Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Bread Crumb Topping

Homemade macaroni and cheese with crunchy panko bread crumbs baked on top. A childhood favorite that kids will love but elevated enough that adults will devour.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Side
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 428kcal
Author: Jessica Gavin


  • 1 pound macaroni elbow shaped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups milk
  • 8 ounces monterey jack cheese shredded (2 cups)
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or regular bread crumbs


  • Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.
  • Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, often stirring, until tender (just past al dente) and drain pasta.
  • Melt 5 tablespoons butter in large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add flour, 1 teaspoon salt, cayenne (if using) and nutmeg.
  • Cook, constantly whisking, until mixture becomes fragrant and deepens in color, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Gradually whisk in milk; bring mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer, occasionally whisking, until thickened, about 7 minutes.
  • Take the pot off the heat, slowly whisk in cheeses until completely melted.
  • Add pasta to sauce and cook over medium-low heat, constantly stirring, until mixture is steaming and heated through, about 6 minutes.
  • Transfer to a broiler-safe baking dish and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs.
  • Broil in the oven until topping is golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Keep a close eye to not burn it.
  • Allow casserole to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 569mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1100IU | Calcium: 700mg | Iron: 2mg
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