Macaroni and Cheese

James Beard

Author and Educator

Every home cook has their favorite macaroni and cheese recipe. This was James Beard's.


  • 1/2 pound macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Kosher salt
  • Dash of Tabasco
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large heavy pot, cook the macaroni in salted water according to package directions until al dente. Drain in a colander and run under cool water to prevent carryover cooking; set aside.

Return the same pot to medium heat, Melt 3 tablespoons butter and whisk in the flour. Cook until the flour is lightly golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Slowly pour in milk and continuously whisk while it thickens. Add dry mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, Tabasco, and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Fold in cheese with a rubber spatula. Turn off heat and gently fold in macaroni.

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Transfer the pasta–cheese mixture to a large 12-inch skillet or 2 1/2-quart baking and smooth over the top. Cover the top with an even layer of buttered bread crumbs. Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes and serve warm.


Adapted from James Beard's original recipe. Recipe photo and food styling by Judy Kim.


6 servings