The Cheesiest

The Making of the Mac 'n' Cheese: Luby's Shares Its Recipe

Put the blue box away and try your hand at Luby's old-fashioned mac 'n' cheese recipe.

By Katharine Shilcutt February 2, 2015 Published in the February 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Luby's mac 'n' cheese got the studio treatment for our comfort food issue.

If you're one of our lovely subscribers, you should be receiving the Februrary issue of Houstonia in your mailbox soon—if you didn't already get it over the weekend. Not a subscriber? Look for it on newsstands this week.

As you'll see from this month's fried chicken-covered cover (seen at right), we're examining the best comfort food across Houston, from fancy grilled cheese at food trucks to homestyle chicken and dumplings at some of the city's oldest cafeterias. But no feature about comfort food would be complete without a close examination of everyone's comfort food favorite: macaroni and cheese.

If you grew up in Houston, odds are good that one of your favorite comfort food classics is the mac 'n' cheese at Luby's. We caught up with Luby's corporate chef Kaitlyn Venable, who shared the cafeteria chain's secrets for making the perfect mac 'n' cheese—secrets we share in our February issue, and secrets you can use when trying your hand at Luby's recipe, which they also generously shared with us.

This version serves 6, so make sure and scale up if you want to start a Luby's-scale mac 'n' cheese operation at home; your loved ones may appreciate it so much, they might even do the dishes. And if you want to take a crack at the jalapeño version, just throw some diced peppers in there before you bake it.

Luby's Macaroni and Cheese


  • 2 cups (8 ounces) dry elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons nonfat dry milk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded American cheese (found at deli counter)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

To Prepare

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cook macaroni 1 to 2 minutes longer than package directions so pasta is soft but not mushy. Drain.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine dry milk, flour, and butter. Whisking constantly, gradually add in boiling water. Add 1 cup of cheese and continue whisking until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Fold in macaroni, 1 more cup of cheese and salt.
  4. Transfer to a lightly greased 11x7 inch casserole dish and cover with foil. Bake 25-30 minutes or until sauce in center of casserole is thick and creamy.
  5. Remove foil and sprinkle remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese evenly over top. Return to oven until cheese melts.
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