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White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

This White Cheddar Mac and Cheese is creamy, smooth, and delicious! It is topped with an herbed bread crumb topping and baked until perfection. It's the perfect comfort food!
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: white cheddar mac and cheese
Servings: 8 people
Author: Tania


  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta (or other similar pasta)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (equiv to 8 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 12 oz White Cheddar cheese, freshly shredded (use a box grater)
  • 8 oz Gruyere cheese, freshly shredded (use a box grater)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Herbed bread crumb topping:

  • 6 slices white sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the 1/2 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the flour and whisk constantly for about 4 minutes, until thickened. This is called a roux. Don’t rush this process as the raw flour needs to cook. At this point, the roux should be a bit pale in color and should begin to smell a tiny bit toasty.
  • Gradually, add the milk, stirring. Bring to a boil (turn up the heat to medium-high to get it going) and then reduce to a simmer for about 3-4 minutes, stirring often until thickened.
  • Add the freshly grated cheeses and stir until evenly combined. Cook for another 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta (drained) to the sauce and stir until well combined. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper to taste. Transfer to a large 9” x 13” baking dish. Set aside.
  • Make the herb crumb topping: combine all the herbed bread crumb topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times until you get crumbs. Note: if you don’t have food processor, use panko bread crumbs instead of bread.
  • Top the mac and cheese with the prepared herbed bread crumb topping.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Let it cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!


  • Special equipment: box grater for cheese, large Dutch oven or pot, 9x13 baking dish, food processor.
  • Freshly grated cheese! Grate the cheese right before cooking for best results.
  • Pasta: cook the pasta al dente (when the pasta is still a bit firm) since it will finish cooking in the oven.
  • Making the roux: Don't rush through the roux (flour and butter mixture) making process. The raw flour needs to cook for about 4 minutes with the butter. Nobody wants raw flour tasting sauce! Be sure to stir constantly to prevent it from burning.
  • Adding the milk: It will take a few minutes for the milk to thicken up, especially while simmering. I promise it will!
  • The herbed bread crumb topping: I prefer making fresh bread crumbs with my food processor, but if you don't have one, you can just use panko bread crumbs.