Tested till perfect Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
Photography by Jeff Coulson

Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese

If comfort food is what you're after, nothing beats a generous helping of creamy, oozy mac and cheese. This recipe is the yummiest version – and the only one you'll ever need.

By Jennifer Bartoli and The Test Kitchen

Source: Canadian Living Magazine: November 2013

Recipe4 out of 5 based on 248 ratings.
  • rating starrating starrating starrating starrating star
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Total time 1 hour
  • Portion size 8 servings


  • 3 cups 3cupselbow macaroni, (about 450 g)
  • 3 tbsp 3tbspbutter
  • 3 3cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp 1tspchopped fresh thyme
  • 1/3 cup 1/3cupall-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 4cupsmilk
  • 2 tbsp 2tbspDijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4tspgrated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp 1/4tspeach salt and pepper
  • Pinch Pinchcayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2cupsshredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups 1-1/2cupsshredded extra-old Cheddar cheese


  • 1/2 cup 1/2cuppanko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup 1/4cupgrated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp 1tbspbutter, diced and softened
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In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain; set aside.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat; cook garlic and thyme, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Pour in milk in slow steady stream, whiskingconstantly until smooth; cook, whisking often, until thickened, about 7 minutes. Whisk in mustard, nutmeg, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Stir in Gruyère and Cheddar cheeses until smooth; stir in pasta. Scrape into lightly greased 12-cup (3 L) casserole dish.

Topping: In bowl, combine panko with Parmesan cheese; using fingers, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.

Bake in 400 F (200 C) oven until sauce is bubbly and topping is golden, about 25 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tip from the Test Kitchen: The sauce might seem a little runny at first, but it will thicken beautifully when baked with the starchy macaroni.

Looking for more delicious bakes? Try our best casserole recipes.

Nutritional Information per serving: about

cal 479 pro 23g total fat 24g sat. fat 14g
carb 43g dietary fibre 2g sugar 11g chol 72mg
sodium 576mg potassium 262mg


calcium 51 iron 15 vit A 25 vit C 2
folate 45
This recipe is featured on Canadian favourites: 31 delicious Canadian-inspired recipes, Cooking 101: Back to basics and Tastes of Canada: Milk
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