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Looking for the Best Mac-n-Cheese

Mac-n-Cheese with breadcrumb

Yet again, my sisters and I decided that when my Dad was gone this week for dinner we would try another Mac-n-Cheese recipe. As we have stated, we all LOVE Panera for this particular treat but do not get it very often. There are so many different options and styles out there, and we have not yet found the one that we would make over and over again.

Mac-n-Cheese ingredients

What Kind of Cheese to Use

The first thing we do when trying new recipes is look over the ingredients with our mom so she can add what we need to the grocery list. When we were planning on this meal, it called for one pound of American cheese, grated. We girls love American cheese slices, but again, we do not get them very often! My mom calls it, “rubber cheese” and is a bit grossed out by it. We were hoping to get a block of American cheese so that we could grate it ourselves. (We do not buy pre-shredded cheese because they coat it with agents that keep it from clumping together and keeps it from melting together well.) Well, there is no such thing as American cheese! Mom of course started looking it up online and found out that American is not considered a cheese, but a, “cheese product.” As she was reading this I could see on her face that it was unlikely she was ever going to let us get those delicious individual slices again! After she thoroughly grossed us out with the particulars of how they make this product, we decided to substitute a block of Colby instead of American.

adding the cheese

This of course started my mom to research what evaporated milk is made of, as that is the next listed ingredient. We found the difference between condensed milk, which has a lot of sugar added to it, and evaporated milk, which thankfully my mom found acceptable for our use.

adding hot sauce to Mac-n-Cheese

Should we Skip the Scary Ingredients?

I will admit, I was tempted to not use the hot sauce, or the mustard, or the Worcestershire sauce. All of those ingredients seemed so gross to me to put in with my yummy cheese! But mom said to follow the recipe and see. There were such small amounts, that I hoped for the best. As it turns out, I couldn’t make out any of those ingredients, so all of you kids that don’t like those either, do not skip them.

Preparing Mac-n-Cheese

What I liked about this recipe is that once you put everything together in the baking dish, you don’t have to do anything while it baking. So I was all ready to go to play when Mom pointed to the sink. Sigh, the worst part of cooking. But I still had plenty of time to swing while we waited for it to finish cooking.

Dirty Dishes

It looked wonderful when we pulled it out of the oven after 55 minutes. I mixed the bread crumbs as the recipe calls for and spread them evenly. The broiler is always tricky for me! It looks like nothing is happening and then you go 30 seconds too long and it is burning! Mom said we should probably turn the oven light on and just watch it the whole time, but I think it’s too hard to see without opening the door. Thankfully, it wasn’t too dark.

Browned Mac-n-Cheese

Is This the Best Mac-n-Cheese Recipe?

This was for sure more creamy than the BLT version that we tried last week. However, we all agreed that there was a bit too much in the way of breadcrumbs for our liking. It was a pretty thick layer and some of it didn’t get enough butter on it, so it seemed just like dry sand on top of the baked noodles. Next time, I think we would either leave it out completely or use about half of what was in the original recipe.

Have you tried our New Favorite Macaroni and Cheese?

Mac-n-Cheese close up
Experimental Cafeteria Mac-n-Cheese

Experimental Cafeteria Mac-n-Cheese

Yield: 12 or more Servints
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


  • Nonstick Cooking Spray
  • 1 Pound Elbow Macaroni, uncooked
  • 5 Tablespoons Melted Butter, divided
  • 1 Pound Colby cheese Block, Grated
  • 2 Cans (12 ounces each) Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 4 Eggs, Lightly Beaten
  • 2 1/2 Teaspoons Ground Mustard
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1 Cup Bread Crumbs (or less, see post)
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika (unless using less bread crumb)


  1. Preheat oven to 350- degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, toss uncooked macaroni with 3 tablespoons of melted butter to coat.
  3. Add cheese and combine thoroughly.
  4. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together evaporated milk, water, eggs, ground mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and hot sauce.
  6. Pour the evaporated milk mixture over macaroni mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven.
  7. If including the bread crumbs on top, move the top rack of the oven to the highest position under broiler. Preheat broiler.
  8. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs, paprika, and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle over baked macaroni and cheese.
  9. Place under broiler for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown. Watch this closely as it burns quickly!


Adapted from Semi-Homemade: Fast-Fix Family Favorites by Sandra Lee

Did you experiment with this recipe?

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