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overhead view of a cast-iron skillet with baked mac and cheese topped with panko.

Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese

This is an incredible mac and cheese with cream cheese recipe: comforting macaroni baked in an ultra-creamy and smooth sauce. Ready in under an hour.
Course Main Course, Pasta Recipes, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cream cheese mac and cheese, cream cheese mac n cheese, creamy mac and cheese, mac and cheese with cream cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 760kcal
Author Adina


  • Round casserole dish or a cast-iron pan - 9 inches/23cm (Note 1)
  • Large skillet


Mac and cheese:

  • ½ lb elbow macaroni 9 oz/ 250 g, Note 2
  • 2 ½ tablespoons butter 35 g, Note 3
  • 2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour 20 g
  • 2 ½ cups milk whole or semi-skimmed (min. 1.5% fat) 600 ml
  • 2 cups Gouda or sharp Cheddar grated, 200 g
  • ½ cup cream cheese 110 g
  • a few gratings of nutmeg
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper


  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs 45 g
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup Gouda or Cheddar grated, 30 g


Mac and cheese:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter the casserole dish (no need to butter a cast-iron pan).
  • Cook macaroni: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt generously and cook ½ lb pasta (250 g) according to package instructions.
  • In the meanwhile, make the cheese sauce.
  • Roux: Melt 2 ½ tablespoons of butter in a large skillet. Sprinkle 2 ½ tablespoons of flour on top and whisk until the flour is lightly golden, 1-2 minutes. Slowly pour 2 ½ cups milk (600 ml) into the mixture while constantly whisking to break up the clumps. Whisk on medium heat until the sauce starts to simmer and thickens slightly.
  • Add cheese: On the lowest heat possible, add ½ cup cream cheese (110 g), 2 cups of grated cheese (200 g), a few gratings of nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Stir well until smooth. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper.
  • Combine: Drain macaroni. Add them to the pan and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  • Topping:
  • Combine topping ingredients: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan. Add the ¾ cup breadcrumbs (45 g) and ¼ cup grated cheese (30 g). Stir to combine. Cover mac and cheese with the mixture.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.


  1. Baking dish: You can also use a square/rectangular casserole dish of similar capacity. If using a casserole dish, butter it first.
  2. Pasta: Any other short pasta is excellent.
  3. Butter: Salted or unsalted; adjust the salt accordingly.


Serving: 1portion from 4 | Calories: 760kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 140mg | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 496mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1271IU | Calcium: 657mg | Iron: 2mg