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Yup, this is SOOOO happening right now. An Irishman’s Mac and Cheese is happening right now!

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

I normally wouldn’t start chatting your ear off about St. Patrick’s Day inspired recipes this early, but with Easter being in March this year, St. Patrick’s Day recipes need to come out a bit sooner.

Totally fine by me, because umm, when is mac and cheese not a good idea? FYI – it’s always a good idea, but especially on a Monday. 🙂

So even though I don’t mind chatting about this Irishman’s Mac and Cheese, I am kind of bummed that Easter is in March this year. Anyone with me?? It’s totally throwing me off. I mean for one, March is just not “springy” enough for Easter. Come Easter there should be things popping out of the ground and warmer temps. I mean let’s be real, that just doesn’t typically happen by the end of March. Second, I simply like having Easter in April, it adds something special, gives it color and just makes it more, well… fun! UGH. For real though, does this bother anyone else or is it just crazy and insane me?

SIDE NOTE: I just pulled meringue out of my hair and off of my red sweatshirt (that I have been wearing since Saturday). The sweatshirt is covered in so many different foods I can’t even distinguish what they all are any more. To say that I need a shower would be and understatement. My kitchen could probably use a good scrub too, but well, that’s most likely not going to happen…

Alright, but let’s be serious. Are you guys ready for this mac and cheese??? Because it is legit.

Meaning it’s loaded with all things a really good mac and cheese should be loaded with, and then some.

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

To be completely honest, I don’t know a whole lot about Irish cooking. I know they eat a lot of potatoes, corn beef, cabbage, fish and chips (which are potatoes), but other than that I’m really not all that knowledgable on Irish cooking.

Ohhhh, but I do know they like their stout beers and especially their whiskey.

Basically what I did is took the Irish foods I know (and love) and put them into a mac and cheese…the bestest mac and cheese. I used mass amounts of sharp Irish cheddar, a little bacon, some kale pesto and um well as you can see, a little potato chip crumble situation baked on top. You may be thinking twice about that kale, and maybe even questioning potato chips on top of mac and cheese, but just stop all those thoughts right now. If you don’t like kale, that’s fine, leave it out, but don’t even think twice about omitting those potato chips.

I mean, you love a good baked mac and cheese with a buttery bread crumb on top right?!? Well, this is that mac and cheese only elevated. Traditionally I’m really not all that into potato chips, but there are certain foods that I just love paring them with. They add a delicious salty crunch and when I thought of that salty crunch atop a buttery, cheesy mac and cheese, I couldn’t resist.

It had to happen.

So I created the ultimate “Irishman’s Mac and Cheese”.  Think a little stout, a lot of cheese, crispy bacon, kale for greens and flavor (and because I heard somewhere that Irish like dark greens…is this true??), topped with crushed all natural potato chips and baked to cheesy pasta perfection.

Really though, could there be anything better? And on a Monday to boot??

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

The only thing missing is a little whiskey…but I’m sure that could be arranged.

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

An Irishman's Mac and Cheese.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories Per Serving: 549 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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Ingredients

Kale Pesto Slaw

  • 1 bunch kale sliced into thin shreds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt
  • 1/3 cup [homemade | https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/20-minute-brown-butter-chunky-basil-pesto-pasta/] or store- bought pesto
  • juice of half a lemon

Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound of your favorite short cut pasta
  • 4-6 slices thick cut bacon chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup stout beer or another 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 cups whole milk warm
  • 2 1/2 cups sharp Irish white cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups havarti cheese shredded
  • 1/4 cup of the kale slaw recipe above
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt + pepper
  • 1-2 cups lightly crushed potato chips

Instructions

Kale Pesto Slaw

  • Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Massage the olive oil and salt into the kale for a minute or two. Add the pesto and lemon juice, toss well to combine. Keep stored in the fridge.

Mac and Cheese

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray or lightly grease with oil.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until al-dente. You want it to have a bit of bite to it. It will finish cooking in the oven. Drain well.
  • In the same pot you boiled the pasta, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and crisp. Remove the bacon from the pot and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease out of the pot. In the same pot, melt the 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let cook/bubble for 1 minute, stirring once or twice to avoid burning. Gradually whisk in the beer and cook another minute. Now slowly pour in the milk, whisking until combined. Raise the heat up to medium-high. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking frequently until the sauce has thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in all of the cheese, kale pesto, mustard powder, cayenne, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese is fully melted (if needed, return the pot to the heat to fully melt the cheese). Stir in the pasta and bacon, transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle on the potato chips crumbs and place the baking dish on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crumbs are golden brown and the sauce is bubbling. Remove from the oven and let site five minutes (yeah, right). Top with the kale pesto slaw. Dig in!!

Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Mac and Cheese + cocktails = Monday done right! 🙂 Oh, and don’t forget to keep on voting!

An Irishman’s Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

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Comments

    1. Hi Meg! I am working on adding it to my blog, but I do not for now! So sorry about this but I hope you love it!

  1. been obsessing over this recipe for at least a month. we’ve have a block of irish cheddar in the fridge that I’ve been wanting to make use of and came across this recipe. bought first living basil plant and made it as far as making some walnut pesto AND the kale pesto slaw but left it in the fridge long enough that my refrigerator bandit got to both before i did. “i didn’t know what it was for and it was delicious.” full disclosure…we couldn’t keep our hands off the guiness either. Round two….bought another living basil plant, a can of guiness and got to the recipe last night while everyone else had retired for the evening. the smell alone was mouthwatering. i had a spoonful as it cooled before i put it into the fridge and loved it. i hadn’t tasted it with the kale pesto slaw until this morning when i served it with a poached egg for a breakfast pasta dish and what a difference it makes.
    love it BOTH ways. i even tasted it cold and enjoyed it as well, but I’m one of those cold pizza eaters too. can’t wait to try more of your recipes. thx

  2. What should I use instead of havarti? Provolone or more cheddar? I didn’t find havarti in a grocery.

    1. HI! Provolone, cheddar, or gouda would all be amazing. Use your favorite! Please let me know if you have other questions. Hope you love this recipe! Thanks! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Hey I just have to tell you.. you are a cooking goddess. Seriously. I definitely haven’t made all of your recipes, but every single one I have is a favorite of ours (my husband and I). You are a culinary genius and we appreciate you so much!! Thank you so much for sharing your talent. How else can we support you (besides the cookbook, have it)?

    P.S. this mac and cheese is insane. I love it way too much.

    1. Hi Bekah! I am so glad you have enjoyed the recipes from my blog and I hope you continue to!! Thank you so much!

  4. Yes, it is true that the Irish like their dark greens.

    My grandmother grew up on a farm in Cavan County and speaks longingly of the watercress that grew there.

    She also speaks longingly of the wild Irish salmon a boy down the lane used to catch for her illegally on someone’s estate – a Christmas gift for her – but…well, that’s another story!

  5. Hi! First time looking at your blog. I love as looking for a good Mac and cheese recipe for a potluck and this one caught my attention. It looks delicious. Question, will this hold well in a crockpot after it is cooked? Maybe in a warm setting?

    Also, I can’t believe and I he uppity people giving you a hard time. I’m super Irish and even though it’s not traditionally Irish, I can definitely see the Irish inspiration in this recipe. People need to chill out and keep the trolling for 4chan.

    1. Hey Melissa!

      Yes, I think this will be great on the warm setting in a crockpot. I have not tried that, but I don’t see why it would not work. And THANK YOOU! Means a lot and I hope you LOVE that mac and cheese! Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks again! 🙂

  6. I made this for St Patrick’s day dinner and it was soooo good! I wonder how it would be if the entire kale pesto was mixed into the dish before baking? We ended up mixing it together in our bowls anyway. Thanks for a great recipe!

    1. SOOO happy you love this recipe! Thanks so much! 🙂 I am sure having the pesto mixed in would be great!

  7. This is inspired.
    I came here looking for a different avocado toast recipe (which I found, thank you), and here I find this. THIS! It is like all of my favorite things in one dish.

  8. I made this for dinner tonight and it is glorious. Seriously one of the best mac and cheeses I’ve ever made! The kale pesto is genius!

  9. Of course mac & cheese isn’t Irish, but this is still Irish-inspired! I’m mac & cheese obsessed, and I certainly made some similar experiments during the two years I lived in Dublin 🙂 (Strangely though, I was never able to find havarti there.) Just like in any other country, some Irish people are very traditional when it comes to food and others are more adventurous, so don’t worry about the haters. Do check out some of the suggested cookbooks and blogs, though!

  10. HA I think Irish food has moved on a bit since meat and two veg! I’m Irish born and bred too, and although this is not a traditional Irish recipe it does have “Irish elements” i.e Kale, stout, Irish cheddar. And by the way show me one Irish person who hasn’t had a Tayto (crisp) sandwich! Fair play to you Tieghan for giving it a go! Don’t mind the begrudgers! x

  11. I’m Irish born and reared…and this is not something we would eat. My dad would look at me like I had four heads if I handed him up something like this for dinner. Irish food is basically a roast and potatoes…every day 🙂

  12. I am both Scottish and irish wouldn’t dream of putting chips on mac n cheeseand no way kale what r u thinking

  13. Nice recipe, though more Hipster than Irish… Maybe Irish Hipster?
    Anyway .. some of us have been putting potato chips on mac & cheese since the 50’s. Just sayin’.

  14. Don’t let the haters get to you. It is your blog and your ideas and your cookbook. You devote much time and effort to putting your best out there.
    Most times well received…sometimes not. It always takes me by surprise when people vent so hatefully online…..I for one am not a purist…..so bring it on! Every idea helps someone else have their own idea or take on a recipe. Keep Rockin’ It!

    1. Hate, shmate, there’s naught to bewail;
      Once on the plate, no one will rail.
      And whatever you do, don’t knock the kale;
      For it all tastes good when washed down with ale!

      1. LOL! That is the first thing I read this morning and it totally cracked me up!
        What a great attitude and sense of humor you have. 🙂 And an (Irish?) poet to boot.

        1. Thanks, you should see me in the kitchen! ;0)

          Seriously, I love to cook and find it one of the most relaxing things in the world. When I was working as a lawyer and had just finished a big case, I’d invariably come home, pour myself a glass of wine, and start in on some big deal or other, usually of the stew/casserole variety. Hours later, I’d have a nice glow, the house would smell great, and we’d all be sitting down to a good dinner – after which I’d promptly fall asleep. If more people put more time into cooking than conniving, there’d be less need for my former profession, and we’d all be better off. Easy for me to say, now that I’m retired!

  15. Wow this is quite an interesting take on Macaroni cheese. I just don’t think I could put crisps in my dinner. I should really try it before criticising though 🙂 The pictures look great, I’m not sure that Fish and Chips would be considered Irish either.

    As others have mentioned, Rachel Allen is a great Irish cook as well – you should definitely make colcannon and irish stew is delicious too.

  16. Perhaps this dish is delicious. I have no idea, nor will I since I don’t have half of those ingredients. If it is tasty, cook on.

    What I do know is that beer and potato chips don’t make something Irish. And cayenne pepper certainly doesn’t fall into anything resembling traditional Irish cooking.

    Foodies at large: I am so sick of the hot peppers and cilantro kick that foodies everywhere are on. Eat it if you like it, but stop calling dishes with cilantro and/or hot peppers Irish/Italian/Greek/Whatever. Those are mainly used in Tex-mex, indian, and southeast Asian cooking. And stop trying to turn my hot dogs, pot roast and lasagna into some hot spicy mexican/asian pinterest food of the day.

    1. Shame on you, Molly O’Garza! Fixatin’ on olive oil, pesto, and I know not what, and all this time fergittin’ about the tater crisps! So curb your kale an’ colcannon and get in the spirit of an Amurrican St. Paddy’s Day! ;0)

      And for you, E, go back to watching your eponymous TV channel. Yes, it shows.

  17. Oh girl I know what you mean about the kitchen needing a good scrub. I’m about to hire a cleaner because it’s too much for me to tackle right now! 😛 😛 😛 This mac and cheese is the BOMB. Makes me forget about my dirty kitchen.

  18. This looks incredible!! Potato chips in mac and cheese is genius! I wish I had a bowl of this right now <3

  19. I’d suggest looking up Ballymaloe Cookery School – Darina Allen is a LEGEND – or grabbing a copy of The Country Cooking of Ireland by Andrew Colman. Irish cooking is wonderful and isn’t just about the stereotypical stuff! And it’s corned beef, btw : ) . Corning is a process whereby you preserve meat in salt water/brine.

    I’d also check out Farmette (she has a new cookbook coming out, looks amazing!) and Cliodhna Prendergast on their blogs or Instagram.

    Kale is actually a very traditional Irish food. Colcannon – often mistakenly made with cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day – is actually supposed to be made with kale.

  20. I JUST made an Irish mac and cheese yesterday! Wish I had seen this to think of adding the chips on top. Genius!

  21. Good-looking recipe, even if the potato chips immediately set my mind to thinking panko instead. Then, I wondered, would the Irish use olive oil, or vegetable oil, and would they go for the basil-based pesto? Hmmm, to be determined, but I will definitely try this as directed first.

    But I digress: I had an interesting revelation recently involving a family-sized Stouffer’s frozen mac and cheese I copped out of a markdown bin for about $4. Once I got it home and defrosted it, which is not “manufacturer recommended,” I added the juice of some hot pickled carrots and jalapenos, which I usually keep around for all kinds ‘o thins, and a dash of cayenne, in homage to the Father of Macaroni & Cheese, Thomas Jefferson. I gave it a good stir and baked it for about half an hour longer than recommended, moving it down a rack for the last half hour so the top browned but didn’t burn. The extras I added improved the dish greatly, and it served both as a nice entree and as a side for some pork chops later in the week.

    Thanks again for a good recipe and a good read!

  22. Are you fucking kidding me? Maybe don’t associate your shitty potato chip mac and cheese recipe with a country you admit you don’t know anything about. Also maybe try not to be so fucking ignorant.

  23. I looove mac and cheese, the more cheese the better! And this sounds like a really interesting take on it, the kale pesto slaw is a nice touch and I bet the potato chip topping tastes amazing!

  24. Its amazing! I love the crunch along with the creamy cheesy goodness! Total drool moment here as always 🙂

  25. this looks super creamy and cheesy (if there wasn’t enough cheese, this recipe would seem like an imposter on this blog!). i’ve been ambivalent about breadcrumbs on top of mac and cheese (they just seem like an extra step with minimal benefits), but i’m feeling very pro-potato chip crumbs (: