My family loves macaroni and cheese. Our recipes are some of the most popular on the site. We’ve tried mac and cheese at almost every restaurant and my daughter definitely has her favorites. Cheesecake Factory Macaroni and Cheese is always at the top of the list!
If you like a good baked mac and cheese, I recommend trying this recipe. You should also try Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese balls the next time you go! They’re delish!
This recipe has a decent-sized list of ingredients and is actually easy to make. It reminds me a lot of a southern baked mac and cheese with a few different ingredients.
Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the printable recipe card or continue reading for tips and the full recipe.
CHEESECAKE FACTORY MACARONI AND CHEESE
Even though this recipe is a copycat recipe inspired by Cheesecake Factory Mac and Cheese, it’s really pretty close to an old-fashioned baked macaroni and cheese.
It makes a great side dish or can even be used as a main dish. Pair it with some veggies and make it a meal!
This might take a little longer than opening a box of noodles, but it is definitely worth it!
WHAT IS THE BEST CHEESE FOR MAKING MACARONI AND CHEESE?
The best thing about this recipe is that it uses more than one kind of cheese. In this baked macaroni and cheese you’ll use white cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar cheese.
But did you ever wonder about the best cheese for making mac and cheese?
Here are some of the best cheeses to use:
- Cheddar – It is a staple and has a great flavor for macaroni. You can adjust the flavor by using sharp cheddar for more flavor or mild for better melting. Or use medium cheddar for a happy middle ground.
- Monterey Jack – It melts perfectly for macaroni and cheese. The flavor is similar to cheddar and it also pairs well if you want to do more than one cheese in your recipe. I prefer to use it paired with one or more other cheeses.
- Parmesan – This offers a salty flavor that pairs well with other cheeses. You can also add it to the top of your baked macaroni and cheese at the end to add more color as it finishes baking.
- Fontina – This is one of my favorite cheeses. It melts wonderfully so it’s great for mac and cheese. The flavor can vary depending on the variety but if you want a creamy melt, it’s a great go-to cheese.
- Gouda – This cheese melts well and offers an elevated flavor without being too intense.
- Cream Cheese – It is used in many macaroni recipes. It melts with ease and makes a great sauce.
HOW TO MAKE CHEESECAKE FACTORY MAC AND CHEESE
To get started you will need some basic ingredients from your kitchen.
This recipe uses four types of cheese:
- White cheddar cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
You can tweak these cheeses to include your favorites if you’d like. You’ll still get great flavor using this recipe!
You’ll also need the following ingredients:
- Elbow macaroni
- Heavy cream
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full list of ingredients and measurements.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13 baking dish by greasing it with nonstick cooking spray.
Then prepare a 16-ounce package of elbow macaroni. I recommend undercooking the pasta a bit because it will get cooked a second time when it is placed in the cheese sauce and baked.
Shred all of your cheeses while the noodles cook. I recommend shredding your own cheese but you can use pre-shredded cheese for the ease factor. It will still work in this recipe.
Combine the white cheddar, parmesan, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses in a large bowl. Set aside.
Drain the pasta and then spread the cooked macaroni noodles in an even layer in the prepared pan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook until bubbly and browned, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t burn.
Pour in the cream and milk, and reduce the heat to low. Let the mixture simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, stirring constantly to keep it from burning.
Remove the pan from heat and season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Don’t forget the paprika!
Stir in ¾ of the cheese mixture until it is melted. Then pour the cheese sauce over the top of the prepared macaroni noodles and lightly stir to mix.
Top with remaining cheese. Then sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the cheese layer.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
SHOULD I COVER MAC AND CHEESE WHEN BAKING?
I prefer to bake my mac and cheese uncovered because you get a top that is more crusty around the edges and corners. I like the bit of a top layer it makes and it pairs well with the creamy pasta underneath.
But it’s definitely a personal preference and you can make it either way.
WHAT TEMPERATURE DO YOU BAKE MACARONI AND CHEESE?
Baked Cheesecake Factory macaroni and cheese is cooked at 350°F for about 30 minutes.
HOW DO YOU TELL IF BAKED MAC AND CHEESE IS DONE?
When the breadcrumbs on the top are golden and the cheese is bubbling, the macaroni and cheese is done.
WHY IS MY MAC AND CHEESE RUBBERY?
Macaroni and cheese can get rubbery if the pasta is overcooked. If you have this problem, I recommend that you undercook your pasta a bit because it will continue to cook in the sauce and during the baking time.
CAN YOU OVERCOOK BAKED MAC AND CHEESE?
The answer is yes. It’s important to remember that when you’re baking it, you’re cooking the macaroni a second time. So if you cook it to perfection when you’re prepping the pasta, you can end up with overcooked macaroni and cheese.
MORE FAVORITE MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES
If your family loves macaroni and cheese as mine does, try some of our other favorite recipes!
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese
- Crockpot Mac and Cheese
- Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
- Hamburger Macaroni and Cheese
Cheesecake Factory Macaroni and Cheese
- 16 ounce package elbow macaroni (prepared)
- ½ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 stick of butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ cups breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9×13 baking dish by greasing with nonstick cooking spray.
- Prepare your macaroni noodles according to the package. Slightly undercook the noodles since they will be cooked more in the oven.
- Spread the cooked macaroni noodles in an even layer in the prepared pan.
- Combine the white cheddar, parmesan, Monterey jack, and sharp cheddar cheeses in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add flour and cook until bubbly and browned, stirring occasionally.
- Pour in the cream and milk, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until sauce begins to thicken, stirring constantly to keep it from burning.
- Remove the pan from heat and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Stir in ¾ of the cheese mixture until melted.
- Pour cheese sauce over the top of the prepared macaroni noodles and lightly stir to mix.
- Top with remaining cheese.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the cheese layer.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden brown.