Em's Mac n' Cheese

Total Time:
1 hr
10 min
5 min
45 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Cheddar (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Essence, recipe follows
  • Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.

Melt the remaining 5 tablespoons butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and 2 cups of the cheese, and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.

In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the bread crumbs and Essence. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.

Yield: about 2/3 cup

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William Morrow, 1993.

View All

Cooking Tips
More Recipes and Ideas
4.4 223
This is a tasty dish but there is a problem. Emeril evidently is well known for recipes that are not well tested. This was the subject of a controversial article in which the New York Times food reporter was very critical of Emeril. Well this recipe may be a good example. The amount of cream/cheese sauce in this recipe is enough for a pound of dry pasta, not half a pound. Otherwise, the dish is tasty and the sauce has a nice consistency.I used an English farmhouse cheddar plus a little Parmegiano Reggiano for the topping. That gives it a little more flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is my go-to mac 'n' cheese recipe. Yes, I make modifications based on my taste! I skip the essence, but remember that the recipe snippet here is for a large sum of essence that isn't meant to be used all at once in ONE batch. Instead of essence, I add well drained stewed tomatoes and find that it adds nice acidity to break up the cheesiness. Also add in layers of mozz and gruyere. Add these in layers as I pour in the macaroni and cheddar sauce mixture. Always generous with all of these cheeses. Yum. Gooey and rich! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is hands down the best Mac & Cheese recipe I've ever had. We've been making it for years. It is 5 stars as written (I'm not about to rate a recipe and then reveal that I've changed it a million ways, thereby rendering my rating completely worthless) however as the years have gone on I have somehow managed to double the amount of pasta the recipe calls for, and I actually like it even better. 5 stars either way. No, that doesn't make sense to me either, but since it feeds more but loses nothing in the way of quality I do it. Everything else I keep the same. This will definitely become my hand-me-down family M&C recipe. I've even written it down in The Book. In ink, people. Ink. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was super easy and FANTASTIC! any time I have ever tried making anything that requires a rue I have failed miserably. Woot for my first rue success! Thanks, Emeril! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was good. I used unseasoned breadcrumbs for the topping but next time I would use seasoned breadcrumbs instead. I substituted 1 cup of Colby jack cheese for the cheddar and combined with 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese. The essence adds a nice spice to the top. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've been searching for years for the perfect mac and cheese. Finally found it! This has just the extra lil' something one looks for in a mac and cheese that's not only creamy but flavorful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
My whole family loved it, this is the 3rd time we have made it since discovering it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made this for ten people tonight with beef brisket sandwiches. I doubled the recipe. It would have made four to five small portions with the regular recipe. I used 3 1/2 cups of shredded mild cheddar and 1 1/2 cups of NY extra sharp cheddar cheeses. I put Italian Style Croutons in my food processor to make the bread crumbs and it was great! Got a lot of compliments. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Love this recipe - more importantly kids love Em's Mac n Cheese. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipie is not my favorite. I dont know if I did something wrong or not but basically what I got out of this was baked mac and cheese soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published

Not what you're looking for? Try:

Too-EZ Mac 'n Cheese