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Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese

Three flavorful cheeses, including cream cheese, seriously boost the yum factor of this homemade mac and cheese with cream cheese. Imagine, one of everyone’s favorite dishes, hot and ready in under an hour. What’s not to love?

Mac and cheese with cream cheese prepared in casserole dish

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When you blend white cheddar, gruyere, and cream cheese, something luscious and amazing happens — a smooth, rich bite with the perfect combo of sharp and mellow. Add this incredible cheese sauce to some tender little macaroni elbows and you have an ideal dish for dinner, lunch, or a special side.

If you’ve ever been intimidated by the thought of making mac and cheese from scratch, please don’t worry! This recipe is easy. Essentially, it’s stovetop mac and cheese with cream cheese and you choose whether to bake it or not.

So get ready to cook up a delicious pan of pure bliss, aka mac and cheese with cream cheese!

Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:

  • What ingredients you’ll need for this mac and cheese recipe
  • Step-by-step instructions for how to put everything together, plus a few tasty variations
  • The best way to store leftovers — if you have any!

Mac and cheese with cream cheese has a fairly short list of ingredients and is simple to prepare. Since it’s so easy, you may want to double the recipe to share or enjoy another meal.

prepared ingredients for mac and cheese with cream cheese

How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese With Cream Cheese

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain, rinse and set aside in the pot.

STEP TWO: In a large saucepan set over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter until bubbling. Add in the flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until combined and golden brown.  

STEP THREE: Slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream, mixing until smooth. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

STEP FOUR: Add the cream cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Repeat with the grated cheeses, adding them 1 cup at a time and whisking until melted, smooth, and thick — about 4 to 5 minutes.

pour sauce and al dente macaroni elbows to casserole dish

At this point, you would normally pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta to serve immediately. To make it ahead of time, combine the two into a casserole dish, cover, and refrigerate. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees when you’re ready to serve!

OPTIONAL: If you prefer baked mac and cheese with cream cheese, add the cooked pasta and cheese sauce to a greased 13×9 casserole dish. In a small bowl, combine the panko bread crumbs and melted butter, then sprinkle over the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees F until bubbly and golden brown. 

How to Store Leftovers

Store leftover mac and cheese with cream cheese in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. For the baked version, simply cover tightly with plastic wrap or foil for easy reheating!

How to Reheat Leftovers

Warm individual servings in the microwave or on the stove, adding a splash of milk as needed to get it creamy again.

To reheat in the oven, bake, covered in foil, for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

spoon dishing up some mac and cheese with cream cheese

What to Serve with this Mac and Cheese Recipe with Cream Cheese

This dish can be enjoyed as your main course or a side dish — whichever you prefer! 

Tips for Making the Best Mac and Cheese Recipe

  • Don’t rush the sauce! Take your time with each step to ensure that it comes out silky and smooth.
  • You may be tempted to try crockpot mac and cheese with cream cheese, but it won’t be the same. It’s hard to get the macaroni just right, and the cheese sauce will most likely separate. Make it on the stovetop for the best results!
  • Cook the noodles to al dente for baked mac and cheese with cream cheese. This ensures they hold their shape and don’t become mushy in the oven.
mac and cheese with cream cheese dished into bowl

Variations for Mac and Cheese

  • Add some veggies: steamed broccoli, peas, and caramelized onions would be tasty.
  • Or add some protein: stir in cooked, diced chicken, leftover ham, or crispy bacon crumbles.
  • Make it spicy: add a few dashes of your favorite hot sauce for an extra kick.

The Best Cheeses to Use for Macaroni and Cheese

Younger cheeses melt down nice and smooth while aged cheeses add loads of flavor. Try to use a combination of the two for the best results. In addition to the varieties listed in this recipe, other great choices include:

  • Parmesan
  • Gouda or Smoked Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Swiss
  • Muenster
  • Fontina
mac and cheese with cream cheese with spoon

Other Mac and Cheese Recipes You’ll Love:

Yield: 8-10 servings

Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese

Mac and cheese with cream cheese prepared in casserole dish

Three flavorful cheeses boost the yum factor of this homemade mac and cheese. Easy to prepare and ready in under an hour. What's not to love?

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Optional Bake Time 25 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper, freshly grated
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
  • 8 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly shredded
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, boil pasta in salted water according to package directions until tender. Drain, rinse, and set pot aside.
  2. In a large saucepan set over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan until bubbling. Add in the flour and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes, until combined and golden brown. 
  3. Slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream, mixing until smooth. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  4. Add the cream cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Repeat with the grated cheeses, adding them 1 cup at a time and whisking until smooth and thick, for 4 to 5 minutes. 
  5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the cheese sauce over the cooked pasta. Serve immediately.

OPTIONAL: 

  1. Transfer the mixture to a greased 13x9 casserole dish. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine the panko crumbs and melted butter, then sprinkle over the top.
  3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven until bubbly and golden brown, for 25 to 30 minutes. 
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese with Cream Cheese Leftovers

Warm individual servings in the microwave or on the stove, adding a splash of milk as needed to get it creamy again. 

To reheat in the oven, bake, covered in foil, for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 592mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 22g

This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.

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samantha

About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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