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

Bechamel

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Toasted Crumbs

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

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Main Course

Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese

Ditch the boxed stuff and kick up a classic with this easy, cheesy recipe for Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese
4.84 from 6 votes
Roasted Garlic Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 15 mins
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients 

For crumb topping:

  • 4 Tablespoons (½ 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

Instructions 

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 ½ 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 ½ 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.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!

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Recipe inspired by Epicurious.


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Nutrition

Calories: 517kcal, Carbohydrates: 44g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 795mg, Potassium: 298mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 870IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 562mg, Iron: 1.6mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this superb recipe Kelly ! It came out perfect. Loved the garlic flavor in it too !

    Have 2 queries for you :
    1. My cheese curdled a bit when melting it in the pot . The milk was hot enough when I added the cheese, and I was stirring it consistently .

    Why do you think it curdled ? Is it because the cheese I used was a bit cold due to being in the fridge ? Or the milk being too hot ?

    2. My oven temp limit is 400 F. So every 7/8 mins it shuts off due to the temp slightly crossing 400 F. I had to restart the cooking a couple of times due to this . So would it be okay if I cooked it at a slightly lower temp, e.g. 380 F, but for a slightly longer period ?

    1. Hi there! Make sure you’re using whole milk, as lower fat milks are more likely to curdle, especially if the sauce is brought to a boil. And yes, feel free to cook at a slightly lower temp until it’s golden brown and bubbling.

  2. 5 stars
    WOW this is an unreal recipe! I’ve always made homemade mac and cheese with DISMAL results and this is the first one that has been unreal good! I think it’s a combination of the amazing added flavour of the roasted garlic (vs the powdered that most recipes call for) and the extra liquid that’s added from the pasta water. This was AMAZING!

    I also added some broccoli to my recipe (cooked it in the last few minutes with the pasta) so I felt like I was at least getting SOME veggies!

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I will definitely be making again!

    1. Woohoo! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Allison! And I love your addition of broccoli :)

  3. I absolutely love your recipe! I am writing vegetarian recipe round ups on my blog in 2019 for people who are trying to make more meat-free meals (everyone has to start somewhere). I would love to feature you. You can check out my blog (for beginner environmentalists) Sunshine Guerrilla. Is it alright if I share this link to your recipe?

  4. 5 stars
    I used this recipe to make a vegan mac and cheese and it turned out sooo freaking YUM! Used Earth Balance vegan butter, Califia almond milk and Follow Your Heart cheddar and parmesan cheese to replace all the dairy ingredients. It was my first time making it from scratch but your recipe was so quick and easy to follow I shocked myself with how good it was lol. Thank you!

  5. Could I possibly make this entirely a day ahead and refrigerate, and then bake before serving?

    1. Hi Patty! 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. Would love to hear your results if you give it a shot!

  6. This recipe was simple and delicious! I’ve tried a lot of I LOVE roasted garlic macaroni with garlic recipes, and with this one I feel like I finally hit gold! Full taste, beautiful colour, perfect salt, That is exciting! I am so happy for you!Thank you for this delicious recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Made this last night, my husband and I LOVED it! The garlic was such a delicious touch. I plan on making this for Christmas this year mmm!

      1. 5 stars
        Quick question: would you be able to make these the night before, and reheat the next day? I would wait to put the breadcrumbs on top until I was reheating them. Thanks!

      2. Hi Kelly – 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 if you give it a shot!

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