Gourmet Mac and Cheese

Go for greatness with gourmet mac and cheese

What's the difference between gourmet mac and cheese and the fast-and-easy mac you whip up on a Tuesday night? Ingredients.

Whether it's the texture of Panko breadcrumbs, the sweetness of bourbon-lacquered bacon, or the flavor punch of a pile of maitake mushrooms, great ingredients are what make people go gaga for gourmet mac and cheese. And though it gets second billing, the star ingredient of any great mac and cheese recipe is always the cheese.

Don't get us wrong – we love to pair macaroni with every kind of cheese. But when you're going gourmet, consider high-quality cheeses with bigger, bolder flavors. (We're looking at you, sharp white cheddar, smoked gouda, and gorgonzola.) And for the highest quality, tastiest cheese in the nation, you can't do better than Wisconsin cheese.

Take a spin through the hundreds of recipes on our website to find some amazing gourmet mac and cheese dishes. And as you're shopping for the best cheese for mac and cheese, look for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese badge on the label– it's a guaranteed shortcut to gourmet greatness.

6 tips for the best gourmet mac and cheese

For truly gourmet mac and cheese, keep these tips in mind.

  1. More cheese = more better. Traditional recipes use two cheeses: one that melts and one that packs a punch in the flavor department. But there's no reason you can't add more. Fontina, mozzarella, marscapone, and oaxaca cheese all melt like a dream. And no one ever accused havarti, gouda, feta, or limburger of having small flavor personalities.
  2. Break out of your pasta rut. Macaroni is fine and all, but there's no harm in exploring other pastas. Think cavatappi, farfalle, penne, or campanelle – any curvaceous pasta with nooks and crannies that can be filled up with the gooey goodness of a cheese sauce.
  3. Sauce it up right. Great cheese sauces – and the best creamy mac and cheese – start with a simple bechamel, a white roux made from butter, flour, and milk.
  4. Flavor enhancers? Bring ‘em on. Spicy Italian sausage, dollops of Dungeness crab, or a layer of buttery lobster will knock but socks off your diners. Crank up the heat with fresh peppers or pickled jalapenos. Try some truffles, mix in some mustard or add a pinch of nutmeg for some surprising flavor combinations.
  5. Think texture. To take texture to another level, try topping your dish with crispy bacon, crushed crackers, chopped parsley, or onion slices fried to a crisp.
  6. Bake it. Most chefs will tell you to bake a gourmet mac and cheese dish, but you can get some pretty interesting flavor and texture combinations with a slow cooker mac and cheese, too.

Videos: Discover Your Next Favorite Cheese

FAQs: What is gourmet mac and cheese?

What is gourmet mac and cheese?

Gourmet mac and cheese is a variation of the classic macaroni and cheese dish where additional ingredients are added for texture and more complex flavor. You can craft a gourmet mac and cheese using several cheeses with big flavors, or you can add meat, seafood, vegetables, herbs, and spices to create an unforgettable fiesta of flavor. Topping mac and cheese with Panko breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, bits of crispy bacon, or onions adds new levels of intriguing texture.

What are the best gourmet mac and cheese recipes?

Choosing the best gourmet recipe comes down to personal taste. But the recipes typically created by chefs feature interesting pastas, a cheese sauce made from a bechamel sauce, and surprising flavor combinations.

When you go gourmet, go Wisconsin

What's the fastest way to gold-medal greatness with gourmet mac and cheese? Filling your dish with cheese from Wisconsin. Cooking with Wisconsin cheese is like starting the race inches from the finish line.

Did you know that Wisconsin makes more types and varieties of cheese than any other state in the nation? Or that we've won more awards than any other state or country in the world? If you didn't, that's kinda on us. We're not really the horn-tootin' type. We're too busy making the best cheese in the world to spend a lot of energy getting braggy about it.

So here's the deal. Whether you're going for a gourmet dish or your garden-variety pressure cooker mac and cheese, as long as its Wisconsin mac and cheese, it's gonna be great – any way you make it.

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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