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Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese 

Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese lovers, get ready to try this copycat recipe! With delicious soft macaroni noodles, a creamy sauce, and the best blend of cheeses, this recipe is perfect for those nights when you want a restaurant style dinner but don’t want to get all dressed up.

spoon scooping mac and cheese out of a dish

I’ve made this my own mac and cheese copycat recipe, adapting a bunch of suggestions from other recipes and creating the best one that I’ve tried so far.

Cheesecake Factory Macaroni and Cheese Recipe 

Next time you have a craving for mac and cheese, you’ll have to try this crispy crumb coated macaroni and cheese.

Although this is a main or a side dish, I prefer to serve it Cheesecake Factory style and pair it with other southern comfort foods.

It’s quickly becoming one of my family’s favorite recipes for when we want the taste of a restaurant quality meal without having to leave the house to get it.

With savory macaroni, creamy Alfredo sauce, and toasted breadcrumbs to top it off, this recipe is a must-try.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
labeled picture of mac and cheese ingredients

Ingredients Needed

Macaroni – Elbow macaroni is preferred, but sub any pasta you like.

Parmesan cheese – Switch for asiago if there is no parmesan on hand.

Gouda cheese – Replace with Havarti or more sharp cheddar if you don’t have any.

Sharp cheddar cheese – Substitute with American cheese or Colby jack if desired.

Monterey jack cheese – Pepper jack cheese is a popular sub for Monterey jack.

Heavy cream – Melt butter and combine with half and half for a replacement.

Paprika – If you don’t like paprika, try tossing in garlic powder instead.

Breadcrumbs – Swap out breadcrumbs for Ritz crackers, or for a gluten free option if needed.

Pantry staples – Salt, black pepper, all purpose flour, unsalted butter.

Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!

How To Make Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese Recipe

First: Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all shredded cheese in large bowl and mix. 

Second: Cook macaroni according to package directions, usually 1-2 minutes less than suggested. Drain and pour noodles into dish.

Third: In small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until raw flour taste is gone. Reduce heat and pour in cream, whisking continually to thicken. 

Fourth: Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in seasonings and half of cheese mixture. 

Fifth: Pour over top of the prepared macaroni noodles and gently stir to combine. Spread into even layer and top with remaining cheese.

Sixth: Melt remaining butter in a small dish. Add breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Coat breadcrumb and butter mixture over top of mac and cheese.

Seventh: Place casserole dish in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown. Remove and garnish with fresh parsley or green onions.

For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.

casserole dish with blue napkin and spoon in it

How long does it last in the fridge? 

The leftover mac and cheese in this recipe will be good in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Make sure to store in an airtight container, covered tightly with a lid or wrapped in plastic wrap so that no air can get in.

To reheat, just remove from the fridge and heat according to instructions, or until warm all the way through.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, this recipe is easy to prep ahead of time. To do so, follow the recipe up until the creation of the breadcrumb and butter mixture.

I recommend waiting on this step, because you don’t want your bread crumbs to get soggy. Wait until the day of to complete this portion, before topping your mac and cheese and popping it into the oven.

fork with bite of mac and cheese on it

Can I freeze it?

Mac and cheese is super easy to freeze, which makes it the perfect make-ahead meal for busy weeknights. I recommend making the dish up until you would create your breadcrumb mixture.

Cover in an airtight container and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Once you’re ready, remove it from the freezer and begin baking the cold mac and cheese.

Once it has thawed a little in the oven, add your breadcrumb mixture . Continue to heat until it’s warm all the way through and your breadcrumbs have become golden brown.

You can also portion out a serving of food and freeze, to make it even easier to only grab the amount that you need for that night.

spoon scooping mac and cheese out of a dish

What is the best cheese blend for mac and cheese?

This is a heavily debated topic, and most people have a strong opinion on what the best cheese sauce blend is for creating mac and cheese.

Personally, I like a mix of cheddar, gouda, parmesan, and Monterey Jack, because I feel like these cheeses all have flavors that are complimentary of one another.

That being said, if you decide to make this recipe more than once, you can always experiment with the different cheeses until you find the blend that you like the most!

plate of mac and cheese with rosemary plant in the background

Tips for No Leftovers

  • Not a big Alfredo fan but still want to try it? You can also mix in marinara, which creates more of a tomato taste and offers an interesting twist on this recipe. 
  • To create the famous fried macaroni and cheese (one of my favorite things from Cheesecake Factory), start by creating the base through this recipe. From there, you can freeze small pieces of the mac and cheese, before dunking in an egg mixture (usually just an egg wash created from whisking eggs) and coating in breadcrumbs. Deep fry, and enjoy! 
  • If you’re a fan of adding some pasta water to your dishes for creaminess, make sure to fill the medium saucepan for your noodles with cold water. This creates quicker cook times and also creates starchier water than using room temperature, perfect for increasing the creaminess of your sauce. 
  • Shred your own cheese instead of buying it. This will ensure that you get the most flavor, since most shredded cheeses are covered in starch to work as an anti-clumping agent. 
  • Turn this into cheese burger mac and cheese by mixing in ground beef along with your noodles and sauce.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

spoon scooping mac and cheese out of a dish with white banner and text

Baked mac and cheese at home can be amazing if you find the right recipe, so if you love Mac and Cheese Cheesecake Factory style, you’ve come to the right place. Over the years, Cheesecake Factory Fried Mac and Cheese balls have become my go-to appetizer when I go there, mainly because the mac and cheese is so rich and flavorful. Make this at home for busy weeknights is best. It can be stored in the fridge for days, and is super quick to heat up on the go.

casserole dish with blue napkin and spoon in it

Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

This copycat recipe for Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese is easy to make and the perfect side dish for so many things!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (cooked al dente)
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup gouda cheese (shredded)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
  • 1 cup monterey jack cheese (shredded)
  • ½ cup butter + 2 tablespoons (divided for breadcrumb topping)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Prepare macaroni according to package directions, under cooking slightly so they are firm.
  3. Drain and pour noodles into prepared baking dish.
  4. Combine all the shredded cheese in a bowl and toss to mix.
  5. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt ½ cup butter.
  6. Stir in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes to remove raw flour taste.
  7. Reduce heat to low. Pour in the cream and whisk continually to thicken.
  8. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in seasonings and half the cheese mixture.
  9. Pour over the noodles in the baking dish and gently stir to combine.
  10. Spread into an even layer and top with remaining cheese.
  11. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small dish. Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.
  12. Sprinkle breadcrumb and butter mixture over the top of the mac and cheese.
  13. Bake 25-30 minutes until bubbly and the breadcrumbs are a golden brown.
  14. Remove and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
  15. Serve warm.

Notes

  • Not a big Alfredo fan but still want to try it? You can also mix in marinara, which creates more of a tomato taste and offers an interesting twist on this recipe. 
  • To create the famous fried macaroni and cheese (one of my favorite things from Cheesecake Factory), start by creating the base through this recipe. From there, you can freeze small pieces of the mac and cheese, before dunking in an egg mixture (usually just an egg wash created from whisking eggs) and coating in breadcrumbs. Deep fry, and enjoy! 
  • If you’re a fan of adding some pasta water to your dishes for creaminess, make sure to fill the medium saucepan for your noodles with cold water. This creates quicker cook times and also creates starchier water than using room temperature, perfect for increasing the creaminess of your sauce. 
  • Shred your own cheese instead of buying it. This will ensure that you get the most flavor, since most shredded cheeses are covered in starch to work as an anti-clumping agent. 
  • Turn this into cheese burger mac and cheese by mixing in ground beef along with your noodles and sauce.

Recommended Products

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 622Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 753mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 21g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and we can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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