Alton Brown Mac and Cheese: A Taste of Home Cooking

alton brown mac and cheese

As I’ve mentioned many times before, Alton Brown is one of my absolute favorites. I have been trying to make more recipes from my autographed copy of his latest cookbook. I love all the extra information provided in the cookbook about the episodes and recipes.

I was looking for a great alton brown mac and cheese recipe and instantly remembered the episode For Whom the Cheese Melts 2. I turned to my cookbook and found the recipe. He made a baked mac and cheese and a stovetop version. I opted for the stovetop version.

I doubled the recipe so I could use a whole can of evaporated milk and a full box of macaroni noodles. This is alton brown mac and cheese, gooey, and super cheesey. Of course I could only eat a couple bites because of my lactose intolerance, but those few bites were delicious.

Recipe from:

Alton Brown Mac and Cheese (Baked)

alton brown mac and cheese

A perfect alton brown mac and cheese recipe.


1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper


3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs Get Ingredients Powered by Chicory


1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.
3. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
4. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.
5. Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving. Remember to save leftovers for fried Macaroni and Cheese.

Alton Brown Mac and Cheese (Recipes 2)

alton brown mac and cheese

There is little prep work for this recipe, aside from cooking the alton brown mac and cheese. I also bought a brick of Cheddar cheese and shredded it myself. Start to finish, the dish is ready in about an hour. And often, the simplest recipes are the best. Using panko for the bread crumb topping provides a great contrasting crunch to the creaminess of the cheese sauce.


8 ounces elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground (powdered) mustard*
1 teaspoon smoked paprika**
1/2 cup onion, diced small
3 cups whole milk
1 large egg
9 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup panko breadcrumbs


1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place dry pasta in a 4-quart pot and barely cover with cold water. Bring just to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, then test for doneness. You’re looking for al dente, that is the noodles should put up some resistance to the tooth but not so much that it gums up in your back teeth. Drain pasta in a colander but do not rinse.

3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a 3-quart saucier or saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook until the mixture is pale blond, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard, paprika and onion and cook another minute. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium-high heat, whisking often for 7 to 8 minutes, or until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.

4. Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl then drizzle in about half a cup of the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Then, whisk the egg mixture into to the milk mixture. (This common maneuver called “tempering” prevents curdling of the egg by slowly increasing their temperature. Skip this and you’ll be making scrambled eggs.) Stir in the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Fold in the macaroni then move to a 4-quart casserole or soufflé dish.

5. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, then toss the breadcrumbs with the melted butter and distribute evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, cool for 5 minutes, then serve to a grateful world.


1. I like Coleman’s which is made from a mixture of yellow and brown mustard seeds.

2. If you haven’t had a good reason to buy smoked paprika, now you do. I get mine on-line from

3. As an alternate topping: 2 oz. of old hard cheese (parm, manchego) processed with 1 cup panko breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle on top and bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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