Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Panko breadcrumbs are the secret ingredient in this dish. The crunchy breading often used in Japanese fried foods gives baked dishes a crispy topping similar to broiled cheese. Garlic and onion powder add zing to the cheese sauce here without compromising on creaminess.



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1 Tbs. unsalted butter or nonhydrogenated margarine
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2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
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1 Tbs. onion powder
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2 tsp. garlic powder
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2 cups skim milk
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½ cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
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2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
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½ lb. (2 cups) elbow macaroni, cooked according to package directions
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½ cup panko breadcrumbs


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat 6-cup baking dish with cooking spray. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Add flour, onion powder, and garlic powder, and cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Slowly whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Remove from heat, and stir in Cheddar and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in macaroni. Transfer to prepared baking dish, and top with breadcrumbs. Lightly spray breadcrumbs with cooking spray. Bake 30 minutes, or until top begins to brown.

Nutrition Information: 

12 g
Total Fat: 
6 g
Saturated Fat: 
2 g
42 g
12 mg
534 mg
2 g
6 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

i was not a fan of this recipe.

I can't imagine this is that good compared to the "soul food" mac/cheese available around here but then soulfood m/c has probably 10 times the calories this recipe does! So everything is a tradeoff.

Can you use mozzarella cheese for this recipe??

My family loves this recipe and I've also had requests for various potlucks. I'm not a big mac and cheese fan, but this recipe is absolutely scrumptous!

This is a really great mac and cheese recipe and it's amazing it's just 260 per serving (albeit a small serving). The garlic and onion powder add some bite to the light cheese. I don't think it would be good to use mozzarella; sharp cheddar is a must for its assertive taste but also because it does not get stringy like mozzarella would. Also, the panko on top are genius.

This recipe has become a household standard. The garlic and onion powders in the measurements of the recipe add an interesting dimension.

Generally not a big fan of reduced fat cheese. I use it when I can, but it doesn't usually melt very well. Any experience with this?

Finally, a Mac and Cheese that is low fat. Great Tasting too.

I made this a few days ago and it was great. My fiance kept mentioning how much he liked it and asked that I make it again...soon. So easy too!

Make Mac and Cheese once in a blue moon but we have found this to be a favorite when we are craving it. Leftovers do not last long. Andrea, we use whatever cheese we have on hand. I have found that if you mix and play with it you can find the texture and flavor that you really fall in love with. YUM!

I made this with vegan sharp cheddar cheese and vegan Parmesan, Earth Balance and soy milk. I used gluten free macaroni and spelt flour and homemade GF breadcrumbs (tossed with a bit of melted Earth Balance and salt/pepper). The man LOVED it and declared that this should be our staple mac and cheese recipe. I call that a success!


Made this for my mother-in-law. She liked it. I added MUCH more cheese: a combination of cheddar, mozzarella & fontina. Panko was a nice tough.