Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese (Copycat)

It’s been a while since we did a Chick-Fil-A Copycat Recipe but this new side for Chick-Fil-A Nuggets just had to be copied. Who can resist comfort food like fried chicken and Mac & Cheese?

Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese being spooned from baking dish

Baked Macaroni and Cheese is one of those dishes that you only expect to get at a fancy restaurant, unless you (or Grandma) make it at home. I think we can all agree that it’s hands down the best way to make a classic Macaroni & Cheese. So, when a fast-food restaurant decides to come out with a version, you know it’s going to be a hit.

While Chick-Fil-A’s Mac & Cheese is a lot cheaper than a steakhouse, it can still be a bit pricey. Plus, those long drive-thru lines are not great when you’ve got kiddos in the back seat. That’s why I knew I had to recreate this delicious new side dish at home.

Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese really sets a high bar for fast food chains by baking their Mac every day in house. No microwaves, artificial ingredients, or frozen cheddar sauce in this menu item. That’s a kind of side dish I like to copy, especially if it is loaded with 5 kinds of cheese with even more cheese baked on top!

Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese collage

The special blend of cheese is what really makes this comfort food a winner. They use parmesan, Romano, and rumor has it a special cheese from Wisconsin called BellaVitano. Now, I know I had a hard enough time trying to find BellaVitano in my grocery store, so I did replace it with a blend of cheeses that is just as spot-on.

What holds the cheddar sauce in Chick-Fil-A’s Mac together is the addition of American cheese. It’s important to note that this is not Velveeta cheese, it’s the creamy sliceable cheese you can get from the deli counter. There is a natural salt that is in American cheese that keeps the fat from separating from the remaining cheese blend.

Naturally, the first time we made this, I had to make a batch of copycat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets to go along with it. But if you are looking for a lighter way to make this a full dinner, try it with my Market Salad Copycat. Or you can compromise on the KFC versus Chick-Fil-A debate and serve with Original Fried Chicken.

How to Make Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente. Let pasta sit in hot pot of water for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the oven to broil, on high.
  • In a medium sized pot add heavy cream, American cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese. Melt cheeses with heavy cream over medium heat. Stir frequently.
  • Place cooked pasta into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour melted cheeses over the pasta.
  • Add shredded Colby Jack cheese to the top of the pasta. Place under broiler and broil just until the cheese begins to brown.

More Awesome Mac and Cheese Recipes

Frequently Asked Questions

Why leave the pasta in hot water after boiling?

By leaving the macaroni noodles in the hot water, they will soften to the super tender consistency that is common for Chick-Fil-A’s Macaroni and Cheese. The pasta will be extra starchy to absorb the creamy melted cheese mixture, which is a perfect contrast to the bubbly crunchy topping.

Can I use low-fat or fat-free cheese for Macaroni and Cheese?

If you replace the cheese or heavy cream in this recipe for lower fat versions, the texture will definitely be altered. Fat is hugely important to keeping this delicious recipe authentic to the restaurant. However, making adjustments to fit your dietary preferences is one of the many perks to making food from scratch at home! So go ahead and swap it out if you’d like to.

How do I make Gluten Free Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese?

You can replace the elbow noodles with gluten free macaroni noodles to make this Macaroni and Cheese recipe friendly for a gluten-free diet. You’ll want to cook the gluten free noodles until just al dente before following the rest of the macaroni directions.

Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese in baking dish

Key Ingredients in Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese

  • Pasta: You’ll use one pound elbow macaroni for this simple recipe. Use your favorite brand of pasta and cook it to just shy of al dente before turning off the stove and letting it sit for 10 minutes in the hot water.
  • Cheese: This Mac and Cheese copycat recipe gets its fast food flavor from the combination of cheeses. The 4 types of cheeses you’ll use are American, Parmesan, Romano, and Colby Jack. It’s best to buy the American and Colby Jack cheeses in block and shred it yourself. Pre-grated cheese tends to have fillers to prevent it from caking, which can make your mac and cheese gritty instead of creamy.
  • Cream: Full fat heavy cream is the key to making the melty cheese sauce that coats the elbow pasta. Make sure to watch and stir frequently so that the dairy does not scorch.

Can you make Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese ahead?

This Mac & Cheese can easily be made ahead of time and stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Follow the recipe directions to make the cheese sauce and combine it with cooked pasta in the baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then foil. If freezing, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake Mac & Cheese at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until hot.  Top with the additional blend of cheeses and broil until cheese is browned.

Variations on Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese

  • Loaded Mac & Cheese: Top the Mac & Cheese with crumbled cooked bacon before broiling. Once the Mac comes out of the oven, add diced scallions.
  • Breadcrumbs: Give your macaroni a slightly crunchy topping by adding panko breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs before broiling. You can also use crushed up crackers or garlic croutons for a buttery, flavorful option.
  • Pasta: Instead of elbow noodles, use fusilli, rotini, small shells, or your favorite short pasta variety. You can also swap out the pasta for a gluten free version like brown rice pasta or lentil pasta.
  • Veggies: Mix in diced and cooked bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, green beans, peas, or wilted spinach to add a colorful and nutritious twist on Chick-Fil-A Macaroni and Cheese.
  • Cheese: You can swap out the Colby Jack cheese for white cheddar and sharp cheddar cheese. I would also recommend using the nuttier BellaVitano if you can find it!
  • Taco Mac: Brown ground beef and stir in Taco Seasoning to make seasoned taco meat. Fold the warm taco meat into your pasta and cheddar sauce.

Easy Side Dish Recipes

How to Store Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese

  • Serve: Mac & Cheese can be kept at room temperature for no more than 2 hours before it should be stored.
  • Store: Allow Macaroni and Cheese to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze: Freeze for up to 2 months in a sealed container or tightly covered with plastic wrap and foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese in serving bowl

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Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese

This Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese is a creamy baked pasta with a special blend of cheese and tender macaroni. Best ever fast-food meets comfort food side dish!
Yield 10
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 16 ounces macaroni
  • tablespoon  salt
  • 1 1/4  pounds  American cheese , chopped up or shredded
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Romano cheese
  • cups  heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Colby Jack Cheese , shredded

Instructions

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente. Let pasta sit in hot water for 10 minutes.
  • Turn the oven on to broil, on high.
  • In a medium sized pot add heavy cream, American cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese. Melt cheeses with heavy cream over medium heat. Stir frequently.
  • Place cooked pasta into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Pour melted cheeses over the pasta.
  • Add shredded Colby Jack cheese to the top of the pasta. Place under broiler.
  • Broil just until the cheese begins to brown.

Nutrition

Calories: 590kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 1627mg | Potassium: 237mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1354IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 728mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Chick Fil A Mac and Cheese (Copycat)
Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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