Ultimate Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese is elegant enough to serve at a dinner party, but easy enough to serve during the week. It’s creamy, cheesy goodness makes it the ultimate comfort food for any time!
I used the following ingredients: Dried elbow macaroni, Kosher salt, milk, unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, sharp Cheddar cheese, Gruyère cheese, freshly ground black pepper, nutmeg, and Panko bread crumbs.
Making the Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese
The first thing that I did was to cook the macaroni in salted water according to the package directions. Once it was al dente, I drained the macaroni and rinsed it well with cold water.
Next, I melted part of the butter in a large pan and whisked in the flour. Then, I let the roux cook over medium heat for several minutes. After that, I whisked in the milk and cooked the mixture until it was thickened and bubbly.
I removed the pan from the heat, and added part of the Cheddar cheese, all of the Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
I whisked the mixture until all of the cheese had melted and it was creamy smooth.
I added the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, and stirred to combine everything. Then, I poured the macaroni into a large baking dish.
I topped it with additional Cheddar cheese. Finally, I sprinkled on the Panko bread crumbs that I had mixed with some melted butter. At this point, I refrigerated the macaroni and cheese because I was taking it to a family gathering the next day.
The next day, I baked the macaroni and cheese in a 375° F oven for about 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, it was hot and bubbly, and the top was golden brown. The Ultimate Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese was out of this world. It was creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor. Yum!
If you’d prefer a quicker Mac & cheese, check out Susan’s Easy Stove-Top Mac & Cheese. It’s amazing.
Ultimate Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher salt divided
- 16 ounces dried elbow macaroni
- 4 cups milk
- 8 Tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3 1/3 cups (10 ounces) Gruyère cheese, shredded
- 4 1/2 cups (18 ounces) sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded and divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cups Panko bread crumbs
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Bring large pot of water with 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 9 to 10 minutes. Drain and rinse well with cold water; drain completely.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a large (4-quart) pot; whisk in the flour. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Whisk in the milk and cook for several more minutes, until bubbly and thickened.
- Remove pan from heat; add 3 cups of the Cheddar cheese, all of the Gruyère cheese, 1/2 tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Stir until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is creamy and smooth.
- Add the cooked macaroni and stir well. Pour into a 3-quart baking dish.
- Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; mix the Panko bread crumbs.
- Top macaroni and cheese with remaining 1-1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese and Panko bread crumbs mixed with butter.
- May be prepared in advance up to this point and refrigerated.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
- Yield: 6 to 8 Servings.