A 9x13-inch dish of no-boil mac n' cheese.

This is a variation of no-boil mac n’ cheese I made last winter. I’ve simplified the recipe here, omitting the pancetta and saffron, and I’ve replaced the panko with fresh bread crumbs, which I find to be much tastier.

5 Steps to No-Boil Mac n’ Cheese:

  1. Make a very thin bechamel with equal parts milk and water.
  2. Toss the bechamel with un-cooked macaroni — it will feel like an inordinate amount of liquid for the amount of pasta — and parmesan and place in a 9×13-inch pan. Cover with foil and bake.
  3. While the mac n’cheese bakes, make herby bread crumbs by pulsing fresh (or stale) bread with parsley and garlic, then mixing with melted butter.
  4. Spread the herby bread crumbs over the par-cooked mac n’ cheese along with some cubes of mozzarella.
  5. Return pan to the oven and bake until bread crumbs are golden and crisp. Serve immediately with a big green salad on the side.

herbed breadcrumbs

super easy no-boil mac n cheese

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No Boil Mac and Cheese, Alexandra's Kitchen

Super Easy No-Boil Mac n Cheese

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  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups (4 ounces) Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 4 oz fresh bread to be pulsed into crumbs (2 cups once pulsed)
  • parsley, a largish bundle
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (8 oz) fresh mozzarella, diced into small cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour, whisking constantly for about a minute. Add milk and water, whisking to remove any of the flour-butter mixture from bottom of pan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and gently simmer. Add 2 1/4 tsp. kosher salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mixture begins to barely thicken — it will lightly gloss the back of a wooden spoon — about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  2. In 9x13x2-inch baking dish, toss macaroni (there is no need to cook the macaroni in this recipe) with grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Pour prepared béchamel over macaroni mixture — it will feel like an inordinate amount of liquid for the amount of pasta, but it will all get soaked up during baking. Lightly stir mixture. Cover pan with foil and carefully transfer to oven. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 3 tablespoons of butter stovetop or in microwave. Pulse bread in food processor to make crumbs. Measure 2 cups and place in a mixing bowl. Add parsley and garlic to food processor. Pulse until fine, then add to bowl with breadcrumbs. Season with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt. Pour butter over top and mix with spatula until combined.
  4. Increase oven temperature to 425ºF. Remove pan from oven and gently stir. Scatter cubes of mozzarella evenly across the mixture. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until top is golden and the macaroni is bubbling. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American