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close up of mac and cheese with herbed bread crumbs

Mac and Cheese with Herbed Bread Crumbs

Krista Stechman
A creamy and cheesy mac and cheese topped with a crunchy toasted herb bread crumb with French fried onions.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine american
Servings 10 people
Calories 426 kcal


  • oven
  • stove


Cheese Sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 7 oz sharp cheddar shredded
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper optional

Herbed Bread Crumbs

  • ¾ cup panko bread crumb
  • ½ cup French fried onions
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives chopped
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter melted


  • 16 oz Cavatappi pasta
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil


Make the cheese sauce

  • In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter
  • Add the minced garlic and stir around for 10-15 seconds. Immediately add the Dijon mustard and stir for another 10 seconds
  • Add in the cream cheese, shredded extra sharp cheddar, shredded parmesan, milk
  • Add the cayenne pepper if you're using it
  • Stir the mixture well and continue to stir occasionally until it is fully melted. Set aside until the pasta is finished

Make the bread crumbs

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • While the cheese sauce is cooking, add the panko, French fried onions, chopped parsley, chopped chives, salt and pepper to a mixing bowl
  • Melt the butter in the microwave and add it to the bread crumbs. Mix well
  • Bake the bread crumbs for 4 minutes, remove from the oven and set aside

Cook the pasta

  • While the cheese sauce is cooking, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and oil to the water
  • Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook it according to the box directions until it's al dente
  • Drain the pasta and immediately add it to the cheese sauce. Mix well
  • Top with bread crumbs and enjoy!


If you want a super smooth texture in your cheese sauce you can blend the sauce in a blender or food processor for 10 seconds but this is not necessary


Calories: 426kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 18gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 848mgPotassium: 222mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 703IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 342mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cheese, cream cheese, french fried onions, mac and cheese, pasta, sides
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