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3 Cheese Mac and Cheese

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Our 3 cheese mac and cheese is a cheesy, comforting side dish. It’s loaded with Gouda, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses!

Cheesy pasta is one of our favorite go-to recipes. In fact, we have quite a few mac and cheese recipes on the site already.

From our easy macaroni and cheese to our Instant Pot mac and cheese, we’ve got you covered.

For today, we’re revising our 3 cheese mac and cheese dish. Kim updated the photos and the recipe.

It’s still uses three cheeses, but Kim made a few teaks to change the texture of the cheesy pasta.

The 3 cheese mac and cheese in a square bowl.
The cheese sauce is smooth and creamy!

We also added an optional baking step, but it’s not necessary. Either way, you’re going to end up with a delicious side dish.

As always, I’ve included a few tips at the bottom of the post. So, shall we get started?

Aerial view of the cheesy pasta in a casserole dish.
Gouda, cheddar, and Monterrey Jack cheeses make a wonderful combination.

How to make 3 Cheese Mac and Cheese?

First, start by cooking your pasta noodles per the box or package instructions. Drain the noodles and set them aside.

Butter and flour cooking in a saucepan.
You have to make a roux in order to make the cheese sauce.

Next, grab a large saucepan and place it over medium heat. Melt the butter and then sprinkle in the flour.

Meanwhile, as the flour cooks, use a whisk to combine the ingredients. Let the roux cook for a few minutes.

After the flour cooks, pour in the milk, heavy cream, salt, ground mustard, and cayenne powder.

Ground mustard and other ingredients added to the saucepan.
The roux will thicken the heavy cream and milk mixture.

Whisk the ingredients together and let the mixture heat until it starts to steam. At this point, it’s time to add the cheese.

Now, slowly start add the shredded cheeses. I recommend adding no more than a small handful at a time.

Otherwise, the cheese will sink to the bottom of the pan, stick, and burn.

Cheese melted into the dairy and spice mixture.
Using a roux creates a creamier cheese sauce.

Use your whisk to stir the sauce as you add the cheese. Keep the liquid moving.

Let each handful of Gouda, cheddar, and Monterrey Jack cheese melt before adding more.

At this point, the cheese sauce should thicken as it continues to cook.

Cooked pasta added to the cheese sauce.
The sauce will thicken even more when you add the starchy noodles.

Then, once all the cheese has been incorporated, stir in the cooked and drained pasta.

Technically, your 3 cheese mac and cheese recipe is done. You can eat it now or move on to the optional steps.

The macaroni and cheese transferred to a baking dish.
Top the mac and cheese with more cheddar just before baking.

Optional Steps:

If you’re still reading the post, then I assume you want to bake the pasta. If so, grease a 9×13-inch casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and transfer the macaroni and cheese to the baking dish.

Last, top it with extra cheddar cheese and bake the pasta for about 15-minutes. Remove it from the oven and serve!

Mac and cheese being scooped from the baking dish.
Once it’s done baking, it’s ready to serve.

That’s it, the recipe is completely done! Kim and I hope you enjoy it and wish you all the best 🙂

Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container, in your fridge for up to 3-days.

Recipe Tips:

  • If the noodles start to dry out while making the cheese sauce, rinse them in a little warm water and then drain them again. The warm water will, “refresh,” them.
  • You want the flour to cook long enough to get rid of that raw flour flavor. However, keep in mind that if the flour cooks for too long, your cheese sauce will thin and watery.
  • Do NOT let the heavy cream and milk mixture come to a boil, if it does your cheese sauce will separate.
  • You can freeze this macaroni and cheese. It should last up to 60-days in your freezer when properly stored. Thaw it completely in your fridge before baking at 350 degrees F. in a preheated oven for 30-45 minutes (or until it’s hot and bubbly).
Top-down view of the mac and cheese on a plate.
You can use macaroni pasta or any other short pasta you love!

Other mac and cheese recipes you may enjoy:

The 3 cheese mac and cheese in a square bowl.

3 Cheese Mac and Cheese

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Our 3 cheese mac and cheese is a cheesy, comforting side dish. It's loaded with Gouda, cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses!

Ingredients

  • 5 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 5 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ Teaspoon Ground Mustard
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne
  • 3 Cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Cups Heavy Cream
  • 8 Ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 8 Ounces Gouda, shredded
  • 4 Ounces Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 4 Ounces Sharp Cheddar, optional (for topping while baking)

Instructions

First, cook your pasta per the box or package instructions. Drain and set the noodles aside to be used later. If they start to dry out, run a little warm water over them, mix gently, and re-drain.

Next, over medium heat in a large saucepan, melt the butter and then add the flour. Whisk the mixture and let it cook for one to three minutes. The longer the flour cooks, the thinner the cheese sauce will turn out.

Afterward, add the milk, heavy cream, salt, ground mustard, and cayenne to the butter/flour mix. Use a whisk to combine the ingredients, then let everything cook for about five minutes or until the cream starts to steam.

Then, slowly add the shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, and gouda cheeses. Be sure to whisk the cheese sauce as everything melts together. The sauce should begin to thicken as it cooks for a few minutes. 

Last, pour the three cheese sauce over the drained pasta noodles. Stir the noodles and cheese sauce together. The mixture may appear a bit soupy but can be enjoyed immediately. The sauce will thicken slightly as the mac and cheese cools.

Another option is to bake the macaroni and cheese. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour the macaroni and cheese into the dish and top with an additional 4 ounces of shredded cheese (optional). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350°F until the cheese is lightly browned bubbly. Serve hot!

Notes

The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of about 1-cup of the 3 cheese mac and cheese. Actual calories will vary. Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container, in your fridge, for up to 3-days.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1-Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 672Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 36gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 184mgSodium: 919mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 26g

*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.

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