Dinner/ Side dish/ Thanksgiving

Gruyere Mac and Cheese

8 September 2022 | Last Updated: 25 September 2022 By Aleksandra

This Gruyere mac and cheese recipe is really exceptional. The cheese sauce is made with brown butter, spices, and two kinds of cheese – delicious Gruyere cheese and sharp cheddar. It’s topped with crispy breadcrumb parmesan topping and baked until gooey in the middle and super crispy on top. It’s the perfect impressive side dish to make for a crowd. It’s a quick to make and ooey-gooey comfort food with complex flavor!

You may also like our pumpkin mac and cheese!

Gruyere mac and cheese on a slotted spoon being scooped out of a baking dish.

Ingredients

Below you will find information about the ingredients and how to prepare the recipe. For the measurements and detailed instructions scroll down to the printable recipe card.

Here’s what you need to make this delicious mac and cheese:

Labeled ingredients for Gruyere mac and cheese.
  • Standard ingredients for cheese sauce: butter, flour, milk, heavy cream (you can use milk), cheese.
  • Cheese: I used the best combo of cheeses for mac and cheese: creamy Gruyere cheese that has a nutty and strong flavor and sharp cheddar cheese. You can use just cheddar if you can’t find Gruyere but I would really recommend adding it – it adds a wonderful flavor. I don’t recommend adding just Gruyere, sharp taste of cheddar is also needed in this sauce. I
  • Spices and seasonings for cheese sauce: paprika, garlic and onion powder (you could also use fresh garlic and cook it in butter for 30 seconds), cayenne pepper for some gentle heat, Dijon mustard, AND lemon juice. Yes, you may think what lemon juice is doing in mac and cheese, but it’s a really great addition. It cuts through the heaviness of cheesy sauce and adds subtle flavor but the sauce won’t taste lemony, it’s just a small amount.
  • Crunchy breadcrumb parmesan topping: it’s seriously the best, don’t omit it! Panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and butter. I’m adding it to ALL my casseroles because it’s simply irresistible.

You could also top your mac and cheese with crispy bacon or crispy prosciutto.

How to make it step by step

Cooked pasta on a sieve. Grated cheese on a plate.

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

Cook the pasta 1 minute shorter than the package instructions. Drain and set aside.

STEP 2: Grate Gruyere and cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater.

Melted butter and brown butter in a pot.

STEP 3: Add butter to a medium pot and melt it.

STEP 4: Make brown butter: cook the melted butter over medium heat, whisking often, until it turns light brown and smells nutty.

Milk and cheese are being added to a sauce in a pot.

STEP 5: Add flour and whisk until combined. Cook over low heat for about a minute.

Add milk, heavy cream, and spices (paprika, onion and garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and Dijon mustard). Whisk until combined, bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes.

STEP 6: Cook the milk mixture over very low heat and make sure it’s cooking very gently. Gradually add cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking after every addition until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce.

Cheese sauce in a pot. Mac and cheese in a baking dish.

STEP 7: When all the cheese has been added season the sauce with lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. You should have a smooth sauce but if yours look grainy, just blend it with a hand mixer/blender and it will be perfect. I often mix the sauce additionally with the blender even if it’s already smooth – it won’t split when reheated or frozen and thawed.

STEP 8: Add the cheese sauce and cooked and drained macaroni to a 9×13 inch (23x33cm) casserole dish, and stir them together. The mac and cheese will be too runny at this point – baked mac and cheese must be really runny before going into the oven or it will turn out dry. It will thicken in the oven and then more while cooling.

TIP: If you don’t want to bake your mac and cheese you don’t need to, just add a little less sauce to the pasta. This stovetop mac and cheese will also be delicious.

Cheese is being added to breadcrumb topping. Mac and cheese in a baking dish ready to be baked.

STEP 9: Make the topping: melt the butter in a medium pot, add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.

STEP 10: Top the mac and cheese with the breadcrumb topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden and crunchy. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken slightly then dig in!

Enjoy!

Gruyere mac and cheese with a serving missing in a baking dish.

Storage and freezing instructions

This dish reheats very well and can be frozen!

How to store it: keep it in a closed container for up to 5 days in the fridge.

How to reheat it: In a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes or in an air fryer at 325°F (160°C). The air fryer is best for reheating this baked mac and cheese – the topping will be as crunchy as freshly baked. If you have made stovetop mac and cheese you can just reheat it in a pot adding a small amount of milk to thin it out (it will thicken considerably when cold but will become saucy again when reheated).

How to freeze it: Divide it into servings and freeze them in zip-lock bags. How to reheat: you can thaw your mac and cheese in the fridge first then reheat it as described above or bake it straight from the freezer. Place it in a baking dish and put it in a cold oven. Set it to 320°F (160°C) and bake until it’s warmed through.

Top Tips

  • Don’t overcook the pasta. You should actually undercook it and it will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Don’t add the cheese to a bubbling sauce – it may split (it will be grainy).
  • How to fix a broken sauce? Simply mix in with a blender!
  • Don’t add all the cheese at once – add it gradually whisking well after each addition.
  • Grate the cheese yourself – it tastes better and melts better.

Serving suggestions

Gruyere mac and cheese on a white plate.

Did you make this recipe? RATE THE RECIPE or tell me in the COMMENTS how you liked it! You can also add a photo of your dish. It would make me very happy and will help other readers. Thank you!!

Gruyere Mac and Cheese

This Gruyere mac and cheese recipe is really exceptional. The cheese sauce is made with brown butter, spices, and two kinds of cheese – delicious Gruyere cheese and sharp cheddar. It’s topped with crispy breadcrumb parmesan topping and baked until gooey in the middle and super crispy on top. It’s the perfect impressive side dish to make for a crowd. It’s a quick to make and ooey-gooey comfort food with complex flavor!
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Gruyere mac and cheese in a white casserole dish.
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Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 539kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

for the mac and cheese:

  • 1 pound (450g) macaroni pasta
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter
  • 5 tablespoons (40g) flour
  • 3 1/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups (300g) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups (200g) shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs 85g
  • 1/4 cup butter 60g
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan 45g

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Cook the pasta 1 minute shorter than the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Grate Gruyere and cheddar cheese on the large holes of a box grater.
  • Make brown butter: melt butter in a pot then cook it over medium heat, whisking often, until butter turns light brown and smells nutty.
  • Add flour and whisk until combined. Cook over low heat for about a minute.
  • Add milk, heavy cream, and spices (paprika, onion and garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Dijon mustard). Whisk until combined, bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cook the milk mixture over very low heat and make sure it’s cooking very gently. Gradually add cheese, about 1/2 cup at a time, whisking after every addition until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce.
  • When all the cheese has been added season the sauce with lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. You should have a smooth sauce but if yours look grainy, just blend it with a hand mixer/blender and it will be perfect. I often mix the sauce additionally with the blender even if it’s already smooth – it won’t split when reheated or frozen and thawed.
  • Add the cheese sauce and cooked and drained macaroni to a 9×13 inch (23x33cm) casserole dish, and stir them together. The mac and cheese will be too runny at this point – baked mac and cheese must be really runny before going into the oven or it will turn out dry. It will thicken in the oven and then more while cooling.
  • Make the topping: melt the butter in a medium pot, add the breadcrumbs and stir to coat. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese.
  • Top the mac and cheese with the breadcrumb topping. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden and crunchy. Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken slightly then dig in!
  • Enjoy!

Notes

Calories = 1 serving (1/10 of the recipe). This is only an estimate!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Diet Vegetarian
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