Mac and cheese spaghetti is a delicious twist on the classic macaroni dish. You can serve it straight from the stovetop or bake it as a casserole. If you need to get a kid-approved dinner on the table quickly on a hectic weekday, then this is the recipe for you. On the other hand, it’s also great as a plan-ahead casserole to serve that family you’ve been meaning to ask over for dinner.
Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? It is just about the most comforting one-pot meal around, especially when you add bacon to the party. Speaking of parties, I recently made this for a mini birthday party, and it was a big hit!
New Orleans Mac and Cheese?
I’ve been serving variations on mac and cheese spaghetti to my family for years. Until recently, I had no idea that this dish is also known as New Orleans mac and cheese. Apparently, a baked spaghetti with cheese recipe is a popular New Orleans version of the American classic. Whatever you call this dish, it’s quick, creamy, and delicious.
How to Make Mac and Cheese Spaghetti
At some point somebody asked, “Can you use spaghetti instead of macaroni for mac and cheese?” The answer, of course, was “why not?” Traditionally, the MAC in mac and cheese is elbow macaroni, but a big plate of fork-twirled spaghetti is a surefire crowd pleaser. Need a low-carb, keto version of mac and cheese? You could make this a spaghetti squash recipe.
My family loves bacon on this mac and cheese spaghetti, but feel free to try this recipe with a meat swap. For example, you could add chicken, pulled pork, ground beef, or even chuck roast instead of the bacon. Actually, you could top this dish with whatever protein you have left over in the fridge.
Also check out this delectable Crawfish Mac and Cheese, perfect for leftover crawfish!
Some people like to make mac and cheese spaghetti with an Italian parmesan and mozzarella cheese mixture. However, I recommend a mixture of cheddar and Gruyère for the melted cheese sauce. Gruyère is a type of hard Swiss cheese that has been a favorite in Switzerland since medieval times. The classic form is mild and ideal for baking. Bacon and gruyère just naturally go together. In fact, they are key ingredients of a classic French quiche Lorraine.
As for the seasonings, I keep my spaghetti mac and cheese simple with just a tablespoon of paprika and a sprinkling of green onions along with the bacon. However, you could flavor yours with salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper or hot sauce for a New Orleans kick, etc. The mild flavor of mac and cheese supports a variety of spices.
The Cooking Method
You can serve this meal straight from the stovetop into bowls or plates. I use a Dutch oven, but a large saucepan or pot will work. If you have a little extra time, you can then scoop the cooked mac and cheese spaghetti into a casserole dish and bake in a preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a one-pot main dish that you can serve on its own or complement with sides. Served with bread and a side salad, this makes a wonderful meal for guests.
Mac and Cheese Spaghetti
- 16 ounces dry spaghetti noodles cooked as per package instructions
- 1 ½ sticks of butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups milk or more if needed
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 cups cheddar cheese divided
- 2 cups Gruyère cheese divided
- 12 pieces bacon cooked and crumbled
- 4 green onions sliced into ¼ inch pieces
- You can make this mac and cheese spaghetti on the stovetop and then optionally bake it for browning. If you are going to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven set over medium heat. Whisk flour into the butter and stir for about 3 minutes or until the flour is cooked. Slowly pour in the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. If you are going to bake this dish, leave the mixture a little looser / thinner than if you are going to eat it straight away.
- Add 1 ½ cups of the cheddar cheese and 1 ½ cups of the gruyere and stir until the cheese is melted. Add ¾ of the crumbled bacon and the noodles to the sauce and mix well.
- If you are serving straight from the stovetop, use tongs to carefully divide the spaghetti among bowls. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with bacon and green onions.
- If you are baking as a casserole, pour the mac and cheese spaghetti into a 9 x 11 casserole dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake the spaghetti for about 40 minutes or until it is bubbly and the cheese has melted.