According to Kitchen Seer, most cooks favor baking mac and cheese uncovered because it’s the easiest way to get a crispy topping. Even if you make it without breadcrumbs and just sprinkle with grated cheese, you still need to bake it uncovered to get a nice crust on top, according to all recipes. Since most pasta recipes require you to start with a béchamel-based cheese sauce to coat your cooked noodles, it has little chance of drying out.
A thick cheese sauce contains plenty of fat and moisture to keep the cooked pasta nice and tender while baking. And since the popular dish consists entirely of pre-cooked ingredients, you don’t need to leave it in the oven for long—just 30 minutes for our mac and cheese recipe. Because of its short cooking time, you can be sure to have a crispy topping without dry noodles. So the next time you make this savory dish at home, skip the coating and enjoy the crispy topping.