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Great Mac `n Cheese!

My neighbor John Liu has become famous in our town for his mac `n cheese.

Loaded with Gruyere and cheddar, this is a comforting, cheesy bomb of goodness topped with crushed Ruffles.

Yeah, he went there. Forget butter bread crumbs. Ruffles rule.

Let’s let him show us how to make it…

Making a roux [1]

First, he makes a roux with butter and flour.

Stir the sauce [2]

Stir the milk into the roux.


Stir in the seasonings.

Stir in the cheeses [4]

Stir in the cheeses — gruyere and cheddar!

Mac `n Cheese into the baking dishes [5]

Stir in the cooked elbow macaroni, and portion it into the baking dishes. Pop into the oven.

Crushing potato chips [6]

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, crush the Ruffles by hand, and sprinkle in the Parmesan.

Potato chips onto the mac `n cheese [7]

With about 10 minutes to go in the oven, sprinkle the potato chips onto the mac `n cheese.

Potato chips onto the mac `n cheese [8]

Use all of the parmesan-y potato chips.

John Liu checks on the mac `n cheese [9]

Once the chips are on top, watch for browning after about 10 minutes.

John Liu's mac `n cheese [10]

Browned and out of the oven!

Coltrane Liu eats mac `n cheese [11]

Daughter Coltrane digs in.

Tovo Liu eats mac `n cheese [12]

Son Tovo couldn’t wait for lunch!

John Liu [13]

John Liu gets to sample his mac `n cheese.

Want to make this delicious mac `n cheese? It’s easy, and the recipe is below. You can read more about John, including his favorite Southern California markets and his cooking inspirations, over on Malibu Patch in my column [14].

Great Mac `n Cheese!

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 8-10 as a side dish

Cheddar and Gruyere cheeses marry into a rich sauce for this locally famous mac 'n cheese, topped with the crowning glory -- Parmesan potato chips!


  • 2 cups large elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 stick butter (6 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half (can use whole milk)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 handfuls Ruffles potato chips (John prefers Ruffles® Natural Reduced Fat Sea Salted Potato Chips)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add about a tablespoon of kosher salt to the water. Cook macaroni until al dente and drain well. Set aside.
  3. In a sauce pan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour to make a roux. Pour in the half and half (or milk) and cook over medium heat until just before it boils, stirring constantly so as not to burn the mixture. It will thicken slightly. Stirring will also help dissolve the flour mixture. Slowly add the cheddar and gruyere to the sauce while stirring; it will thicken considerably.
  4. Once the cheese is melted, add the cooked macaroni and stir into the cheese sauce. Flavor with a dash of garlic salt and nutmeg. Taste, and add kosher salt and pepper to your taste.
  5. Pour mixture into a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and bake for about 45 minutes.
  6. While dish is baking, toss potato chips into a mixing bowl, and crush them with your hands. He says you can do it in a blender, but observes that using your hands is more fun! Add the Parmesan cheese and mix with the crushed chips.
  7. During the last 5-10 minutes of baking time, generously sprinkle the cheesy crushed chips on top of the mac `n cheese. Return to the oven and finish baking. Chips will be crispy and slightly browned.
  8. (You can run the dish under the broiler if you like, but he warns that the chips burn easily, so don’t walk away if you choose to do this.)
  9. Serves 8-10.


Recipe source: John Liu of Malibu, California.

https://www.shockinglydelicious.com/great-mac-n-cheese/ [16]