This baked Brie mac and cheese is spectacularly creamy and cheesy. Made with three (yes, three!) types of cheese and topped with a buttery cracker crust, it’s indulgent comfort food at its finest.
Adapted from Olivia Carney | The Art of the Board | Gibbs Smith, 2022
I’ve probably tried a gazillion mac and cheese recipes. It’s my ultimate comfort food, the one dish I’d want with me on a deserted island. Plus, the variations are endless. There’s everything from simple three-ingredient mac and cheese to fancy truffle-infused options.
This version, though, THIS version is so good, so silky, so creamy I have to stop myself from rubbing it all over my body. It’s made with three cheese, topped with buttery cracker crumbs, and baked until bubbling and golden.
Give it a try and see if you don’t want to come along with me on a deserted island to do nothing but frolic in the surf and eat mac and cheese at sunset.
Why our testers loved this
The testers loved this “dressed up version of the homey classic” and couldn’t get enough of the rich and creamy pasta.
Barbara H. joined in with her comment, “The deeply satisfying crunch of that top layer followed by the umami creaminess of the sauce had everyone eating far more of this dish than expected.”
Notes on ingredients
- Buttery crackers–To easily crush the crackers, place them in a resealable bag and smash or roll with a rolling pin.
- Brie–To remove the rind from the cheese, use a small sharp knife, and work your way around the wheel, trimming as you go.
- Cheese–A combination of Parmesan and Alpine cheese is used here. For best results, don’t use pre-shredded cheese, as it doesn’t melt well.
- Pasta–You can use your favorite small pasta shape here, such as elbows or shells. The pasta will continue to cook while baking, so be sure to only cook it until barely tender, about 2 minutes less than the package suggests.
How to make this recipe
- Mix the crackers and 2 tablespoons butter together in a small bowl. Heat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the Brie and other cheeses in a medium bowl.
- Melt the butter in a medium pot.
- Add the flour to the melted butter.
- Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Whisk in the milk, mustard, and garlic powder. Cook until thickened.
- Add the cheese.
- Stir until the sauce is smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce.
- Toss until the pasta is completely coated with cheese sauce.
- Pour the pasta into a baking dish and top with the cracker mixture. Bake until bubbling and golden brown. Garnish with parsley and serve.
What is Alpine cheese?
Alpine cheese, as the name suggests, comes from the Alps. They all have a pleasant toothsome texture (somewhere between firm and soft), a marvelous nutty flavor, and, best of all, the ability to melt beautifully. Some of the most popular examples that work beautifully in this recipe are Emmenthal, Gruyére, and Comte.
Can I double the recipe?
Yes. If you prefer a lighter sauce, you can simply double the amount of pasta, or you can double the entire recipe. Bake it in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
How do I avoid grainy cheese sauce?
The temperature of your sauce and the cheese are two of the biggest culprits behind grainy cheese sauce. When adding your cheese, make sure your sauce is over very low heat. You can even pull it off the heat while you’re stirring the cheese in.
This recipe calls for a lot of cheese. Stir it in one large handful at a time, letting it melt before adding more, to help give the sauce a smooth consistency.
What should I serve with this?
The Brie macaroni and cheese is very rich, so pair this with a lightly dressed arugula salad, if offering it as an entree. If you are serving it as a side, offer small portions alongside crispy fried chicken or oven-baked ribs.
- This makes a very thick, rich Brie macaroni and cheese with plenty of sauce. Add more pasta for a less saucy version.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the mac and cheese in a baking dish and rewarm in a 350°F oven until heated through.
More great mac and cheese recipes
☞ If you make this recipe, or any dish on LC, consider leaving a review, a star rating, and your best photo in the comments below. I love hearing from you.–David
Brie Mac and Cheese
For the cracker crust
- 1 sleeve buttery crackers crushed
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz) salted butter melted
For the Brie mac and cheese
- Two (8-ounce) rounds double crème Brie
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup finely grated Alpine cheese such as Grand Cru, Jarlsberg, Emmental, or Gruyère
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk plus more if needed
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces macaroni or other small pasta, cooked just under al dente
- Dried parsley for garnish
Make the cracker crust
- In a small bowl, mix together the crushed crackers and butter.
Make the Brie mac and cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Trim the rinds from the Brie and cut it into small pieces. Add the Parmesan and Alpine cheese to the Brie and mix to combine.
- In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and mix it until combined. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes. (This is important to cook off the raw-flour taste.)
- Whisk in the milk, mustard, and garlic powder and continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce starts to thicken, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Toss in the cheese mixture one hanfful at a time and stir until completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If the sauce is too thick, add milk, 1/4 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.)
- Add the cooked pasta to the pot and toss with the sauce until well coated.
- Spoon the pasta mixture into an ovenproof dish, top with the crushed crackers, and bake until the mac and cheese is bubbling and the crust is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
- Add more pasta–This makes a very thick, rich mac and cheese with plenty of sauce. Add more pasta for a less saucy version, or double it and bake it in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
- Storage and reheating–Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, place the mac and cheese in a baking dish and rewarm in a 350°F oven until heated through.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We’d love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
We have yet another favorite mac & cheese recipe. The deeply satisfying crunch of that top layer followed by the umami creaminess of the sauce had everyone eating far more of this dish than expected; why we hadn’t thought to use Brie in mac & cheese before is beyond me.
Surprisingly, the rind melted right into the sauce and wasn’t noticeable by those in the family who don’t care for it. The sauce produced enough for the entire pound of pasta, especially as I had to thin it with another cup and a half of milk, so there was plenty to enjoy, and the amount of crumb crust easily covered our slightly larger than 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. I will add more Dijon in the future.
This cracker-crusted mac and Brie is a delicious, dressed-up version of the homey classic. I doubled this recipe to make enough for our family gathering (and to use up the whole pound of pasta!), I found the recipe straightforward, although the wonderfully large amount of cheese meant I spent quite a bit of time grating.
For the sake of simplicity in serving a larger crowd, I just dumped everything into a 9-by-13-inch pan to bake. At first, I worried that the ratio of cheese sauce to noodles might be high, but it turned out perfectly–creamy, sophisticated, and comforting.
To take this recipe to the next level of wow, in the future, I think I’ll:
- Lightly toast the crackers with butter and perhaps some garlic before adding them on top of the noodles
- Add in the cheese more gradually to ensure a silky sauce
- Throw a bit of hot sauce in with the cheese mixture
I’ll absolutely be making this again soon!
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This mac and cheese with Brie is really tasty due to the combination of big flavour cheeses – Brie, Parmesan, and (in our case) raclette. And it’s so rich and creamy it should come with a warning!
Small portions (3/4 cup each) were enough for us, and it would be perfect served with lightly dressed greens (think arugula). It would also work well as a side dish.