For A Better Mac And Cheese Crust, Skip The Cover

If you're a fan of macaroni and cheese then you probably know the appeal of a crunchy topping on top of the casserole. It's the perfect juxtaposition to the creamy and luscious texture of the pasta and cheese sauce itself. Having that little extra crunch with each bite keeps it interesting, extra delicious, and it's a great time to get creative with your recipe. You can use homemade bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, or even crackers as a topping. 

If you've never made mac and cheese at home, you might wonder how to achieve this perfect topping and the good news is that it's a simple technique that can create a world of difference. According to All Recipes, it's a common technique to cover the hot dish while baking it. This, as they explain, keeps the casserole from drying out and helps it to cook more evenly. However, when it comes to macaroni, you'll want to throw out the rule book.

Bend the rules a bit

According to Kitchen Seer, most chefs are proponents of baking mac and cheese uncovered and that's because it's the easiest way to get that crunchy topping. Even if you cook it without bread crumbs as a topping and simply top it with shredded cheese, you should still bake it uncovered to get a nice crust on top, per All Recipes. Because most macaroni recipes call for you to start with a bechamel-based cheese sauce to coat your cooked noodles, it has a slim chance of drying out. 

The thick cheese sauce contains lots of fat and moisture which keeps the cooked pasta nice and tender while it bakes. And since the popular dish is comprised entirely of ingredients that are already cooked through, you don't need to leave it in the oven very long — just 30 minutes according to our mac and cheese recipe. Due to its short cook time, you can be confident that a crunchy topping can be achieved without resulting in dried-out noodles. So, the next time you make this savory meal at home, skip the cover and enjoy that crunchy topping.