Classic Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese is the creamy, rich comfort food you’ll want on your table.
Ooh, man I love this recipe! It is so cheesy. So good. So classic. It’s Classic Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese! This is one of my family’s favorite recipes. While there are several moving parts, this is by no means a hard recipe to make! It’s incredible for Thanksgiving, a holiday table, or a cozy night in. Serve it as a side or as a main dish with a salad!
The best pasta for Three Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
You’ll start with boiling pasta. You can use any kind of short pasta you like for this macaroni and cheese. Of course, macaroni is the classic, but also consider:
Making a roux
A roux! What is it? Is it hard to do? And why is there a silent X at the end? Making a roux is actually really simple and just serves to thicken the cheese sauce. It’s made from butter and flour with continuous whisking over heat. That’s it! From there’s it’s just adding in hot milk and cheese. The roux is the base that keeps things thick and creamy. Thats what she said.
What 3 cheeses go together?
Can you go wrong with cheese? No! For macaroni and cheese, though, I think I’ve found the winning trio. I go with:
- Cheddar (extra sharp, please!)
- Gruyere (pro tip: pronounce it groo-yare)
- Fontina (super melty)
These three melt really nicely and the flavors balance one another well. I love that this recipe is a classic base for macaroni and cheese. You can get creative and add your favorite mix-ins, though! Bacon, peas, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli…anything you like.
Adding a Panko Topping
A Panko bread crumb topping adds the most perfect crunch! This recipe is 95% done on stove top, and then finishes in the oven as an optional final step. You can eat as is without doing the bread topping and baking! I love that final step, though. I think it makes it look so nice on the table too!
More recipes for cheese lovers
So you’re feeling cheesy! Here are a couple more recipes for you:
- Goat Cheese & Walnut Crostini
- Grilled Cheese with Fig Butter & Apple
- Oven Roasted Tomatoes & Burrata
- Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Zucchini Bake
Classic Three Cheese Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 pound pasta (use any short noodle, penne, bowties, shells, etc)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
- 2 cups shredded fontina cheese
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (can use any type of breadcrumb or crushed Ritz crackers)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt to the boiling water then cook pasta according to the package. If you plan to bake it in the oven, cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes less than the directed time, because the noodles will continue to cook in the oven. Drain noodles and set aside.
- Meanwhile, pour milk into a small/medium saucepan and heat over low heat.
- In another large pot melt 6 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly for about 2-3 minutes until smooth.
- Whisk in hot milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until sauce slightly thickens. Turn off heat and stir in all the shredded cheese. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked noodles and pour into a baking dish.
- Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and combine it with the panko. Sprinkle over the macaroni and cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and the crumbs are lightly golden.
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