Skillet Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is yet another winner from America’s Test Kitchen Quick Family Cookbook. And no, I am not their covert sales agent, and I’m not getting some kind of commission off the sales of this cookbook (though if they want an Overt Sales Agent I’d be happy to consider their offer)–I just happen to be on a kick with this awesome volume of deliciousness. And given that I just returned this marvelous tome to the library bookmobile after renewing it the maximum number of times allowed, a little trip to has ensured that my kick need not end–ever.

So! This mac and cheese. My husband pronounced it perfect and proceeded to consume 100% of the leftovers over the next 2 days. Crispy on top, firm (but not too firm) and creamy inside, great flavor, using only one skillet–YES. This is only the third recipe that he has ever pronounced perfect, so it’s no small thing that Perfect Mac and Cheese is now joining the ranks alongside Perfect Pork and Perfect Fish.

I sneaked a bite off his plate to see how it reheated the next day, and it was great, unlike a lot of stovetop macaroni recipes, which tend to reheat into a greasy mess regardless of how awesome they were on day #1.

And since I seem incapable of posting about anything these days without including pictures of my tiny bundle of baby, let’s check in with Alice and see if she endorses this recipe.

So Alice, what do you think?

Is this recipe finger-licking good or what?

Well, she doesn’t exactly know how to use her words yet, but . . .

. . . aaargh.

I’ll take that violent hand-eating as a signal that she wishes she could have some.

All in due time, Oh Tiny One. And by the way, have you been dribbling food all over yourself? Because your chin is quite dirty.


(Serves 4)

3 ½ cups water
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
12 oz (3 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper
1 tsp cornstarch
½ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
2 slices white sandwich bread
2 TBS unsalted butter
8 oz (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
8 oz (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. Heat oven to 475 F with the rack in the middle.

2. In a 12’’ nonstick oven-safe skillet, bring the water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, ½ tsp salt and the macaroni to a simmer over high heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the noodles are tender.

3. While noodles are cooking, tear the bread into large pieces and melt the butter; pulse the bread and butter along with ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper in a food processor to make bread crumbs.

4. Whisk remaining ½ cup evaporated milk, mustard, cornstarch and Tabasco together, and (once the macaroni is tender) add the mixture to the skillet.

5. Simmer for 1 minute, until slightly thickened.

6. Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed. If the mixture seems too thick, stir in a little extra water.

7.  Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the macaroni and bake for about 10 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve it with buttery peas . . .

. . . and you have perfection on a plate.

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18 thoughts on “Skillet Baked Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Mary Beth

    I got this cookbook for Christmas and love it! Try the Chicken, Fennel and Couscous recipe. It is my favorite so far. 🙂

  2. Suzie

    Bookmarking this one Jenna, I have everything I need to make it. I just have a couple other recipes ahead of it. I will definitely try it though!!

  3. Kate

    I’ve checked the same book out three times too! And we should share a library but I’ve switched to Bezazian because Edgewater’s ex GREAT reference librarian moved there. I’m thinking it would be a wise purchase too. I hope working (with Alice) is going well. Check out a great Montessori school (where I work) at 3700 West Montrose that takes children at 14 months when you’re ready!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Work is going well (thanks for asking!). I’m writing a post for Monday with a more complete update on that front, but now that I’m one week into it, I feel good. =)

  4. Kate

    By the way have you tried the frozen pizza dough at Devon Market? Great with pesto, sliced tomatoes and fresh mozzarella (from DM)~!

    1. Jenna Post author

      Yes! I discovered that because of the cookbook recommending that you find some dough at the grocery, so I did. It was a hit! Not as good as the homemade dough that I recently made (from a Bon Appetit recipe), but much more low effort, which is a huge plus. =)

  5. Kim Bultman | a little lunch

    Jenna, I love macaroni & cheese (TMOFW does, too), but I don’t make it very often because of the gooey leftovers. (Nothing I’ve tried reconstitutes it.) Great to know this reheats “perfectly.” 🙂 Thanks and hugs to Alice, messy chin and all. 🙂


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