This creamy Three Cheese Mac and Cheese with Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs is going to top any mac and cheese you have ever made! It is loaded with ooey-gooey melty cheese and you can whip it up in 30 minutes for a quick dinner the whole family will love!
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Three Cheese Mac & Cheese
Everyone loves a good macaroni and cheese and I am no exception. I have been getting over a cold this week and comfort food is what I craved. What better than creamy three-cheese mac and cheese when you’re under the weather. I also had tons of leftover cheese from the holidays. What do you do with leftover cheese? Make macaroni and cheese!
This mac and cheese is loaded with 3 different kinds of cheese. I have found that Brie, cheddar, and Parmesan make the perfect creamy combination for this recipe!
This melty cheese is mixed with tender macaroni noodles, topped with butter garlic panko breadcrumbs, and then, of course, more cheese. It is then topped with a thick layer of crunchy panko breadcrumbs that gives you a nice crunch to complement the thick, creamy pasta.
This is the perfect recipe if you are cravings comfort food, like me. Or if you need a quick dinner for the kids or just need a simple side dish. The boxed stuff is convenient of course, but homemade tastes so much better and you really can’t mess it up!
- Elbow Macaroni: I used classic macaroni but you can use any small pasta shape that you like for macaroni!
- Butter: Unsalted butter is good since we are adding a lot of cheese which will be salty.
- Flour: To thicken up the cheesy sauce!
- Whole Milk: Whole milk has the right amount of fat to make a delicious sauce.
- Cheeses: I like to use a combination of sharp cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, and shredded swiss cheese.
- Spices: You can use dried mustard, salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to season up this three cheese mac and cheese!
For the Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs
- Olive Oil & Butter: Use a combo of olive oil and butter to crispy up the breadcrumbs!
- Panko Breadcrumbs: I like to use panko breadcrumbs here because they have a thicker texture, but you can use regular breadcrumbs too.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic adds loads of flavor and aroma to this breadcrumb topping!
- Parmesan: Grated parmesan adds a depth of flavor.
- Fresh Parsley: For an touch of herby goodness!
How to make Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Make the Pasta: Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Make the Roux: Meanwhile, add butter to a large pot and cook until melted. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.
- Make Sauce: Slowly add milk and seasonings (dried mustard, salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder) and bring to a simmer. Whisk constantly so milk does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and lump free.
- Add Cheese: Take off the heat and stir in all three cheeses. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and the cheese is melted.
- Add Pasta: Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and toss to coat the noodles in the sauce. Serve immediately as is or make the garlic parmesan breadcrumbs if desired!
- Make the Breadcrumbs: Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the breadcrumbs and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently until the breadcrumbs get golden brown.
- Place in Bowl: Transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl and add in the parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
- Serve with the three cheese macaroni cheese for extra flavor and texture!
Tips for making the Best Mac AND Cheese
- Cook pasta until al-dente. I like to cook my macaroni until al-dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven leaving us with perfectly tender pasta. We all know there is nothing worse than overcooked pasta.
- Shred your own cheese! I can not emphasize this enough. Pre-shredded cheese has preservatives that prevent them from melting and you will end up with a lumpy, gritty, mac and cheese.
- Make the cheese sauce while the pasta is cooking. While the pasta is boiling I make the cheese sauce. The cheese sauce starts out with a simple roux (butter and flour). This thickens up our cheese sauce. Milk is added and then simmered until thickened. Take off of the heat and whisk in all three kinds of cheese. Pour over cooked noodles and add to a baking dish.
- Sauté your breadcrumbs. Sauté the garlic Panko breadcrumbs in oil and butter in a small skillet. Add the sautéed garlic to the breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese and dried parsley. Toss to combine and place on top of the mac and cheese.
How to store leftovers
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an air-tight container for 3 to 5 days.
Frequently Asked questions
What cheese is best for homemade mac and cheese?
My favorite combination for this recipe is sharp cheddar, swiss, and fresh parmesan! Swiss isn’t as common in mac and cheese recipes but it gives a wonderful creaminess and subtle flavor. Other good cheese to use are gouda, gruyere, cream cheese, or even goat cheese if you want a stronger flavor!
How do you make the best mac and cheese?
The key to making a delicious and flavorful mac and cheese is using a variety of seasonings to pump up the flavor, and using freshly shredded cheeses for the most flavor and seamless melty cheese sauce! If you use pre-shredded cheeses, you will end up with a grainy sauce!
More quick and easy pasta recipes!
- Homemade Hamburger Helper
- Macaroni Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Spaghetti Pea Carbonara
- Skinny Fettuccine Alfredo
- Cajun Chicken Pasta Bake
- Marinated Vegetarian Pasta Salad
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese With Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
Three Cheese Mac and Cheese
- Boil pasta according to package instructions until al dente.Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, add butter to a large pot and cook until melted.Whisk in flour and cook stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly add in milk and seasonings (dried mustard, salt, paprika, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder) and bring to a simmer. Whisk constantly so milk does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and lump free.
- Take off of the heat and stir in all three cheeses. Whisk until the sauce is smooth and the cheese is melted.
- Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and toss to coat the noodles in the sauce.
- Serve immediately as is or with the garlic parmesan breadcrumbs if desired!
Garlic Panko Breadcrumbs
- Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat.
- Add in breadcrumbs and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes stirring frequently until the breadcrumbs get golden brown.
- Transfer the breadcrumbs to a small bowl and add in the parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
- Set aside until your are ready to serve your macaroni and cheese!