Cheese has a bone to pick with whoever coined the term "macaroni and cheese." What's up with the second-place billing? Shouldn't it really be "cheese and macaroni?" Because when you think about it, cheese is undeniably the star of this world-favorite dish. Who brings the flavor to mac n cheese? Cheese. Who supplies the creamy goodness? Cheese again. You can enjoy cheese on its own – it's one of the greatest flavor experiences of all time. But macaroni alone? That's just a tough chew.
When you're looking to whip up a killer baked mac and cheese recipe, it all starts with the cheese. Two cheeses or more, to be exact. You want a cheese that piles on the flavor – think cheddar, Havarti, or gorgonzola. And you want a cheese that's all about melting – fontina, and monterey jack come to mind. The choice is yours and choosing is really the fun part of creating the best mac and cheese recipe.
When you're choosing cheeses for your baked mac and cheese recipe, Wisconsin has you covered. We've also got a lot of recipe inspirations on our website for you to browse through, and a few tips below on choosing the cheese (okay, and the pasta) that will make your next cheese and macaroni dish delectable.
Combining a melting cheese and a flavorful cheese is the foundation of any great mac and cheese recipe. Here's a short list of the best cheeses for each task, and a few cheeses that do both.
Cheeses that bring the flavor
Cheeses that melts like a dream.
Cheeses that can stand alone (in your baked mac and cheese recipe)
Recipes for baked pasta and cheese can be found in Italy as early as the 14th century. The first modern baked mac and cheese recipe comes from 18th-century England.
Any good baked mac and cheese recipe needs three things: a cheese that brings flavor, a cheese that melts well, and a pasta (like macaroni) with enough curves, crannies, and surface area for the cheese to cling to.
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We may be biased, but we're pretty sure that most cheese wants to grow up to be Wisconsin cheese. We've been making cheese here for 175 years, since before Wisconsin was a state. While that's not as long as the cheesemaking traditions in some other countries, it's plenty of time to perfect the magical process of turning milk to cheese. Today, we make more cheese – 600+ varieties and styles – than anywhere else. We have the only Master Cheesemaker program in the world apart from the one in Switzerland. And our cheeses and cheesemakers have one more awards on the cheesy red carpet circuit than any other state or country.
So, when you're choosing cheeses in the grocery aisle for your baked mac and cheese recipe, look for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese™ badge and personalized Master's Marks on packaging nationwide.
Because when you're sliding a casserole dish full of Wisconsin cheese into the oven, you know you're baking with some of the greatest heroes in the State of Cheese.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.