Creamy Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

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Creamy, cheesy, and oh so delicious Four Cheese Mac and Cheese. So simple to make, but so good! Perfectly cooked macaroni shells, tossed with a luscious and creamy cheese sauce made from nutty parmesan, sharp yellow and white cheddar, and rich cream cheese. Every bite will always leave you wanting more! Bonus? This recipe is seriously so simple to make and can be made in 20 minutes or LESS! Perfect for busy weeknight dinners when you want a delicious indulgent side that even the kids will love, a wonderful addition to lunch, or even as a side during the holiday’s. It simply does not get any better than this! So. GOOD.

bowl of mac and cheese on marble surface with two forks, thyme sprigs, bowl of cheese, and white flowers around

About The Recipe

Okay, is there anything better than a big bowl of macaroni and cheese? I’m just asking because, I’ll be honest, I really don’t think so. I mean, it’s creamy, cheesy, easy to make, and goes with pretty much anything!

Especially this mac and cheese. It’s been a staple recipe in our kitchen for years and we can never have enough of it. We make it when we need a delicious, homey, and quick bite to accompany dinner, or during the holiday’s for a serious crowd pleasing side.

And, when I tell you there is never any left, I’m not kidding! During the holiday’s, this is always the first to go. Everyone always comes back for seconds, even thirds. It’s literally that good.

The secret? Cream cheese!

I know it sounds a little odd, but this is something we discovered a while back when we were desperate to achieve a macaroni and cheese that was cheesy, but not greasy. Creamy, but not too heavy or too liquid-y.

The cream cheese is such a small amount in comparison that it really only adds a creaminess to the cheese sauce. So, it doesn’t impart any flavors into the actual sauce itself…but it does make a HUGE difference in how it tastes and cooks.

We also found that, by adding the cream cheese, we weren’t ever having issues with our sauce breaking/becoming grainy! It’s a total win-win.

angled shot of macaroni and cheese in antique bowl with forks, vase of flowers, and bowl of grated parmesan behind

Oh, and the best part? You’re only 20 minutes away from having a big bowl of mac and cheese to eat. Yep. You read that right. Just 20 short minutes…or even less from the best bowl of mac you’ve had.

Seriously, it’s SO good and so easy to make.

Reasons You Will Love This Creamy Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

  • Creamy, cheesy, and SO. GOOD.
  • Never breaks or becomes grainy.
  • Stores and reheats well.
  • A definite crowd pleasing side.
  • Super easy to make.
  • Perfect for weeknight or holiday dinners.
  • Ready in 20 minutes or LESS!
angled close up of mac and cheese with fork in bowl, flowers and base behind

Equipment Needed

Ingredients

(Full ingredient amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post)

  • Macaroni Shells
  • Unsalted Butter
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Whole Milk
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Yellow Cheddar Cheese
  • White Cheddar Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper
cheddar cheese, macaroni shells, salt, pepper, cream cheese, flour, parmesan, butter, milk, and white cheddar on marble surface

How To Make Mac and Cheese

Step 1: Cook pasta

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.

cooked medium macaroni shells in colander on marble surface

Step 2: Make the sauce

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir until smooth.

Whisk in milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Return just to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes.

Stir in parmesan cheese until melted.

Add the cream cheese.

Stir in the yellow and white cheddar.

Season to taste.

Step 3: Add pasta

Mix in the drained macaroni shells.

What Can I Add To Mac and Cheese?

The thing about this creamy mac and cheese is that it’s so simple that it, quite literally, can go with anything! The customization is endless, but here are a few of our favorites.

  • Sautéed Broccoli Florets
  • Cooked Bacon
  • Grilled, Fried, or Baked Chicken
  • Tofu
  • Spinach
  • English Peas
  • Jalapeños
  • Chopped Ham
  • Cooked Turkey
  • Green Onions
  • Minced Garlic
  • Herbs (parsley and thyme are a favorite!)
  • Toasted Bread Crumbs
close up of bowl of mac and cheese with thyme sprigs and grated cheese on top

Best Pasta To Use For Mac and Cheese?

I think everyone has a personal preference. In our home, it’s the medium shells (or macaroni shells)! We love how each shell literally is a scoop full of cheesy goodness. Though, the best part about mac and cheese is you can use whatever pasta you have on hand!

How To Store

Once made and cooled, you can store this mac and cheese in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also freeze it in a freezer safe container to enjoy at a later date! It should keep about 3 months. If you freeze it, just remember to set it in the fridge the night before to thaw!

Substitutions

  • Pretty much any cheese can be used in this recipe. Though, changing the cheese will change the flavor of this mac and cheese and we can’t guarantee how it will cook/taste.
  • Any pasta shape can be used! From standard macaroni shells to orecchiette. It’s best to use a pasta with a shell-like shape, but whatever you have on hand will work.

Looking for more recipes like this? Here are a few you may like: Southern Baked Mac and Cheese, Buttery Mashed Potatoes, Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls, Lemon Garlic Shrimp Orzo

angled close up of macaroni and cheese in bowl with forks, stack of plates, and vase behind

Expert Tips

  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan is equal to 2 oz.
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar (white or yellow) is equal to 3 oz.
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese is equal to 2 oz.
  • When cooking the pasta, be sure to follow the package directions! You do not want to over cook the pasta.
  • After cooking the pasta, be sure to run it under some cold water to ensure it stops cooking!
  • It takes a little longer, but shredding your own cheeses makes a huge difference in this recipe! It’s definitely worth the effort.
  • Use sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor!
  • The béchamel sauce should start to thicken after about 3-4 minutes. Do not over cook it!
  • When adding the cheeses, make sure each cheese is melted completely before adding the next cheese.
  • Use a whisk to make the sauce for a smoother sauce.
  • Be careful not to break/crush the pasta once you add it.
  • To reheat this mac and cheese on the stove, you may need to add a splash more of whole milk.

When you make this Creamy Four Cheese Mac and Cheese, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

bowl of mac and cheese on marble surface with two forks, thyme sprigs, bowl of cheese, and white flowers around

Creamy Four Cheese Mac and Cheese

Traci
Simple, easy, and oh so delicious! This Creamy Mac and Cheese is seriously the only recipe you'll ever need. With four different cheeses and a few pantry staples, it comes together in 20 minutes or LESS! So. Good.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Sides
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 261 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 4 cups shells, or pasta of choice
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • ¾ cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Set aside.
  • In a 4 quart saucepan, melt butter.
  • Add flour and stir until smooth.
  • Whisk in milk, a little at a time, beating after each addition until smooth.
  • Return just to a boil, then reduce heat and cook until thickened, 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in parmesan cheese until melted.
  • Stir in cream cheese.
  • Add cheddars and stir until melted.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Add drained macaroni.

Notes

Substitutions:
  • Pretty much any cheese can be used in this recipe. Though, changing the cheese will change the flavor of this mac and cheese and we can’t guarantee how it will cook/taste.
  • Any pasta shape can be used! From standard macaroni shells to orecchiette. It’s best to use a pasta with a shell-like shape, but whatever you have on hand will work.
 
Expert Tips:
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan is equal to 2 oz.
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar (white or yellow) is equal to 3 oz.
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese is equal to 2 oz.
  • When cooking the pasta, be sure to follow the package directions! You do not want to over cook the pasta.
  • After cooking the pasta, be sure to run it under some cold water to ensure it stops cooking!
  • It takes a little longer, but shredding your own cheeses makes a huge difference in this recipe! It’s definitely worth the effort.
  • Use sharp cheddar cheese for the best flavor!
  • The béchamel sauce should start to thicken after about 3-4 minutes. Do not over cook it!
  • When adding the cheeses, make sure each cheese is melted completely before adding the next cheese.
  • Use a whisk to make the sauce for a smoother sauce.
  • Be careful not to break/crush the pasta once you add it.
  • To reheat this mac and cheese on the stove, you may need to add a splash more of whole milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ozCalories: 261kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 11gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 198mgPotassium: 162mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 365IUCalcium: 199mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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