Today: Get My No Fail, Easy Cookbook Series for 60% OFF
Buy Now

Million Dollar Mac and Cheese

close up shot of Million Dollar Mac and Cheese in a baking dish with a serving being picked up with a large spoon
Ooey gooey and baked to bubbling perfection, this million dollar mac and cheese is the best recipe around.
Jump to Recipe
Table of Contents
  1. MILLION DOLLAR MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS MILLION DOLLAR MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

Supremely ooey-gooey, this million dollar mac and cheese is the stuff dreams are made of. The ultimate in comfort food with three different cheeses and a crunchy panko topping, you can’t find a better mac and cheese recipe.

We love mac and cheese around here. Check out our other recipes and decide which one you like the best! Try our crockpot mac and cheese and our chili mac for two solid choices.

MILLION DOLLAR MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS

You’ll need:

For the Mac and Cheese 

  • 1 (16-ounce) box cavatappi noodles
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half & half
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (8-ounce block) shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (8-ounce block) shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 2 cups (8-ounce block) shredded gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt (I use Lowry’s)
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Topping

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

PRO TIP:

You can use all whole milk OR all half & half in this recipe if you would like. The all half & half version will be very rich and indulgent. 

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CHEESE: If you can not find gruyère cheese in your local store, you can substitute swiss cheese in its place. They are very similar, and both go very well with sharp cheddar cheese.

PASTA: I like to use cavatappi noodles for this dish, but you can substitute penne or mostaccioli rigati. These are all short pastas that are sturdy and can hold up to this very hearty cheese sauce. Noodles like elbows and shells are just too delicate for this dish.

BACON: Adding small pieces of crumbled bacon to mac and cheese is always a good idea.

TOPPING: Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for even more cheesy goodness.

SPICE: Add a bit of spice to this already amazing dish. A dash of hot sauce, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, or what about mixing jalapeno jack cheese into your cheese mixture to kick up the heat.

Text

HOW TO MAKE THIS MILLION DOLLAR MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, in a 4-quart casserole dish, butter the bottom and up the sides of the dish with the 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter. Set aside.

STEP TWO: In a large stockpot, boil your cavatappi noodles for 8 minutes until al dente. Once cooked, drain them and return them to your stockpot. While your noodles are boiling, start your cheese sauce.

PRO TIP:

Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.

STEP THREE: In a large saucepan, on medium-high heat, melt your remaining ¼ cup of butter. Add the flour and whisk until all the flour has been incorporated with the melted butter and gets light brown in color.

STEP FOUR: While whisking your butter and flour, slowly pour in your whole milk and half & half. Make sure you whisk constantly to ensure that you do not have any lumps in your cheese sauce.

STEP FIVE: Add your Dijon mustard, seasoning salt, dried parsley, and black pepper to your milk mixture. Continue to cook your sauce for 6 to 8 minutes and whisk to make sure that you do not burn your milk mixture.

STEP SIX: Once the milk mixture has thickened, turn off the heat and add your shredded sharp yellow cheese and shredded Monterey jack cheese. You will not want to add your cheese all at once, but in 1 cup portions at a time so that as you whisk it in, you are creating a smooth cheese sauce.

PRO TIP:

It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has an anti-caking agent on it, which means it doesn’t melt as well.

STEP SEVEN: Once all your sharp yellow cheddar and Monterey jack cheese is incorporated and your sauce is smooth, pour it into your stockpot with your cooked macaroni. Stir to coat evenly.

STEP EIGHT: Spoon half of the macaroni noodles into your prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle, in an even layer, 1 ½ cups of your shredded gruyère cheese on top of the macaroni. Next, you will want to dollop your sour cream over the top of your shredded gruyère cheese and smooth it out into an even layer of sour cream.

STEP NINE: Add the remaining cheesy noodles to your casserole dish and top evenly with the remaining ½ cup of shredded gruyère cheese.

STEP TEN: In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of your topping ingredients so that they are mixed well.

STEP ELEVEN: Evenly sprinkle this topping mixture over your mac & cheese mixture.

STEP TWELVE: Bake your million dollar mac & cheese for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown and the cheese sauce is bubbly.

STEP THIRTEEN: Once baked, allow your million dollar mac and cheese casserole to rest on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

HOW TO SERVE

This million dollar macaroni and cheese casserole is best served hot for that ooey-gooey cheesy goodness that is the sign of a really good mac & cheese. Add pull-apart garlic bread and caesar salad for a complete meal.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store this homemade macaroni in a covered dish, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. You can reheat individual portions in the microwave for 30-second increments or until heated through.

IN THE FREEZER: Store leftover macaroni and cheese in the freezer for up to a month in an airtight container.

Cheese lovers rejoice, this million dollar macaroni and cheese with its delicious cheese sauce and panko crumbs on top will undoubtedly become your favorite mac and cheese recipe.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I freeze this macaroni and cheese?

This easy mac and cheese recipe can be frozen for up to three months in an airtight container.

How do I spice up my mac and cheese?

Adding some hot peppers such as jalapeños, a dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, or a spicy cheese would be great ways to make your dish spicier.

Why did my cheese not melt properly?

If you are using pre-shredded cheese, it comes coated with an anti-caking agent. It is best for this recipe to shred your own cheese.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

Get Recipes on Pinterest

Get a Free Cookbook
Subscribe now to receive our FREE Sweet & Treats digital cookbook with 15 amazing desserts inside!
close up shot of Million Dollar Mac and Cheese in a baking dish with a serving being picked up with a large spoon

Million Dollar Mac and Cheese

5 from 1 vote
Ooey gooey and baked to bubbling perfection, this million dollar mac and cheese is the best recipe around.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Mac and Cheese

  • 16 ounces Cavatappi noodles
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups half & half
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter room temperature (plus 2 tablespoons)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese shredded (8-ounce block)
  • 2 cups Monterey jack cheese shredded (8-ounce block)
  • 2 cups gruyère cheese shredded (8-ounce block)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons season salt I use Lowry’s
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Topping

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, in a 4-quart casserole dish, butter the bottom and up the sides of the dish with the 2 tablespoons of room temperature butter. Set aside.
  • In a large stockpot, boil your cavatappi noodles for 8 minutes. Once cooked, drain them and return them to your stockpot. While your noodles are boiling, start your cheese sauce.
  • In a large saucepan, on medium-high heat, melt your remaining ¼ cup of butter. Add the flour and whisk until all the flour has been incorporated with the melted butter and gets light brown in color.
  • While whisking your butter and flour, slowly pour in your whole milk and half & half. Make sure you whisk constantly to ensure that you do not have any lumps in your cheese sauce.
  • Add your Dijon mustard, season salt, dried parsley, and black pepper to your milk mixture. Continue to cook your sauce for 6 to 8 minutes and whisk to make sure that you do not burn your milk mixture.
  • Once the milk mixture has thickened, turn off the heat and add your shredded sharp yellow cheese and shredded Monterey jack cheese. You will not want to add your cheese all at once, but in 1 cup portions at a time so that as you whisk it in, you are creating a smooth cheese sauce.
  • Once all your sharp yellow cheddar and Monterey jack cheese is incorporated and your sauce is smooth, pour it into your stockpot with your cook and drained noodles. Stir to coat evenly.
  • Pour half of your cheesy noodles into your prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle, in an even layer, 1 ½ cups of your shredded gruyère cheese.
  • Dollop your sour cream over the top of your shredded gruyère cheese and smooth it out into an even layer.
  • Add the remaining cheesy noodles to your casserole dish and top evenly with the remaining ½ cup of shredded gruyère cheese.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of your topping ingredients so that they are mixed well. Evenly sprinkle this topping mixture over your mac & cheese mixture.
  • Bake your million dollar mac and cheese for 30 minutes or until it is golden brown and the cheese sauce is bubbly.
  • Once baked, allow your million dollar mac and cheese to rest on the counter for 10 to 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

PRO TIP: You can use all whole milk OR all half & half in this recipe if you would like. The all half & half version will be very rich and indulgent. 
PRO TIP: Al dente is the ideal consistency for pasta. The pasta will be tender and will still have a slightly firm texture when you bite into it.
PRO TIP: ​​It’s best to grate your own cheese rather than use the pre-grated version in the bag. That’s because it usually has an anti-caking agent on it, which means it doesn’t melt as well.

Nutrition

Calories: 871kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 33g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 161mg | Sodium: 1320mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1616IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 944mg | Iron: 2mg
Have You Tried This Recipe?Follow me on Pinterest @spaceshipslb

Get Recipes on Facebook

Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions

Comments

    Leave a Comment

    Recipe Rating




    Comments

16108

Free Membership!

Get all our new recipes straight to

your inbox plus a BONUS

download in your first email! ❤