cheese.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Taste of Home recipes are tested with lightly salted butter. Unsalted, or sweet, butter is sometimes used to achieve a buttery flavor, such as in shortbread cookies or buttercream frosting. In these recipes, added salt would detract from the buttery taste desired.
  • Don't miss the cheesiest recipes we've ever made.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cup: 689 calories, 37g fat (22g saturated fat), 104mg cholesterol, 834mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 3g fiber), 28g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • Cindy
      Jan 3, 2021

      Omitted the onions. Had good taste, we liked the bread crumbs (used Italian bread crumbs), but in our opinion was not nearly cheesy enough. Needs 1-2 more cups of cheese.

    • tammycookblogsbooks
      Oct 21, 2020

      We all liked this recipe! Used only 1/4 cup of diced onion. This dish was creamy & delicious.

    • Meghan
      Oct 17, 2020

      This was great! I left out the onion because my boyfriend and I are picky about ad-ins like that and it was still great! I also added pepper and kosher salt to the breadcrumb topping.

    • jaxclassact
      Aug 22, 2020

      WOW! I used shallots instead of onion, added 1/4 t. nutmeg and substituted Italian-style panko breadcrumbs. VERY satisfying and almost no clean-up! Will keep this one FOREVER, Thanks for sharing, Shelby!

    • Kristina
      Jun 29, 2020

      Nice recipe! In the sauce I ended up adding garlic powder, onion powder, and a bit more salt. For the topping, I mixed half breadcrumbs and half graham cracker crumbs which added some more flavor to the topping. Everyone loved it!

    • Ronald
      Apr 16, 2018

      No comment left

    • Babsy_Boop
      Feb 5, 2018

      Made at the last minute and had to leave out onions for one of the guests. It was awesome - "addicting" was the word that my daughter-in-law used. Definitely going in my "favorites" category. Thank You

    • cynandtom
      Dec 26, 2016

      A very good Mac and Cheese! I added a little freshly grated nutmeg and cayenne, as I always do when I make Mac and Cheese. I added crumbled bacon (that I had on hand from another recipe) , crushed potato chips, and more cheese to the topping.

    • s_pants
      Jun 16, 2016

      This was good, but it seemed like something was missing from the topping (though I did use gluten-free bread crumbs). If I make again, I would use seasoned bread crumbs.

    • Jacksteven
      Feb 10, 2016

      I have been looking for a great tasting mac and cheese recipe for a long time. This one surpasses all I have tried. I would definitely make it again. My husband loved it as well.