Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Panko Topping

One of the ultimate comfort food casseroles! This is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. If you really like the crunchy topping, go ahead and add more Panko to suit.


  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 18 oz sharp or extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 8 oz gruyere or fontina cheese, grated
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni


  • 3/4 cup panko
  • 2 Tbs butter
  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish or 9 x 13 pan; set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter. Measure panko into a small bowl and pour butter over panko and toss. Set aside.
  3. Melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a 3 1/2 quart or larger saucepan. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, stirring, 1 minute.
  4. Slowly pour milk into flour-butter mixture while whisking. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in salt, mustard, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and roughly 2/3 of each of the cheeses. Stir until the cheese is melted and incorporated into sauce. Set cheese sauce aside.
  6. Cook pasta 2 to 3 fewer minutes than manufacturer’s directions, until outside of pasta is cooked and inside is underdone. Drain well. Stir macaroni into the reserved cheese sauce.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese; scatter panko over the top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes; serve.

Servings: 12