Go Back
+ servings
Grown Up Macaroni and Cheese
Print Recipe
4.85 from 20 votes

Ultimate Make Ahead Macaroni and Cheese

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!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 904kcal
Author: Chula King


  • 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.


Calories: 904kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Cholesterol: 158mg | Sodium: 2233mg | Potassium: 426mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1655IU | Calcium: 971mg | Iron: 2.4mg