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The Best Mac and Cheese Recipes

Welcome back to Cookbook Showdown, where one brave home cook tests recipes for the same dish from

That’s why I tested five recipes for mac and cheese from chefs including Ree Drummond, Carla

How long has macaroni and cheese been around? Well, since about the time pasta and cheese were

The earliest known recipe for mac and cheese dates back to 13th century Italy

But while some credit Jefferson with the rise of mac and cheese, it was really Black chef

For a while, the dish was thought of as an elite, luxurious food

But as dried pasta and processed cheese became more available at a lower price, it morphed into

And once Kraft released their boxed mac and cheese at the end of the Great Depression in 1937,

At its most basic, it can be cooked pasta layered with cheese and baked

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Usually, macaroni and cheese consists of elbow macaroni, a sauce made of cream and/or butter, and

Elbow macaroni is the most common pasta, but any short pasta can be used, with more pockets

Traditionally, mac and cheese is baked in a casserole dish, but plenty of recipes are made on

Three are more traditional, focusing on the pasta and cheese, while two have interesting twists

Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, has built a cooking empire around her approachable, tasty, family-friendly recipes

From her blog to her Food Network show to her many cookbooks, you can look to Drummond

Drummond’s “Sheet Pan Mac and Cheese” promises a dish only slightly more complicated than the boxed

Let’s see if this recipe delivered on the baked cheese goodness

Drummond includes photos of each step, which is definitely helpful for visual learners

The evaporated milk was considerably faster and easier than making a roux or thickened cream sauce

She spent much of her youth trying to distance herself from her Georgia upbringing, until she landed

Taylor’s “Baked Macaroni and Cheese” recipe, though, is all about classic flavors and nailing the cheese

Again, this recipe starts with making a sauce (including butter, heavy cream, half-and-half, grated cheese, and various

The creamy sauce looked and tasted great, especially with the addition of red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and

Do you know what happens when you add hot ingredients to uncooked eggs? I sure do

Patti LaBelle is known as the Godmother of Soul, and that applies to both her Grammy-winning music

This cookbook was first released in 1999, and this 20th anniversary edition has even more to love with

LaBelle’s recipes for classic soul food are interspersed with delightful (and sometimes completely wild) stories from

This recipe skips the step of making a creamy sauce, instead mixing the cooked pasta with melted

) It did give the mac and cheese creamy pockets of melted Velveeta, which also helped it reheat

TV chef Carla Hall is beloved from her stint on Bravo’s Top Chef to hosting ABC’

In this cookbook, Hall blends her soul food roots from growing up in Nashville with her veggie-forward,

Hall transforms classic macaroni and cheese into a filling one-pot meal with her “Meaty Tomato Mac and

I loved the one-pot nature of this dish, and it worked really well despite all the different

My taste tester/wife described the result as “a really delicious fancy version of Hamburger Helper,” and

New York Times food writer Eric Kim has spent years writing recipes that marry Korean and American

Kim’s recipe is perhaps the most unique in this challenge — “Mac and Corn Cheese with Jalapeñ

It’s the only recipe I tried that called for a pasta other than elbow macaroni, instead

The creamy sauce also gets mixed with red onion, jalapeños, corn, and crunchy bread crumbs

Cooking this dish on the stove went perfectly according to plan

” It was a bit messy, but turned out completely delicious, and it was great to have a

I made five mac and cheese dishes, and I enjoyed eating every one of them

To that end, I’ve chosen one traditional mac and cheese winner and one more adventurous mac

This was a beautiful dish, with well balanced flavors and a very satisfying texture thanks to the

We hope you enjoyed this installment of Cookbook Showdown! Check out some of our other culinary experiments: