Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

It’s taken me 4 years, 4 months and 18 days to publish a recipe for macaroni and cheese. That’s 1,602 days or 38,448 hours. And that, my fellow noodle gurus, is outrageous. I can assure you it’s not for a lack of pasta passion. I’ve dabbled in the Cacio e Pepe, gotten my layer on with Lasagna Bolognese, whisked (and drank) my way to Penne Vodka, but nowhere in that flurry of culinary chaos did I even contemplate the comfort food to end all comfort foods: macaroni and cheese.

The debut of this iconic dish merited more than a classic preparation. Someone cue the whole head of roasted garlic. Yes, a whole gargantuan head of garlic that’s roasted, mashed and then whisked into the easiest, cheesiest cheddar sauce.

Outrageous ideas often have rewarding outcomes. And unlike my decision to cut blunt bangs 3 months ago (how does Zooey Deschanel even see where she’s walking?), this not only sounded like a good idea, but actually proved to be a good idea, bite after creamy bite.

Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic


Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Toasted Crumbs

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

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Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 1 1/4 hrs


For crumb topping:
4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups Panko Japanese bread crumbs
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh chives

For pasta and sauce:
1 head garlic
Olive oil
1 pound uncooked pasta (such as cavatappi, shells or rigatoni)
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
5 1/2 cups coarsely shredded cheddar cheese (white, yellow or a mix of both)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Make the crumb topping:

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and chives, stirring to combine. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until toasted slightly. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Make the pasta and sauce:

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Slice the top one-third off the head of garlic. Place the bottom portion on a piece of foil, drizzle it with olive oil, and season it with salt and pepper. Place the top portion back on the head of garlic and crumple the foil to create a sealed packet. Roast the garlic for 30 minutes.

Remove the roasted garlic from the oven and squeeze the cloves into a bowl. Using a fork, mashing the cloves into a paste. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Butter a 13x9-inch shallow baking dish.

In a large, heavy saucepot (such as a Dutch oven), melt 1 stick butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and reserved garlic paste. Cook the roux, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes until golden. Whisk in the milk. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce it to a simmer and let it cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, mustard powder, salt and pepper until well combined.

Add the pasta and the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water to the pot, stirring to combine. (It will be soupy.) Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle it with the reserved crumb topping and place it on a sheet tray (in the event it bubbles over while baking). Bake the macaroni and cheese for 20 to 25 minutes until it's golden brown and bubbling.

Kelly's Notes:

The garlic head can be roasted, and the garlic gloves mashed, 1 day in advance. Store the garlic paste, covered, in the fridge.

The macaroni and cheese can be baked in a large baking dish or several smaller ramekins for individual servings.

Recipe inspired by Epicurious.


62 Responses to “Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. #
    Amy Jo — February 27, 2013 at 7:54 am

    I love the garlic photos! You can never have too much of that stuff. Wonderful, delicious comfort food.

  2. #
    Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine — February 27, 2013 at 8:11 am

    this looks amazing! What took you so long ;) I love garlic, and mac and cheese! This is a total winner for me!

  3. #
    shelly (cookies and cups) — February 27, 2013 at 8:44 am

    gasp. this is…

  4. #
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — February 27, 2013 at 9:16 am

    I love this, Kelly! At least you posted a killer mac & cheese when you waited so long to post one!

  5. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — February 27, 2013 at 9:25 am

    This sounds SO amazing!!! I’m def. gonna be making this!

  6. #
    Heather || Heather's Dish — February 27, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Even if it took you this long to get a mac & cheese recipe up it was worth the wait! Sounds amaaaaaaaazing!

  7. #
    Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen — February 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Amazing! The roasted garlic totally throws it over the top!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 27th, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

      Thanks, Kelli! Hope you’re doing well since I last saw you at ICE.

  8. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — February 27, 2013 at 9:55 am


  9. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — February 27, 2013 at 10:26 am

    Mmm mmm this sounds lovely! Can’t wait to try!

  10. #
    Christine (Cook the Story) — February 27, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Did you say “Roasted Garlic” in the same breath as “Macaroni and Cheese”? Will you marry me? Or wait, can I marry the Mac? lol. This looks and sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  11. #
    Danielle — February 27, 2013 at 10:43 am

    YUM! You have combined two of my most favorite things in the world – roasted garlic and mac & cheese! Wow. This dish was definitely worth the wait. I can’t wait to try it! : )

    Danielle xo

  12. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — February 27, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Is it possible to be in love with a mac ‘n cheese? Because I totally am. With THIS ONE.

  13. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — February 27, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Whoa that is a long time to make pasta! This looks so good!

  14. #
    sarah k @ the pajama chef — February 27, 2013 at 11:16 am

    this is amazing!!!!! 5 1/2 cups of cheese + roasted garlic = my kind of macaroni!

  15. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita — February 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Oh my goodness. Two of my favorite foods…together at last. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of this! Thank goodness you did. Making this as soon as I can. My life can’t be without roasted garlic mac n cheese any longer. Pinned!

  16. #
    Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos — February 27, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    Ahhh – a perfect marriage – roasted garlic + mac ‘n cheese. After this insanely trying week, I might have to make a dish of this and curl up on the couch – it looks comforting.

  17. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — February 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    this looks SOOO good. i feel like i don’t even have words for this, but all i know is that i need to make this happen in my house ASAP! the fact it’s got so much roasted garlic goodness in it, it’s making me swoon!

  18. #
    Julia — February 27, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    The roasted garlic in this mac & cheese sound awesome! I am a big mac and cheese fan so I have to add this to my list. Worth waiting for!

  19. #
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl — February 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    Holy amazingness…this looks SO GOOD! Mac & Cheese is my ultimate favorite comfort food :).

  20. #
    Noma — February 28, 2013 at 1:11 am

    Kelly, your recipes and photos are insane, but your way with words cracks me up every time. You need your own cooking show!

  21. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 28, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    So funny how we were on the same page. I must try this!

  22. #
    Kiran @ — February 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    This made my mouth water — literally :D

  23. #
    Maria — February 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I want the entire pan please!

  24. #
    Nicole @ youngbrokeandhungry — February 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Roasted Garlic is a thing of beauty. I love the fact that you threw it in this pan of mac and cheese!

  25. #
    Jackie @ The Beeroness — March 1, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    I could add roasted garlic to everything, I love that you added it to mac n cheese. And I love how gigantic that garlic is, it makes me happy ;)

  26. #
    Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine — March 1, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Oh my garlic – looks fantastic! Nothing better than roasted garlic, right? I can’t wait to try this! Yum!

  27. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — March 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Oh man, as if mac and cheese wasn’t already good enough, you went and added one of my favorite ingredients ever, lots of garlic!

  28. #
    Arianna — March 3, 2013 at 2:35 am

    wooow. looks great!

  29. #
    Morgan Wood — March 3, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    OHMYWORD. I’m going to rent a defibrillator and make this! Looks divine!!

  30. #
    Gourmantine — March 4, 2013 at 4:46 am

    Doesn’t roasted garlic make everything taste remarkable better?

  31. #
    Natasha @ The Cake Merchant — March 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Bookmarking, pinning, and making this for dinner tonight!

  32. #
    Elizabeth — March 5, 2013 at 11:22 am

    oh. my. word. this looks so out of this world delicious! yum!! And that head of garlic? mmm…

  33. #
    marcie@flavorthemoments — March 5, 2013 at 11:49 am

    What a concept! I love roasted garlic, so this would be fabulous!

  34. #
    Blair @ — March 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I am so thankful to have found your blog via kitchen simplicity! Great posts, great photos, will keep reading!

  35. #
    Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies — March 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Is there anything better than roasted garlic? I think not. I’m now wondering whether I have the ingredients on hand to make this for lunch. Immediately. WOW!!

  36. #
    MsMartini — March 12, 2013 at 7:43 am

    This is an excellent dish. It makes enough to have for a few days. Just cut up and put into individual micro-wave dishes and it is just as good or better(garlic delicious!) the next day. Mmmmmm!

  37. #
    Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings — March 12, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I have no problem with a whole head of garlic. In fact, the more, the merrier for me! And roasted garlic mac ‘n cheese? I know this is awesome!!! My kids will think me a hero when I make this for them!

  38. #
    Doris — March 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    Each time I made mac and cheese I always make a white sauce first and then add cheese to the sauce. but as soon as I add the cheese the sauce will turn grainy and curdle on me. I have used all different kind of cheese but it always turn out the same. My daughter-in-law love mac and cheese and I would like to make it right for her. Can you tell me what brand of cheese you use? What do you think the problem is if it is not the cheese?

  39. #
    Dr. M — April 11, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    This recipe is to die for!! Just made it for a work thing and I’m sure it will make it there! Too good to share!

    @Doris – you are not getting your white sauce hot enough to melt the cheese. It absolutely HAS to boil in order for the cheese to melt and not curdle.

  40. #
    Melissa — July 11, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and I just had to tell you that it is quite possibly the best mac and cheese I’ve had to date! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe :)

  41. #
    AnnaD — July 18, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    this looks scrumptious! i plan on making this dish for my boyfriend’s family this weekend. were frying chicken, and of course you gotta have all the goodies to go with it and that definitely includes mac-n-cheese. i am curious though, which cheese do you prefer to use? i’d like to go with a healthy mix between the white cheddar and sharp cheddar. just thought i’d ask if you have a personal favorite! thanks for sharing kelly!

  42. #
    Nicole (MyLoveForCooking) — August 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Need this in my life right now! Can’t wait! :)

  43. #
    Katie — November 24, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Kelly, do you think this would split nicely into 2 8×8 dishes to bake? I hate 2 thanksgivings to take Mac n cheese to:)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 24th, 2013 @ 7:32 pm

      Hi Katie! I’ve actually never tried splitting the recipe, so I can’t say for certain. But as long as you have an inch of room between the top of the mac n’ cheese and the top of the baking dish, you should be OK and it shouldn’t bubble over. Hope this helps!

  44. #
    Katie — November 27, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Thank you and happy thanksgiving!

  45. #
    Nina — December 8, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Hello Kelly,

    I am new to cooking in general, but followed the directions for your Roasted Garlic Mac & Cheese and it came out fantastic!! It was literally the best I’ve ever had. I have a gathering coming up this month at my home and wanted to make this in advance. Is it possible to get this dish to the point of being ready to bake but keep in the fridge and then bake in the morning? Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 8th, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

      Hi Nina! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! I’ve never tried that before, but I think as long as you keep it covered securely with plastic (so it doesn’t dry out). It should work to make it, refrigerate it and then bake it. Let me know how it goes!

  46. #
    Liz — January 6, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    This looks so yummy and I’m going to try it for dinner tonight! I have one question…do I bake the entire thing at 400f? Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 6th, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

      Hi Liz! Yes, the oven temp stays the same after you’ve roasted the garlic and the whole dish of mac’ and cheese goes into the oven at 400F. Enjoy!

  47. #
    Valerie | From Valerie's Kitchen — April 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm

    I’m so glad you shared this on G+ today because I had missed it, and I’m in love with it, and I’m going to make it…soon!


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