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!
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!