The copycat Chick-fil-A mac and cheese is creamy, rich, and incredibly cheesy! The recipe includes different kinds of cheese, and it’s probably quicker than takeaway.
Macaroni has several types of melted cheese, including a crispy top layer, cream, and butter. Not exactly diet food, but oh… so delicious! This Chick-fil-A mac and cheese recipe is one of my favorite copycat recipes ever, one that I cook regularly at home.
And if you like to try another delicious copycat recipe, try our Panera Black Bean Soup; it’s one of our readers' favorites.
What is Chick-fil-A mac and cheese?
A classic mac and cheese dish served in Chick-fil-A, one of the largest American fast-food chains. The restaurant specializes in making chicken sandwiches, but their macaroni and cheese are almost just as famous as the sandwiches.
Although only featured on their menu since 2019, the Chick-fil-A macaroni and cheese has become one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes. Better than the waffle fries, if you ask me. Understandable! Who doesn’t love a good, hearty, cheesy, and utterly fantastic pot of mac and cheese? The best side dish ever!
And if you are as much into creamy mac and cheese as we are, check out some other versions - for instance, this excellent Tuna Mac and Cheese or the Gouda Mac and Cheese. We even made the perfect collection of side dishes and main dishes to best pair with mac and cheese.
- The top-secret restaurant recipe includes a unique blend of cheeses like Parmesan, Romano, Cheddar, and BellaVitano. I am not sure about the American cheese, but I am using it as it has its purpose in this recipe.
- Parmesan and Romano are two kinds of Italian hard cheese. If you can’t get hold of Romano, you can sub it with more Parmesan cheese.
- Cheddar: I used sharp and white cheddar.
- American cheese: An essential ingredient for this recipe. Although it lacks in flavor (at least compared to the other cheeses), a few slices of American cheese help the sauce emulsify, ensuring that it’s creamy and unctuous, just the way you want it to be.
- BellaVitano: Use it if you have it. It’s a cow’s milk cheese made by the Sartori Company. If not available (I couldn’t get it in the grocery store), you can substitute it with more Parmesan as I did. If you can get it, use 2 tablespoons of it and only 2 tablespoons of Parmesan.
- Elbow macaroni noodles are perfect, but any other short pasta you might have is excellent.
- Whole milk, heavy cream, and butter for the creamy sauce.
- Spices: Sweet and smoked paprika and a little turmeric. You won't really taste them; they are there to give the dish a specific color.
How to make a good copycat Chick-fil-A mac and cheese?
- Pasta: Cook it for about 20 minutes. Drain well (1).
- Prepare the cheese: Tear the American cheese into smaller pieces. Grate all the other sorts (2). Set them aside. Grate and keep the ½ cup Cheddar needed for the topping separately.
- Make the sauce: Pour milk and cream into a large saucepan. Add butter, salt, a little bit of black pepper, sweet and smoked paprika, and turmeric. Warm gently for about 2 minutes. Don’t let it come to a boil.
- Add the cheese (3) and stir gently on low heat until it melts. It should not get too hot or come to a boil (4).
- Combine the cooked pasta and the creamy sauce. Adjust the taste if necessary (5).
- Bake: Pour the cheesy mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the ½ cup Cheddar you reserved for the topping.
- Broil: Preheat the broiler to high. Broil the dish for 2-3 minutes or until golden.
- Tip: You can broil the creamy mac in a large baking dish or in individual ramekin dishes.
- All the nutritional and other information regarding this recipe refers to our homemade mac version. You must check the restaurant’s official site for details regarding the original recipe.
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese; its additives will prevent it from melting nicely, which would be a disaster when making any kind of mac n cheese.
- Nothing melts as nicely as American cheese; make sure you use it. The sodium citrate added to it makes the protein more soluble, preventing it from separating and thus creating that smooth, creamy consistency we are looking for.
Chick-fil-a mac and cheese nutritional information
- The copycat recipe contains 655 calories per serving if you divide the dish into 8 portions. Our portions are generous.
- However, that differs from the information offered by the official restaurant’s site. A small portion has 270 calories, while a medium one has 450 calories.
It would have never occurred to me either; I always cook pasta al dente and love it that way. But while researching for this copycat recipe, I found that most people instruct you to cook the noodles for that long.
The long cooking time ensures that the macaroni absorbs as much water as possible from the very beginning before being mixed with the cheese sauce. That again ensures that they won’t absorb too much of the cream and milk contained in the sauce. This way, the dish is as creamy as it can possibly be.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge.
Reheat before serving.
Microwave: Place the leftovers in a microwave-safe bowl. Add a small splash of milk. Cover and reheat for 30 seconds. Stir and continue microwaving at 30 seconds intervals and stirring until the food is hot.
Oven: Place the leftovers in an oven-safe dish and add a small splash of milk. Mix a little to incorporate the milk. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and reheat at 350°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
No, it’s not because it contains Parmesan, traditionally made with animal rennet. However, you can quickly turn this recipe vegetarian by using cheese made with vegetarian rennet.
No, because it contains wheat pasta.
How to serve?
- Chick-fil-A mac and cheese is best served immediately.
- Serve it, restaurant-style, as the perfect side dish for a crispy chicken sandwich with pickles.
- Or serve it as a main dish with a nice, crisp, refreshing salad; that’s the way we serve it most of the time.
More Cheesy Pasta Recipes
Give my quick recipes a try for your next family meal! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance!
Copycat Chick-Fil-a Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Large pot
- Large saucepan
- Baking dish or 6 ramekin dishes
- 1 lb elbow macaroni 450 g
- 6 oz American cheese 180 g
- 2 cups Cheddar 170 g
- 1 cup white Cheddar 85 g
- 4 tablespoons Parmesan Note 1
- 2 tablespoons Romano
- 1 cup whole milk 240 ml
- 1 cup heavy cream 240 ml
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher, more to taste
- ⅛ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup Cheddar
- Cook the pasta for about 20 minutes (Note 2). Drain well.In the meantime, butter the casserole dish and prepare the sauce.
- Cheese: Tear the American cheese into smaller pieces. Grate all the other cheese sorts. Set them aside. Keep the Cheddar needed for the topping in a separate container.
Make cheese sauce:
- Pour milk and cream into a large saucepan. Add butter, salt, pepper, sweet and smoked paprika, and turmeric. Warm gently for about 2 minutes, but don't let the mixture come to a boil.
- Melt cheese: Add all the cheese and stir gently on low heat until the cheese melts. Don't let it become too hot or come to a boil.
- Combine: Add drained pasta and stir to coat. Adjust the taste with a bit of salt and pepper if necessary.
- Assemble: Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the ½ cup cheese required for the topping.
- Broil: Preheat the broiler to high. Broil the mac and cheese for 2-3 minutes or until golden (Note 3). Serve immediately.
- If you can get hold of BellaVitano Gold cheese, use two tablespoons of BellaVitano and only two tablespoons of the grated Parmesan.
- That’s much longer than you would usually cook it. However, it seems to be one of the key steps ensuring the success of this copycat Chick Fill a Mac and Cheese recipe.
- You can broil the creamy mac in a large baking dish or in individual ramekin dishes.