50 Mac and Cheese Recipes

Find dozens of new ways to make a weeknight favorite from Food Network Magazine.
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Classic Baked Mac and Cheese (No. 1)
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Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

1. Classic Baked Mac and Cheese:

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces fusilli or other short pasta
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, heated
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, 2 minutes, then whisk in the milk. Add the bay leaf, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon salt and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thick, 8 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and stir in 2 cups cheddar and the gruyere. Stir in the pasta and the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Butter a 2-quart baking dish; add the pasta mixture and top with the remaining 1/2 cup cheddar. Bake 15 minutes.

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

2. Butternut–Blue Cheese: Peel and cube 1 small butternut squash; roast at 425 degrees F until tender, about 20 minutes. Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, using 2 1/2 cups cheddar in the sauce and replacing the gruyere with 3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese; add the squash. Top with 1/4 cup each cheddar and blue cheese and broil until melted. (Do not bake.)

3. Italian: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, replacing the cheddar in the sauce and on top with fontina. Top with 1/4 cup each panko and grated Parmesan before baking.

4. Beer and Brat: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, replacing 1 cup of the milk with pilsner beer. Add 3 browned sliced bratwurst; increase the cheddar on top to 1 cup.

5. Kielbasa: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, replacing the cheddar in the sauce and on top with horseradish cheddar. Add 12 ounces browned diced kielbasa; top with 1 cup crushed pretzels before baking.

6. Truffle: Sauté 1 pound sliced mushrooms in olive oil until browned. Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, replacing the cheddar in the sauce with 2 cups grated truffle cheese. Add the mushrooms; top with 1/4 cup gruyere instead of the cheddar.

7. Onion Lovers': Cook 2 sliced large onions in butter until golden brown, 15 minutes. Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, adding the onions and 1 bunch chopped scallions. Bake, then sprinkle with canned fried onions.

8. Lobster: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, using all cheddar; add 12 ounces chopped cooked lobster. Top with the cheese and a mix of 1/2 cup panko, 1/4 cup chopped chives and 1 tablespoon melted butter; broil until golden. (Do not bake.)

9. Smoked Mozzarella: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, adding 1/2 cup each sliced roasted red peppers and diced smoked mozzarella. Top with the cheddar and broil until melted. (Do not bake.)

10. Bacon: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese; add 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon before baking.

11. Bacon-Chipotle: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, reducing the cheddar in the sauce to 1 cup and replacing the gruyere with 2 cups chipotle cheddar; add 2 tablespoons chopped chipotles in adobo sauce and 8 slices crumbled cooked bacon. Top with the cheese and a mix of 1/2 cup panko and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika before baking.

12. Classic Stovetop: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, adding just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Skip step 3.

13. French-Style Stovetop: Make Classic Baked Mac and Cheese, cooking 2 chopped garlic cloves in the butter, replacing the cheddar in the sauce with 8 ounces brie (rind removed) and adding just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce; stir 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard into the sauce. Skip step 3.

14. American Mac and Cheese:

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mild yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced processed cheese, such as Velveeta
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk in the flour, mustard powder and cayenne and cook, whisking, 1 minute. Whisk in the evaporated milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheeses, then the pasta and just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Season with salt and black pepper.

15. Barbecue-Style: Make American Mac and Cheese; stir in 1 cup warm prepared pulled pork. Sprinkle with crushed barbecue potato chips.

16. Hot Dog: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce; add 4 sliced hot dogs. Transfer to a buttered baking dish and top with a mix of 1/4 cup cheddar, 2 tablespoons panko and a pinch of mustard powder; bake at 400 degrees F, 15 minutes.

17. Pimiento: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce; add 1/2 cup pimientos and 1/4 cup sour cream. Transfer to a buttered baking dish; top with crushed butter crackers. Bake at 375 degrees F, 15 minutes.

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

18. Broccoli and Havarti: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding 2 cups broccoli florets to the pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking and replacing the cheddar with havarti.

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

19. Ham and Pea: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding 1 cup frozen peas to the pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Stir in 1 cup chopped ham

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

20. Andouille: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning with the flour. Stir in 6 ounces browned diced andouille sausage, 1/3 cup chopped Peppadew peppers and 1 sliced scallion.

21. Roasted Pepper and Chipotle: Purée 1 cup chopped roasted red peppers, 1 small chipotle in adobo sauce and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce. Make American Mac and Cheese; stir in the pepper purée and 2 sliced scallions.

22. Cheeseburger: Brown 1/2 pound ground beef with 1/4 cup each ketchup, chopped onion and chopped pickles. Make American Mac and Cheese, adding all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Transfer half of the pasta mixture to a buttered baking dish; top with the beef mixture, then the remaining pasta mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar and bake at 400 degrees F, 15 minutes.

23. Spinach-Artichoke: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce; stir in one 6-ounce jar chopped marinated artichoke hearts and 2 cups chopped baby spinach. Transfer to a buttered baking dish. Mix 2 tablespoons each panko, grated Parmesan and chopped parsley; sprinkle on top. Bake at 400 degrees F, 15 minutes.

24. Wisconsin-Style: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard and all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Transfer to a buttered baking dish; top with 1/2 cup cheddar cheese curds and broil until melted.

25. Chili-Chip: Make American Mac and Cheese, adding all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Transfer to a buttered baking dish; top with 1 cup chili and 1/4 cup each crushed tortilla chips and grated pepper jack cheese. Bake at 400 degrees F, 15 minutes.

26. Light: Make American Mac and Cheese, using multigrain pasta and reduced-fat cheddar and replacing the evaporated milk with 2% milk.

27. Alfredo Mac and Cheese:

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces penne or other short pasta
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, rub a large skillet with the smashed garlic clove, then discard the garlic. Add the butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add the cream, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until reduced by about one-third, 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan.

Add the pasta and just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper and top with more Parmesan.

28. Sun-Dried Tomato: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese; stir in 4 ounces goat cheese, 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes and a handful of chopped basil.

29. Creamy Vegetable: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese; stir in 2 cups cooked mixed vegetables and 2 tablespoons each mascarpone and chopped parsley.

30. Four-Cheese: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, cooking 1 minced shallot in the butter; stir in 1/4 cup each shredded mozzarella, shredded asiago and diced taleggio cheese. Top with chopped parsley.

31. Pesto: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese; stir in 2 tablespoons pesto and a handful of chopped basil.

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

32. Garlic and Herb: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, cooking 1 minced garlic clove and 1 teaspoon each chopped basil, parsley, chives and thyme in the butter.

33. Vodka Sauce: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, cooking 1 minced shallot, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in the butter; add 1/4 cup vodka and simmer until partially evaporated before adding the cream. Stir in 2 tablespoons each mascarpone and chopped basil.

34. Walnut–Blue Cheese: Toast 1/4 cup chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon chopped sage in 1/2 tablespoon butter. Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, adding 1/4 cup soft blue cheese with the Parmesan. Top with the walnut mixture.

35. Pancetta and Pea: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, adding 1/2 cup frozen peas to the pasta during the last 3 minutes of cooking; cook 2 ounces chopped sliced pancetta in the butter before adding the cream. Top with chopped parsley.

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Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

36. Mini Spanish: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, stirring in 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme, 1/2 cup browned diced dried chorizo, 1/2 cup grated manchego and 1 beaten egg with the pasta; add all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Divide among 4 to 6 small ramekins. Top with sliced tomato or piquillo peppers and more manchego. Broil until golden.

37. Tortellini: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, using one 9-ounce package tortellini and only 1 cup cream. Stir in 1/2 cup marinara sauce and a handful of chopped basil; add all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Transfer to a buttered baking dish. Top with 1/4 cup each ricotta and shredded mozzarella. Broil until golden.

38. Mushroom and Leek: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, using 2 tablespoons butter; cook 1 sliced leek, 3 cups sliced mushrooms and 1 teaspoon chopped thyme in the butter. Add 1/2 cup grated havarti with the Parmesan and add all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Transfer to a buttered baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup havarti and broil until golden.

39. Chicken-Sage: Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, cooking 2 tablespoons chopped sage in the butter. Add all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce; stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken. Transfer to a buttered baking dish. Top with 1 cup grated comté cheese; broil until golden.

40. Upside-Down: Cook 6 ounces sliced Canadian bacon in butter in a large cast-iron skillet, turning, until browned; arrange in an even layer in the skillet. Make Alfredo Mac and Cheese, using egg noodles; add 1/2 cup farmer’s cheese and 2 beaten eggs with the Parmesan, and add all of the reserved cooking water to make a loose sauce. Pour the pasta mixture into the skillet and bake at 375 degrees F, 15 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then invert onto a plate.

41. Custard-Style Mac and Cheese:

  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces small pasta shells or other small pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups grated mild yellow cheddar cheese
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and toss with the butter until melted.

Whisk the eggs, evaporated milk, cheese, cayenne and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the pasta and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, adding just enough of the reserved cooking water to make a thick sauce.

42. Tuna and Veggie: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, stirring in 1 can drained tuna and 1 1/2 cups thawed frozen peas and carrots with the pasta.

43. Philly Cheesesteak: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, replacing 1 cup of the cheddar with provolone. Meanwhile, sauté 1 sliced onion and 2 sliced bell peppers in vegetable oil; stir in 1/2 pound shredded sliced roast beef. Spoon over the mac and cheese.

44. Queso: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, replacing 1 cup of the cheddar with 4 ounces cream cheese; stir in 2/3 cup salsa. Top with crushed corn chips.

45. Ham and Corn: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, replacing 1 cup of the cheddar with 4 ounces cream cheese. Stir in 5 ounces diced ham and 1 can creamed corn. Top with chopped scallions.

46. Sourdough–Goat Cheese: Toast 2 cups fresh sourdough breadcrumbs in 1/2 stick butter; add salt, pepper and chopped parsley to taste. Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, replacing half of the cheddar with monterey jack. Top with 2 ounces goat cheese and the toasted breadcrumbs.

47. Deli-Style: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, replacing the cheddar with 1 1/2 cups each grated Swiss cheese and caraway havarti. Top with crushed bagel chips.

48. Gluten-Free: Toast 1/3 cup crushed gluten-free crisp rice cereal and 1 tablespoon chopped herbs in 1 tablespoon butter; stir in 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, using gluten-free pasta. Top with the toasted cereal mixture.

49. Baked Mini Macs: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese, using 3 eggs. Divide among 12 buttered muffin cups. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheddar and bake at 400 degrees F until golden and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes.

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20121107_FNM_S05_silo_southern_greens__0005.tif

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Johnny Miller

Johnny Miller

Food Styling: Rebecca Jurkevich Prop Styling: Paige Hicks

50. Southern Greens: Make Custard-Style Mac and Cheese; stir in 2 cups cooked chopped collard greens, and hot sauce to taste. Top with crushed butter crackers.

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