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Baked Three-Cheese Macaroni

This legendary three-cheese mac and cheese is a must-have for big family events. My ultimate comfort food is a divine blend of cheddar, Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses. —Joan Sullivan, Gambrills, MD
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. Bake: 30 min.
  • Makes
    12 servings (3/4 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni or fusilli pasta
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups 2% milk, warmed
  • 4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Cook macaroni in a 6-qt. stockpot according to package directions for al dente. Drain; return to pot.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; whisk in warmed milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until thickened.
  • Remove from heat; stir in Gruyere and cheddar cheeses, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add to macaroni, tossing to coat.
  • Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Toss bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese and melted butter; sprinkle over casserole. Bake, uncovered, 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden brown.

Three-Cheese Macaroni Tips

How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

For the ultimate creamy macaroni and cheese, try our Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese recipe instead. It won't have the crunchy top layer that this baked version has, but using the stove makes it decadently creamy.
To make the creamiest version of this baked macaroni and cheese, avoid overheating the milk and butter mixture. Heat it for just the recommended 2 or 3 minutes—after that, it may start to evaporate.

What can I substitute for Gruyere?

Gruyere cheese is a firmer, aged cheese that's full of flavor. However, you can use a different aged cheese, such as Gouda or cheddar, instead. The flavor will be different, but it'll still have depth and character.

Why does cheese curdle in mac and cheese?

If you aren't using shredded cheese, it may take too long to melt and the sauce may overcook before the cheese is smooth. Make sure all of the cheeses are shredded (instead of cubed), and stir everything well over low heat to make a smooth sauce.

What goes well with three-cheese macaroni?

A big serving of green vegetables is a nice complement to rich macaroni and cheese. Try this Roasted Dijon Broccoli or a simple green salad with basil vinaigrette.Round out the meal with some protein-packed meatballs or homemade chicken nuggets for your kids (or your inner kid).

Research contributed by Catherine Ward, Taste of Home Prep Kitchen Manager
Nutrition Facts
3/4 cup: 487 calories, 24g fat (14g saturated fat), 76mg cholesterol, 515mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 2g fiber), 27g protein.

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Reviews

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Average Rating:
  • Michelle
    Jan 18, 2021

    RêEtAåRÐ

  • Sharon
    Oct 4, 2020

    Paul, before you call someone retarted, learn to spell retarded.

  • Paul
    Feb 2, 2019

    Mona are you retarted? Cheddar, Parmesan, Gruyere. 1..2..3. Three cheeses sweetheart...yikes

  • Ted
    Jul 27, 2018

    Gruyere Extra-sharp Cheddar Parmesan - Makes Three Cheeses

  • Mona
    Jan 18, 2018

    This recipe is called "3 cheese" where is the 3rd cheese?

  • Maria
    Jan 14, 2018

    No comment left

  • mother of 3
    Sep 18, 2017

    Yummy - but I changed the Gruyere to Buffalo Wing cheese. My congregation loves it. I use brown rice fusilli, 3 cups raw milk, organic cornstarch, omit the bread crumbs, and cook it on low in a crockpot for 2-3 hours.

  • Raynebow68
    Aug 5, 2016

    It was just my daughter and I so we halved this recipe. I had 8oz of Gruyere to use so this was a great find. I didn't have sharp so we used cheddar jack instead, along with tri-shaped pasta. It was SO GOOD. And incredibly rich. We had a chicken breast on the side and we thought we could cook and shred and combine it right in with the recipe. Maybe next time!

  • dschultz01
    Mar 28, 2016

    Good mac & cheese recipe, although the gruyere cheese is a little expensive. I ended up using a slightly cheaper version that was apple smoked, and it gave it a funny taste, so I wouldn't recommend that. Might try this again but experiment with different cheeses.

  • khegeman
    Mar 13, 2016

    I have been looking for a macaroni and cheese that is creamy and cheesy, and this is it. Most of the family enjoyed the crunch of the panko breadcrumbs, but my one youngest daughter did not. We'll definitely make again.