Best Cheeses to Elevate Your Mac & Cheese: An Ultimate Guide

Best Cheeses to Elevate Your Mac & Cheese: An Ultimate Guide

When it comes to comfort food, nothing beats a creamy, decadent bowl of mac & cheese. But the secret to taking this classic dish from good to unforgettable lies in the cheese you choose.

With a multitude of diverse cheeses available, each with its unique flavors and textures, selecting the right ones can elevate your mac & cheese to a whole new level.

From the bold punchiness of cheddar to the smooth, nutty notes of Gruyère, we bring you a curated list of the top cheeses that will make your next mac & cheese the best yet.

Let’s embark on this cheesy journey together!

The 3 Best Cheeses for Mac and Cheese

  1. Cheddar: Widely praised for its tangy and creamy flavor. It’s a classic choice for mac & cheese, offering a rich, robust flavor that coats the pasta perfectly.
  2. Gruyère: A rich and creamy cheese that is often used to make fondue. It’s known for its creamy, nutty, and earthy flavor which makes it an excellent choice.
  3. Parmesan: Parmesan adds a salty and nutty flavor. It’s usually used in combination with other cheeses to create a more complex flavor profile.

Crafting the Perfect Mac and Cheese

When it comes to making the perfect mac and cheese, the choice of cheese is crucial. The ideal cheese should provide a creamy, velvety texture and a flavor that complements the pasta.

For a creamy and velvety texture, semi-soft and semi-hard cheeses are your best bet. They melt well and envelop the pasta in a smooth, delectable sauce. Gouda, Fontina, and Monterey Jack are all excellent choices.

If you’re after a nutty flavor, look no further than Gruyère or Emmental. These Swiss cheeses are known for their distinct nutty notes that add complexity to the dish.

As for ratios, a general rule of thumb is to use equal parts of cheese and milk (by weight), and about half as much butter. So, for 8 oz of cheese, you’d use 8 oz of milk and 4 oz of butter. This creates a rich, creamy sauce without being too heavy.

Blending different types of cheeses can also create unique and delicious flavor profiles.

A classic blend is Cheddar and Gruyère, offering a balance of sharpness and nuttiness. For something more adventurous, try combining sharp Cheddar with creamy Brie and a touch of blue cheese for a punch of flavor.

>> Also read: What is the Best Cheese for Pizza?

11 Different Types of Cheese You Can Use For Your Next Mac & Cheese Dish

Sharp CheddarKnown for its tangy and creamy flavor, it’s a popular choice for mac & cheese.
GoudaAdds a rich, sweet, and slightly fruity flavor to your dish.
MuensterKnown for its smooth texture and excellent melting properties.
ParmesanBest used in combination with other cheeses due to its salty and nutty flavor.
FontinaExcellent for melting with a mild, nutty flavor.
HavartiCreamy and buttery, ideal for adding extra creaminess.
Monterey JackGreat for melting with a mild flavor that doesn’t compete with the other cheeses.
BrieWorks well but requires removal of the rind before mixing.
Smoked GoudaOffers a unique smoky flavor.
ColbySimilar to cheddar but softer and has a more open texture, which makes it a good melter.
Provolone or Swiss CheeseAn excellent cheese for melting.

How Do You Pick the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?

Flavor Profile:

Depending on your personal preference, you might want a cheese that’s sharp, mild, tangy, or even slightly sweet. Sharp cheddar is a classic choice for its tangy flavor. Gruyère adds a nutty taste, while fontina is more mild.

Melting Ability:

Some cheeses melt better than others, creating a smoother, creamier sauce. Cheeses like fontina, gouda, and Monterey Jack are known for their excellent melting properties.


The texture of the cheese can also affect the final result of your mac and cheese. Firmer cheeses like Parmesan can add a bit of a bite to your dish, while softer cheeses like brie can make it extra creamy.


Don’t be afraid to mix and match! Sometimes the best mac & cheese comes from a blend of several different cheeses. You could combine a cheese that melts well with one that has a strong flavor to create a balanced and delicious dish.


Always choose high-quality cheeses. They might be more expensive, but the difference in flavor and texture is noticeable.

What are the Best White Cheeses for Mac and Cheese?

  1. White Cheddar: Creamy texture and rich flavor
  2. Gruyère: Melts beautifully like cheddar but brings a lovely nutty flavor to the dish
  3. Parmesan: Adds a salty and nutty flavor5. Use alongside other cheeses to enhance the overall taste.
  4. Smoked Gouda: Appreciated for its unique smoky flavor that can add an interesting twist
  5. Monterey Jack: Known for its mild flavor and excellent melting properties

How to Make Gordon Ramsay’s Mac and Cheese?

YouTube video
YouTube video

Finishing Touches

To top off your perfect mac and cheese, consider adding some complementary toppings.

Breadcrumbs toasted in a bit of butter provide a delightful crunch, while chopped fresh herbs like parsley or thyme can brighten up the dish. For a spicy kick, sprinkle some chili flakes on top.

And there you have it – your guide to selecting the perfect cheese for your next batch of mac and cheese.

Remember, the best part about cooking is making it your own, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheeses and flavors.

Happy cooking!

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