Close up of macaroni cheese in a serving dish with a serving spoon alongside

Best ever macaroni cheese recipe

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(123 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 40 mins


Serves 4

This perfect macaroni cheese recipe comes with a creamy cheese sauce, a hint of mustard and uses leftover French stick for its crunchy topping

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal860
  • fat42g
  • saturates25g
  • carbs88g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre0g
  • protein38g
  • salt1.92g
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  • 50g baguette, cut into small chunks
  • 2 tbsp butter, plus 1 tbsp melted



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 350g spiral or other short pasta



    Pasta is the Italian name for Italy's version of a basic foodstuff which is made in many…

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp English mustard powder



    A condiment made by mixing the ground seeds of the mustard plant with a combination of…

  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml whole milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

  • 250g vegetarian mature cheddar, grated



    Once cheddar was 'Cheddar', a large, hard-pressed barrel of cheese made by a particular…

  • 50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.

  2. Spread 50g baguette chunks over a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp melted butter and season.

  3. Bake for 6 mins until crisp, then set aside.

  4. Boil 350g spiral or short pasta for 2 mins less than stated on the pack, then drain. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp butter in a saucepan.

  5. Add 1 clove finely chopped garlic and 1 tsp English mustard powder, cook for 1 min, then stir in 3 tbsp plain flour.

  6. Cook for 1 min more, then gradually whisk in 500ml whole milk until you have a lump-free sauce. Simmer for 5 mins, whisking all the time until thickened.

  7. Take off the heat, then stir in 250g grated mature cheddar and 25g grated parmesan.

  8. Stir the pasta and some seasoning into the cheesy sauce. Tip into a large ovenproof dish, or 4 individual dishes.

  9. Scatter over the bread and remaining 25g grated parmesan, then bake for 20 mins until crisp and golden. Can be frozen before baking – defrost thoroughly before cooking.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Chris Oakley's picture
Chris Oakley
10th Mar, 2020
Absolutely loved this when I made it for my family last week. Really wonderful comfort food!
10th Feb, 2020
Oh. My. Goodness. This recipe is perfect! We've made it twice now and loved it both times. The first time around, we used brie (without the rind) and Red Leicester as our cheeses as its what we had in the fridge. The combo was so good that I think it might be our method going forwards. The bread topping isn't essential but it takes it up that extra notch - I think it's worth the extra effort.
22nd Jan, 2020
This is like the bacon and cheese pasta bake just without the bacon and onion. I added gammon tonight as I had some leftover was lovely
21st Jan, 2020
I think I might have put too much flour in the roux so I want to make this again. It wasn't very saucy and I expected it to be so perhaps it is just that. Hmm better luck next time... Maybe.
14th Jan, 2020
I made this for lunch today for some friends and our kids. It went down a treat with both, children and adults! Will definitely make this again.
Jenny Berki's picture
Jenny Berki
1st Jan, 2020
Made this without the breadcrumb topping, just with grated cheese on top. Delicious and was scoffed by all my guests of all ages!
tillyfloss80's picture
25th Nov, 2019
Ultimate comfort food after a bad day, cracking recipe. Used white fox cheese with a bit of medium cheddar....Parmesan over the top. (Didn’t do the bread topping as didn’t have any but will certainly do it next time) Yum!
Gordan ramsey
16th Nov, 2019
Very nice mixed with strawberries or marmalade
biloo01's picture
26th Sep, 2019
Great recipe. Usually add a little more mustard and some white pepper to the sauce. Sometimes I add chopped smoked trout. Perfect comfort food!
Caroline Marshall's picture
Caroline Marshall
22nd Apr, 2019
Excellent. Added nutmeg, bacon lardons and leeks, scrumptious!


9th Oct, 2018
As anyone tried this in the slow cooker and of so how did they do it?
Gordan ramsey
16th Nov, 2019
You put it in and turn it on
9th Jan, 2017
We use this over and over again. I replaced the cheddar with Edam and don't add parmasan, personal taste really. Also I use dijon mustard because that's what I have and 2 garlic cloves and a chicken stock cube in the white sauce. Sometimes I like to prince parsley. I'd I see that it's too dry I add water that I reserved from the pasta. It's really a versatile dish and you can do what you want with it. It's a family favourite!
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