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Dig into the ultimate comfort food! This Spaghetti Mac and Cheese recipe is a deliciously cheesy, irresistible meal that’s perfect for any occasion. Serve it as a hearty side dish or as a meatless main dish.

In this twist on classic, tender spaghetti noodles are tossed with an extra creamy three-cheese sauce and then baked until bubbly. Sharp cheddar, smoked cheddar, and fresh garlic give the sauce a ton of flavor, while colby jack keeps things smooth and creamy.

Serve with a side salad or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.

Spaghetti mac and cheese casserole in a white baking dish.
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Why You’ll Love This Spaghetti Mac and Cheese Recipe

  • Smooth and Creamy – I’m going to show how to make the most velvety smooth cheese sauce in just minutes!
  • Two Kid-Friendly Faves in One – It’s a fantastic mashup of mac and cheese and spaghetti!
  • Versatile – Make it a meal or make it a side dish, either way it’s the best kind of comfort food.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti – While the point of the recipe is spaghetti, you could use any long noodle, like linguine or bucatini.
  • Butter – I use salted butter.
  • Garlic – Fresh, for the best flavor, but jarred minced garlic will work too.
  • Flour – All purpose, for making a roux to thicken the cheese sauce.
  • Half & Half and Heavy Cream – I find that using mostly half & half and a little cream gives it a rich flavor and luxurious texture without being too heavy.
  • Cayenne Pepper – For just a pinch of heat to balance all the creaminess.
  • Cheese – I used Sharp White Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar, and Colby Jack, but you can use any three cheeses you like as long as they melt well.

How To Make Spaghetti Mac and Cheese

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions, reserving a cup of the salty pasta water for later. Drain and toss with a pat of butter.

Warm the half & half and heavy cream over low heat.

Melted butter and flour in a skillet.
Cream added to a roux to thicken it.
Cheese added to the white sauce in a saucepan.

Melt some butter in a saucepan and saute some garlic, then add flour and whisk to make a roux. Whisk in the cream and bring to a simmer, then add the cheese and some of the reserved water and stir until melted.

Spaghetti and cheese sauce in a saucepan.

Toss the pasta and sauce together then pour into a baking dish. Top with more shredded cheese and bake until bubbly. Sit 5 minutes before serving.

A fork teirling pasta in a bowl.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of cheese should I use for mac and cheese?

You can use a blend of cheeses like colby-jack, cheddar, gruyere, mozzarella, and parmesan for a perfect balance of flavor and creaminess.

Can I add vegetables?

Absolutely! Veggies like broccoli, peas, or spinach can add a healthy twist to your dish.

Can I freeze Mac and Cheese?

Generally, yes. Cool completely, then transfer to a freezer safe container. As it thaws, it may still continue to absorb the sauce and may be a little dry. Adding cream when reheating should help.

How can I elevate the flavor of mac and cheese?

There are several additions that will enhance the flavor: crispy bacon crumbles, different types of tangy cheeses like blue cheese or goat cheese, diced buffalo chicken, or BBQ pork. Even chorizo would be a nice spicy addition.

Storage

Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge.

This dish is best served the same day. Reheating in the oven after being refrigerated will cause the sauce to break and become greasy. For best reheating results, bring to room temperature, then warm portions in a large saute pan with a generous splash of milk over low heat, stirring frequently. Reheating low and slow will help keep the sauce together during reheating. 

Small bowl with spaghetti in cheese sauce and a fork.

Helpful Tips

  1. Use a blend of cheeses for depth of flavor.
  2. Cook the pasta al dente as it continues cooking in the sauce.
  3. Add a dash of nutmeg to the cheese sauce for a unique taste.
  4. Always add the cheese to the sauce off the heat to prevent it from becoming stringy.
  5. A little mustard can enhance the cheese flavor.
  6. Don’t skimp on the cheese. It’s the star of the show!
  7. You can add in cooked bacon or ham for an extra boost of protein.
  8. Always salt your pasta water. It’s the first step in seasoning your dish.
  9. For a crispier topping: To add some crunch to the cheese topping, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a microwave safe bowl, toss with ½ cup panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add cheese topping to the dish, followed by breadcrumb mixture. Bake as directed. 

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Recipe
Spaghetti with cheese twirled on a fork.

Spaghetti Mac and Cheese Recipe

5 from 2 votes
Spaghetti Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food! Deliciously cheesy, and perfect for any occasion. Makes a hearty side or main dish.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound spaghetti noodles I used Barilla thick spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 ½ cups half and half
  • ½ cup heavy cream room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated colby jack cheese

Cheese topping

  • cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
  • cup grated smoked cheddar
  • cup grated colby jack cheese
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Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425℉. Spray a 9”x13” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions in heavily salted water until al dente; do not overcook. Before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta water.
  • Drain pasta, return to pot, toss with butter or olive oil to prevent the noodles from clumping together.
  • In a small pot, warm the half & half and cream over low heat until it begins to steam, do not boil. Turn off heat.
  • Make the roux: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the flour and cook, whisking until flour smells fragrant and is cooked through, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Whisking constantly, stream the warm half & half mixture into the roux. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce heat to medium low, stirring occasionally.
  • Whisk in cheese a handful at a time until all cheese is incorporated. If the sauce is too thick, add in a splash of reserved pasta water. The sauce should be on the thin side; it will thicken in the oven.
  • Pour the sauce into the pot with the pasta, toss gently, and pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with cheese topping.
  • Bake uncovered in a preheated oven uncovered until cheese is melted and spaghetti is warmed through, 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Notes

To add some crunch to the cheese topping: Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a microwave safe bowl, toss with ½ cup panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Add cheese topping to the dish, followed by breadcrumb mixture. Bake as directed.
Always grate cheese fresh off the block.

Nutrition

Calories: 649kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 25gFat: 39gSaturated Fat: 23gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 757mgPotassium: 305mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1214IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 523mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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