When you’re aiming for mac and cheese greatness, you’ve got your pick of melting cheeses. You can go all in on sharp white cheddar, enjoy some European flair with Roquefort and Gruyère or spice things up with pepper Jack — it’s all part of the fun of making this comfort food favorite. While we can’t tell you what your dream team of cheeses might end up being, we do know that you might have to taste test a few bowls to figure it out. To get you started on that delicious journey, here are some of our favorite recipes.
Sunny Anderson’s recipe calls for a three-cheese blend of cheddar, Colby and pepper Jack, with the last cheese being essential (along with a bit of cayenne pepper) for the heat in the dish. On top of the cheese, this recipe amps up the crunch factor with a topping of homemade croutons.
Just saying “Gruyère” and “Roquefort” out loud might be enough to make you feel like your mac and cheese is a little more sophisticated. Fortunately, the flavors of the Swiss and French cheeses complement each other as well as the extra-sharp cheddar in Ina Garten’s recipe.
Tyler Florence’s dish calls for one cheese and one cheese only: sharp white cheddar. And it gets the job done wonderfully. A thyme-and-garlic-infused milk goes into the cheese base, and a bacon mixture with onions, thyme and garlic tops the dish, both of them enhancing the depth of flavor in the dish.
White Mac ‘n’ Cheese
Damaris Phillips’ recipe has a few fun substitutions — like almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and a coconut oil-based roux instead of a butter-based one — that give this mac and cheese layers of flavor on top of its blend of cream cheese, sharp white cheddar and white American cheese.
With cheddar and Colby Jack in its cheese base, Nancy Fuller’s mac and cheese has a familiar, stick-to-your-ribs level of comfort that will have you eating it straight out of the pot. Using four ounces of cream cheese gives it an extra-creamy texture.
Inspired by her time in Venice, Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe goes all out on Italian cheeses, using a blend of sweet Fontina, mozzarella and finely grated Parmesan. Generous pours of whole milk and heavy cream give this roux-free dish its rich flavor.
Though the croque monsieur, a French ham-and-cheese sandwich, is in itself a melted cheese delight,
Food Network Magazine went one step further and turned it, bread and all, into mac and cheese. Along with a cheese blend of Gruyère and Parmesan, the other components of the French dish endure as a bread topping and as slices of ham between the layers of pasta.