Martha Stewart's Mac & Cheese Recipe Is the Only One You'll Ever Need

Martha Stewart's Mac & Cheese Recipe Is the Only One You'll Ever Need

Macaroni and cheese has been my favorite food from the very beginning. My journey, like so many, began with neon-orange Easy Mac and led to the exploration of many variations both at home and in restaurants—from Outback Steakhouse’s absurdly creamy mac with penne (which I thoroughly enjoyed in my elementary school days) to many a truffled mac and cheese ordered during various steakhouse experiences over the years (very hit or miss).

Nowadays, I’m much more likely to cook my own mac and cheese at home than order one off a restaurant menu. And of all the recipes I’ve tested over the years, one stands above the rest for its timelessness and pitch-perfect combination of flavors and textures: Martha Stewart’s.

Are we surprised? Of course not. “According to my mother, Martha Stewart is the queen of, well, everything,” I once wrote in an introduction to her most popular recipes on our site—and macaroni and cheese is no exception. It’s the recipe I made when I moved into my very first apartment, and one that’s made countless appearances on the dining table for everything from weeknight meals to holidays like the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. It also happens to be Food52’s most popular macaroni and cheese. Ever.

The recipe is simple and foolproof: Sharp white cheddar and rich, creamy Gruyère are accented with nutmeg, black pepper, and cayenne in the béchamel sauce, then the whole things is topped with butter-drenched hunks of white bread that crisp to golden brown in the oven. Martha’s pasta of choice is classic elbow macaroni, but I personally prefer a farfalle or fusilli (you do you). It welcomes riffs and additions, too, depending on the season or your mood. In the fall, I like to add in butternut squash and bacon, and sometimes I’ll toss in juicy cherry tomatoes or seared mushrooms and fresh thyme. It’s the kind of mac and cheese that’s there for you whenever, however you need it.

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What’s your all-time favorite macaroni and cheese recipe? Tell us in the comments!

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