Recipe by: AJ Mankowski

Source: “The American Test Kitchen” Cookbook

Serves: 6 -8


  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (I prefer Panko)
  • 1 lb (500 g) elbow macaroni(or any curvaceous pasta)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dry mustard, dissolved in 1 tsp water
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 3 ½ cups whole milk*
  • 1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth   (can use vegetable to make this vegetarian)
  • 1 pound (4 cups) Colby cheese, shredded(I use Tillamook extra cheddar)
  • 8 oz (2 cups) extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Salt
  • Pepper


Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 200 C (400 F).

  • Melt 2 Tbsp butter and toss with the breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  • Bring 4 quarts (~4 liters) water to a boil in a large pot for the pasta. Stir in salt and pasta and cook until almost tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the pasta and leave in the colander.
  • Wipe the pot dry, add the remaining 6 Tbsp butter, and melt over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, mustard mixture, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the flour and cook until golden, about 1 min.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk and broth. Bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking often, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 6 mins.
  • Off the heat, whisk in the cheese until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the drained macaroni, breaking up any clumps, until well combined.
  • Pour into 9 x 13“ baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs. Bake until golden brown and bubbling around the edges, 25 to 30 mins (in Singapore I did 20 minutes max).
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Make ahead: Can assemble through step 6. Store (in baking dish) in fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

Download PDF here: American Baked Macaroni and Cheese AJ Mankowski