Chrissy Teigen’s Mac and Cheese
This baked macaroni and cheese recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is super creamy and the cheesy garlic bread crumbs put it over the top! If you’ve been looking for a saucier baked macaroni and cheese, this recipe is for you.
Hypothetical (maybe) question… is there such a thing as too many macaroni and cheese recipes?
My vote (obviously) is NO! If that’s wrong, then I don’t want to be right. I’ve certainly settled in on some favorite recipes (among the, oh, dozen(!) that are in my archives), but when I saw a new one in Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook, I couldn’t NOT make it. We’ve had this discussion before, but that book is absolutely, positively, 100% better than I ever imagined it would be. I have yet to make a recipe from it that we didn’t absolutely love, and this mac and cheese recipe is no exception.
I generally like baked macaroni and cheese better than stovetop versions because I can throw bread crumbs on top, and I LOVE that crunchy contrast to the creamy mac and cheese. While I have a go-to baked mac and cheese, it is admittedly drier than stovetop versions, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but Chrissy Teigen’s recipe morphs the best of both worlds – the actual macaroni and cheese stays super creamy and saucy even after being baked, AND it’s topped with the most amazing homemade bread crumbs.
Let’s just face the ingredient list head-on before we go any further… there is A LOT of butter, A LOT of milk, and A LOT of cheese. No, they are not typos… yes, you really use that much. This is not a light macaroni and cheese, but it is absolutely, positively worth every decadent bite.
The upside to that is that this recipe really goes a long, long way so it’s perfect to serve to a crowd or freeze for a new mom, or your own dinner a month from now!
Since you’re making your own breadcrumbs, it might seem like a lengthy recipe, but this is how I tackled it to maximize time and minimize dishes (can you tell I’m currently knee-deep in mom life right now?!):
- While the water for the pasta was boiling and while it cooked, I prepared the bread crumb topping.
- After the pasta was done, I used the empty pot to make the sauce.
- While the mac and cheese was in the oven, I washed dishes (I always try to beat the oven and have everything cleaned up by the time whatever is in there comes out… am I the only one who does this? It’s like a game to me… perhaps I’m too competitive by nature, lol!)
I am SO ready for comfort food season (and today is finally breaking the insane hot and humid spell we’ve been having), and this mac and cheese recipe is going straight to the top of my list.
If you love baked mac with bread crumbs but want that super creamy, saucy stovetop texture, you are going to LOVE this recipe!
Two years ago: Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon-Maple Walnuts and Crumb Topping
Six years ago: Classic Apple Pie
Seven years ago: Fig and Almond Cheesecake
Chrissy Teigen's Mac and Cheese
For the Bread Crumbs
- 8 slices white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon (0.5 teaspoon) black pepper
- 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
For the Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound (453.59 g) pasta shells, I used medium size shells
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup (113.5 g) unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 5 cups (1220 ml) whole milk
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) cheddar cheese, shredded (3 cups)
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) Swiss or Gruyere cheese, shredded (3 cups)
- 12 ounces (340.2 g) American cheese, diced small
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter.
- Make the Bread Crumbs: In a food processor, process the bread until it forms fine crumbs (you should have about 4 cups crumbs). In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat. When it foams, add the garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, increase the heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until toasty and browned, 7 to 9 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper, remove from the heat, and transfer to a large plate to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
- Make the Mac and Cheese: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta according to the al dente directions on the package (if not included, cook for one minute less than called for). Drain, rinse, and toss with the vegetable oil to prevent sticking.
- In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium-high heat until melted. Add the flour and cook, constantly whisking, until it turns a light and toasty brown color, 3 to 6 minutes. Gradually add the milk while whisking, then increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, whisking, until it thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the cheeses, a few handfuls at a time, and whisk the sauce until smooth. Whisk in the salt, black pepper, and cayenne. Stir in the cooked pasta, and season to taste with more salt and pepper.
- Pour the mixture into the buttered baking dish and spread the bread crumbs evenly over the top. Bake until the topping is browned and crisp and the cheese is bubbling, about 8 minutes to 10 minutes. Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- If you cannot get American cheese where you live, a good substitute would be Colby cheese.
- The original recipe calls for 3/4 teaspoon or more cayenne pepper, but since I would be serving this to the boys, I just used a small amount. If you like spicy, ramp it up!
Did you make this recipe?
Leave a review below, then snap a picture and tag @thebrowneyedbaker on Instagram so I can see it!
I don’t have a food processor. Can I use fresh store bought breadcrumbs instead and maybe reduce the skillet time?
I don’t have a food processor. Can I use store bought fresh breadcrumbs instead?
Love this recipe! I’ve made it multiple times and it has never failed. I definitely recommend prepping the bread crumbs, shredding cheese, and crushing all that garlic the day before. Saves me so much time and i can just throw everything together. I personally prefer the swiss over gruyere, but thats just my opinion:). 10/10 flavor and texture. Chrissy is queen.
this recipe cost me 3 hours and my dignity. definitely a technique issue, but my sauce broke and i had to start over. it looked like the cheeses didn’t want to stick together. maybe a problem with the processed american cheese?
Re Chrissy Tiegen’s Mac & Cheese: Should the bread be fresh or stale?
Do you think this could be reheated in a crockpot? I have limited oven space on Thanksgiving. How would you incorporate the topping or would you leave it off?
Just made this today, exactly as written.
OMG it tastes SO GOOD!!!! 🙌🏻
I feel accomplished for a Sunday:)
Delicious! It’s really cheesy so I doubled the pasta ( I recommend 1 1/2-2 lbs). The breadcrumb looks difficult but it’s really not… I used my Nutri -bullet with 4 pieces of bread x2… Definitely a keeper!
Absolutely loved this recipe! I made it for the first time last year for thanksgiving and it was a crowd favorite and we had plenty left overs. I’m planning to make it again…I was wondering if its possible to prep the dish the night before and bake it the next day?
Hi Niki, Yes you can totally do that! So glad you enjoyed this!
I am making this for Thanksgiving tomorrow. How far ahead can I make this or should I try to do it all right before to serve hot out of the oven?
Hi Georgi, You can assemble everything the day before; I would just keep the breadcrumb topping separate and then put it on before baking. You may need to bake a bit longer if it’s still cool from the refrigerator.
This is our favorite mac n cheese!
When I make it I have to make a double batch. One 9×12 to eat, one 9×9 to freeze, & two 8×8’s to give to my daughter & her husband. The only changes I make are to add nutmeg, use less topping & use elbow macaroni. An immersion blender works wonders in achieving a smooth sauce.
My hubby is picky with his mac n cheese, this one hits all the marks for him.
I’ve never seen my 12 year old boys eat like they ate this Mac and cheese! It was delicious! My only complaint is the amount of dishes I had to wash after using 3 pots to make this. I didn’t find it difficult at all other than the dishes ;). The texture and consistency of the sauce were epic. I followed directions exactly and couldn’t even taste the cayenne and neither did my one son who HATES spice! I was afraid the amount of kosher salt would be too much but it wasn’t at all, it was just enough that you didn’t need to add salt or pepper after the fact. I’ll definitely make this again and bring it to a get together to share because it makes a TON! My kids can’t wait for leftovers and one of my twin boys is taking some for school lunch he loved it so. Thanks for allowing me one dinner who zero complaints!
Tried this out. This is no light mac and cheese. It was good right out of the oven. Not so good as leftovers. Agree with other users in that it could use more flavor and the sauce was just a bit too thick in my opinion. Not making it again.
You could add a little mustard powder, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce or worchestishire for more flavor. I can’t wait to try it. I read somewhere where someone tried 5 different famous recipe. This was winner!
Michelle, This mac and cheese was decadent and delicious! The garlicky breadcrumbs make it in my opinion. Ours was creamy and full of flavor. Thank you for sharing!
Hi Amy, You’re welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop back and leave a review!
Hi! Did you use Swiss or gruyere?
Hi Carolyn, I’ve made it multiple times using each, so good either way!
This recipe is phenomenal. It’s kind of unfair that the reviews that aren’t five stars are from people who didn’t follow the recipe :( There should be some kind of buzzer in people’s keyboard that disallows this.
I’m so happy you posted this recipe – after much struggling to find the best go-to mac and cheese recipe for me, I have finally found it here! As you said – its the perfect marriage of creamy sauce while still having the breadcrumb topping. I have made it on three separate occasions now, and here are some hopefully helpful notes for anyone who would like to try it:
– For the American cheese, double check you aren’t getting “imitation cheese product” that is not really made from dairy. These are specifically manufactured to not melt, and will give you a weird, lumpy texture in the mac and cheese
– I preferred using smoked Gouda instead of Gruyere. Gouda gave the sauce a much creamier texture, no graininess, and a wonderful smokey flavor.
– Don’t skimp on any of the ingredients! This is not a light recipe – if you skimp on anything, the final product will not be the same.
Hi! Do you think I could make this, refrigerate overnight, then cook it in the oven next day without affecting the flavor? Thanks!
Hi Ashley, Yes, I think that’s fine!
If you did a day ahead is it still ok to do the bread crumbs or should that be the day of?
Hi Carolyn, I think it would be fine!
Ashley, did you try doing it a day ahead? If so, how did it turn out?
I’ve been meaning to try to recipe since I bought the cookbook when it was first released and never got around to it! My brother is requesting Mac and Cheese for Thanksgiving and I thought this would be the perfect time to try it.
Regarding the American Cheese, I was initially thinking white american that is sold at the deli, but after seeing some comments I am scared to deviate from the recipe. What type of American Cheese did you use?
Hi Kacie, I used yellow American (from the deli – Land o Lakes brand). I don’t think yellow or white would matter!
Thanks for posting! It was fun to try. I made this last week, but skipped the bread crumbs – I just don’t really like them on mac and cheese. I will offer that I often struggle with cheese sauces. This was no exception. The taste was fine, but not amazing. I used swiss instead of Gruyere. The texture was not amazing. It wasn’t grainy, as some other reviewers have said – I did grate my own cheese. After baking, it was sort of as if the sauce had seized. It just seemed like there were little clumps of cheese stuck all over the pasta, rather than a uniform sauce that the pasta was floating in. I don’t know that I would make this again.
The breadcrumb topping is definitely what makes this mac and cheese fantastic, so I can see why – without it – it was nothing special. Definitely look for another recipe if you don’t intend to make the topping. For those who do make the recipe as written … get ready for deliciousness!
Love this Recipe! Sooo delicious. Brought leftovers to work and shared with my co-workers and everyone was in awe. Can’t get enough. This is a must make for the holidays.
I bought Chrissy’s cookbook based on your recommendation and actually had this on my meal plan list when you posted it on Facebook. It was absolutely delicious. Super creamy and the garlic in the crumbs was a nice change. I had to preplan this dinner as I live in Canada and we don’t carry things like American Cheese (we do have slices but I just don’t think they taste the same) so on my last visit over I made sure to get all the cheese I needed and I am so glad I did. This will be part of my regular rotation from now on. Thanks for sharing.
I love mac and cheese but not this particular recipe, sorry. I left out the garlic as it just seemed too much and we felt not on mac and cheese. Yes it made a lot, which, I will have to freeze. The flavor was bland, maybe it was the white cheeses and not yellow, I tripled amounr of cayenne too. Oh well, we all have different tastes.
Do you think it would be okay to cut in half and bake at 350°? I’ll be baking bbq meatballs at the same time and don’t have 2 ovens…
Hi Jessicah, You could definitely cut it in half, it makes A TON!
Do you think it would be okay to bake it at 350°? I will be baking bbq meatballs also but I only have one oven.
Hi Jessicah, You can, but it will take longer to brown and get bubbly!
Nice ! i love cheese and your dish looks so creamy with cheesy and am also tried to make it as you. Thanks so much and keep shared your new amazing recipes….!
We love mac and chee, and we were so looking forward to making this one. This is not a cheap dish.. The Gruyere alone was more than $15. Yes, the garlic bread crumbs were amazing. I’ll use that one on other recipes. However, for this one, there was waaay too much of it. Half would have been just fine. The sauce, however, was the big let down. Something is off with the ratio of butter to flour (we followed the directions to the hilt) but our sauce immediately separated and was grainy and bland. We added more cheese and dry mustard in the hopes of salvaging it, but even after baking, it was still blah and thin. Super creamy? No. And the mixes of cheese, honestly, if I hadn’t known I put Gruyere in it, I would’ve thought it was just your ordinary, garden variety Cheddar. The dish wasn’t inedible by any stretch, but we all agreed that it definitely needed finessing.
Hi PJ, Sorry you didn’t love this one! However, did you use preshredded cheese? That’s the only reason I could see why this would turn out grainy. The sauce was definitely thick and creamy for me, not thin at all, and it didn’t separate.
This dish looks amazing, and I can’t wait to make it for my family. Thanks for sharing.
Hello- I have the cookbook as well!! What other recipes have you tried and recommend?! I like to make stuff that I know you have tried and it’s worth my time!!
By the way, I love your slow cooker mac and cheese, that was a winner for me :)
Hi Ria, We’ve made and loved the Dutch baby pancake (that’s on regular rotation as breakfast-for-dinner here!), the Thai chicken lettuce wraps, drunken noodles (that was a BIG hit!)… I have so many more I’m waiting on cooler weather to make!
Try Patti LaBelle’s recipe. Normally I don’t eat Velveeta, but her recipe is a keeper,
I think I e made every Mac & Cheese you have posted so definitely gotta try this one. Our all time fav is the hatch chili Mac & cheese because we are huge fans of smoked Gouda! I’m with you on the clean up, I always try to get all the dishes cleaned up before dinners ready cause who wants to spend all that time cleaning up after dinner? You just want to relax!!
If you want to freeze this, do you freeze before or after baking?
Hi Juli, I would freeze it before baking, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then bake as directed, maybe adding an additional couple of minutes.
I do that too! Trying to beat the oven timer….get everything straightened up, dried, put away before dinner….. or else you have to do it later and you can’t relax! I love Chrissy’s book – like you – so much better and funnier than I thought it would be. There are quite a few great recipes in there and I’m tempted to try her chili next. Thanks for posting this one, I’ll have to try it soon. – PS If you ever made a list of recipes to make and freeze for new mommas, that would be awesome. I’m on #2, but I didn’t quite master the make and freeze for #1 and this time I have no choice. I must prepare because we have no family here and a 2 yr old. Prep prep prep! :)
I’d LOVE a list of recipes to make and freeze and…..HOW to freeze them best. Ziploc? Saran wrap? etc.
Hi Dana, I actually wrote a post on freezer meals last year right before I had Dominic: https://www.browneyedbaker.com/how-to-freezer-meals/. Let me know if you have any questions about any of it!
My favorite baked mac and cheese is Alton Brown’s. 1 type of cheese, but there’s ground mustard which really makes a difference. It is on the dry side though (but I’ve frozen it which gives it points, too).
Oooh I haven’t tried his yet, but my husband doesn’t like mustard (and can definitely sniff it out in mac and cheese), so I might have to leave that out.
I was sure I was going to love this recipe, but it was a lot of work for an average result. A ridiculous quantity of cheese and butter. Yes it’s creamy, (my pan overflowed), and it tastes okay, but Patti LaBelle’s recipe is still my favorite. This is in the middle of the the bunch I’ve tried. The bread crumbs are good though I think they need herbs.
I picked up this coobook a few weeks ago and it was definitely money well spent. I usually stick to my grandma’s baked macaroni and cheese recipe but I might have to try this out. I’ve been focused on the soups and potatoes from the book.
I completely agree about Chrissy’s cookbook. It’s one of my favorites I’ve purchased in a long time. I don’t know how I haven’t tried her mac anc cheese yet but you bet I’m going to now. Like this weekend.
I’m 100% with you. Her book was absolutely better than I ever expected and nope, “light” cooking does not describe her approach in the least. She is very generous with the cheese/cream/butter etc. and its soooo good.
Michelle, your photographs are drool inducing! I’d probably add a little freshly grated fresh nutmeg to this. As a substitute for all or part of the cayenne, what do you think about smoked paprika? The Penzey’s brand is a go to spice in my house.
Hi Molly, Thank you! I like smoked paprika but have never tried it in mac and cheese… go for it if it’s a favorite spice of yours!
You were the one who introduced me to Chrissy’s cookbook in your blog.. Thank you, thank you. So many great recipes. The chicken breasts with prosciutto was a five star recipe at a recent luncheon.
You’re welcome! I haven’t tried that one yet, will definitely do so soon!
This recipe is delish-Chrissy’s cookbook nas been a delightful surprise!
One tip for getting cheeses you’d normally see as slices- go to the deli counter and ask for a block of it-America, Swiss, Provolone, etc. Usually about one inch thickness equals one cup shredded! (Doesn’t hurt to bave extra- it never lasts in my house😉).