Joanna Gaines' Macaroni & Cheese Recipe Is for Family Gatherings by Donna John

Side Dishes Pasta Dinner
16 days ago

Joanna Gaines' Macaroni & Cheese Recipe Is for Family Gatherings

Joanna Gaines loves macaroni and cheese. She writes in her cookbook, Magnolia Table: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering, "I love to eat all kinds of food, but in all honesty if you told me I could have only one thing every day for the rest of my life, it would be mac and cheese. I realize this is exactly the choice that many 8-year-olds I know would make, and I’m OK with that."

Joanna's macaroni and cheese recipe is named after her friend, Becki. To make this special, cheesy baked mac and cheese, you will need to gather the following ingredients: elbow macaroni, heavy cream, milk, unsalted butter, processed cheese (think Velveeta), Gruyere cheese, mustard powder, ground nutmeg, black pepper and white cheddar cheese.

This is a creamy and addictive macaroni and cheese that's full of rich cheese flavor. Serve the pasta as a side dish with your favorite dinners, for lunch or as a vegetarian dinner with a side salad. And if you haven't checked out her cookbook, Magnolia Table, it is full of wonderful recipes and one of my favorites.

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Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces processed cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes (Velveeta)
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated white cheddar cheese

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Recipe Notes

  • Joanna specifically says elbow macaroni "with no ridges."
  • Joanna has an optional crispy topping in the recipe which is added sprinkled on after the mac and cheese bakes. To make the topping, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a skillet. Add one clove minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add 3 cups of panko and salt, to taste. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until golden, about 7 to 8 minutes.
  • Joanna will occasionally use cream cheese instead of processed cheese.
  • Store leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container for up to three days. Reheat in a 300-degree F oven.

Here's how to make it: 

  1. Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente according to package directions. Drain and put into a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine the cream, milk and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Melt the butter, then pour the mixture over the elbow macaroni. Add the processed cheese, gruyere, mustard, powder, nutmeg, black pepper and salt, to taste (Joanna adds 1/2 teaspoon). Stir to combine.
  3. Pour the mac and cheese into a 13x9-inch baking pan or similar-size baking dish. Top with the cheddar cheese. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for about 25 minutes. If adding topping, sprinkle it on. Serve. 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 718

Total Fat: 32.8g

Saturated Fat: 19.3g

Cholesterol: 98mg

Sodium: 552mg

Total Carbohydrate: 81.3g

Dietary Fiber: 7g

Total Sugars: 4.6g

Protein: 27.8g

Vitamin D: 16mcg

Calcium: 536mg

Iron: 8mg

Potassium: 442mg

Recipe cooking times, nutritional information and servings are approximate and provided for your convenience. However, 30Seconds is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe, nor may you have the same results because of variations in ingredients, temperatures, altitude, errors, omissions or cooking/baking abilities. This recipe has been analyzed by VeryWellFit. However, any nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and it is up to the individual to ascertain accuracy. To ensure image quality, we may occasionally use stock photography.

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Elisa Schmitz
OMGoodness, this looks amazing. Thank you for the decadent recipe and also the cookbook suggestion. I need to check it out!

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