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Sharing my favorite family dinner today, The Cheese-Maker’s Mac and Cheese from The Half Baked Harvest Cookbook.

Cheese Makers Mac and Cheese | @hbharvest

Cheese Makers Mac and Cheese | @hbharvest

The Cheese-Maker’s Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories Per Serving: 674 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 2% or whole milk
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or grated
  • cups crushed Ritz Crackers (about 1 sleeve)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • cups shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • cups shredded fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Havarti cheese
  • 1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves, for topping


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 minute, stirring once to avoid burning—it will bubble. Gradually whisk in the milk and 2 cups of water, then stir in the macaroni. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently until the macaroni is just al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the crushed crackers and toss to coat. Toast the crumbs until browned, stirring frequently to avoid burning, for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
    4. When the macaroni is al dente, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, cheddar, fontina, Havarti, Gouda, and cayenne and season with salt and pepper. Stir until the cheeses have fully melted. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.
    5. Evenly sprinkle the toasted cracker crumbs over the mac and cheese and place the baking dish on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes (yeah, right). Garnish with fresh basil. Dig in!

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  1. 5 stars
    Wow, I just made this and it is by far the best mac and cheese ever! And we are mac and cheese connoisseurs! Can’t say I was surprised, we love pretty much everything from this site. No such thing as too cheesy, it was perfect, made exactly as recipe says to do, even though I have never made one like this, adding all the liquids to the roux and then the noodles, but it was perfect! Thanks again for another outstanding recipe!

    1. Hey Cindy,
      Wonderful! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great weekend! xTieghan

  2. I made this yesterday for a get together and plan to eat the leftovers for the next few days. How would you recommend reheating it?

    1. Hey Sara,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try. You could cover with foil and bake on low to reheat or just pop it in the microwave. xTieghan

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