Barefoot Contessa Mac and Cheese Recipe

Matt R.

This mac and cheese recipe comes courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa. It's a nice twist on a classic dish.

Gloriously gooey mac and cheese is one of our favorite comfort foods. Easy to make and even easier to eat, it's a combination of everything that's good - hearty, satisfying pasta and richly flavored cheese (in this case, a tasty combination of Gruyere and Cheddar). 
Healthy Mac and Cheese Photo

Say goodbye to the box

If your previous experiences of mac and cheese have only been the boxed variety, then this recipe will show you just what you've been missing. Homemade mac and cheese is streets ahead of the boxed variety in terms of flavor and texture - and the great thing is that it's easy to customize to taste just the way you like it.

Tasty variations 

Bring on the veggies

Try stirring chopped broccoli florets into the mixture before pouring it into the baking dish. Another (sneaky) option is to add pureed vegetables instead. Butternut squash, carrots or pumpkin work well, bringing not just some extra flavor and vitamins to the dish, but a lovely, rich color too!
Healthy Mac and Cheese Image

Make a meal of it

You can transform your mac and cheese into a complete meal by adding chopped, cooked meat along with the veggies. Chicken works well, but you can try any meat your family enjoys. Or why not try fish? Salmon is great, so too are shellfish like lobster and shrimp!
Also, why not have it with these Barefoot Contessa deviled eggs? Another classic comfort food from Ina Garten.

Change up your cheeses!

You can experiment with different combinations, but we recommend using blue cheese only sparingly. And remember that mozzarella will change the texture, giving a stringier result!  

Saucy secrets

Adding  a secret ingredient to the sauce will really elevate your dish and make your mac and cheese unique. Try stirring in homemade pesto, white wine, hot sauce, or even beer. Yum!
Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Image

Those little extras

Other additions could include
  • Garlic
  • Ham
  • Your favorite herbs and spices

Terrific toppings

Why not add an extra layer of flavor and texture to your dish with a tasty topping?
Ideas include
  • Deep fried onion
  • Caramelized onions
  • Extra grated cheese  
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Breadcrumbs 
Gluten Free Mac and Cheese Pic

How to store mac and cheese

In the unlikely event that you have any leftovers, you can keep them in the fridge for 2 to 3 days. Make sure you cool them properly first, then cover the dish before refrigerating.
Mac and cheese also freezes well, for up to 2 months. You might want to think about separating it into portions before freezing it, which makes it easy to grab just what you need for a quick meal.
Tip: To help preserve the creamy texture of your mac and cheese once it's reheated, try stirring in more milk before you refrigerate it.

Barefoot Contessa Mac and Cheese Recipe

    8 Servings


  • Kosher Salt
  • Vegetable Oil
  • pound Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 quart Milk
  • 8 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 12 ounces Gruyere Cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 4 small whole Tomatoes


  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Drizzle oil into a pot of boiling/salted water.
  3. Mix in the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package (6 to 8 minutes).
  4. Drain well.
  5. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, careful not to boil it.
  6. Melt 6\six tablespoons of butter in a four-quart pot and add the flour.
  7. Cook over low heat for about two minutes, stirring with a whisk.
  8. At the same time, mix in the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth.
  9. Off the heat, toss in the Gruyere, Cheddar, one tablespoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  10. Add the cooked macaroni and stir well.
  11. Pour into a three-quart baking dish.
  12. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.
  13. Melt remaining two tablespoons of butter and combine them with the fresh bread crumbs; sprinkle on the top.
  14. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.



The Barefoot Contessa
Cooking Method:
Food Network
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Related Recipes:
Barefoot Contessa Recipes, Food Network Recipes, Dinner Recipes, Cheese Recipes, Baking Recipes, Pasta Recipes, Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
Recipe Yields:
8 servings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Author: Matt R.
Source: The Barefoot Contessa
Recipe Yields: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 8

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 288
Calories 494

% Daily Value*
Total Fat 36g
  Saturated Fat 22g
Sodium 327mg
Total Carbohydrate 15g
  Dietary Fiber 1g
  Sugars 1g
Protein 25g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
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