Buttermilk Mac and Cheese

Two kind of irritating situations came together to make this macaroni and cheese possible. 1) I was almost out of regular milk. 2) I had a lot of buttermilk to use up. I had no idea buttermilk mac and cheese even existed, but of course a quick internet search proved that wrong.

This starts out like most mac and cheese recipes: with a white sauce and some shredded cheddar that’s tossed with cooked pasta. Some people are happy to stop with that, but I sprinkled some cheese and bread crumbs on top and baked it for about 20 minutes. I think that extra step was definitely worth it! Although I grew up on a very basic baked macaroni and cheese recipe that didn’t have any extra seasonings, I really liked the garlic and mustard here. I’m probably not going to abandon either of my other two mac and cheese recipes (here and here) but this will definitely be added to the rotation!

If 3 cups of cheese seems like a lot, I have to say, I agree. This stuff is rich. But after a 10 mile run on a crisp fall day it totally hit the spot!

Recipe:
(adapted from Tillamook Cheese)

8 ounces dried macaroni or fusili, cooked according to package directions and drained
3 tbsp butter
2 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground mustard
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Grease a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish and preheat the oven to 375 F.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the buttermilk and milk and stir well. Turn up the heat slightly. Whisk in the flour and salt and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, garlic powder, and 3 cups of cheese. Stir until smooth.

Toss with the pasta, then pour into the casserole dish. Top with the remaining half cup of cheese and sprinkle bread crumbs over the cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes, then let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.

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8 Responses to “Buttermilk Mac and Cheese”


  1. 1 MIchelle October 11, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Looks delicious. Mac and cheese is one of our biggest comfort foods, but I never thought to use buttermilk. I’ll have to try it.

  2. 2 Amy October 11, 2010 at 11:30 am

    This looks SO good. I have been craving mac & cheese for a couple weeks now, but avoiding making it (since I’ll end up eating it all!) I think I need to make it and deal with the calorie repercussions later!

  3. 3 Food o' del Mundo October 11, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I haven’t had Mac & Cheese in an eternity. I think I had too much in college. This has changed my mind that I need to get on it again. Thanks for the visit and the vote today!
    ~ Mary

  4. 4 Tricia November 7, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I just made this with a mix of cheeses and it is delicious. I’m already looking forward to leftovers tomorrow…if they last that long!

  5. 6 Vicky November 15, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I just made this recipe last night for my fiance. It was fabulous! I have never been a fan of mac and cheese, but this might have converted me. The buttermilk is key : )

  6. 7 Linda January 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    This is the Mac and cheese recipe I have been looking for! It worked out really well especially since I had buttermilk on hand that I needed to use or lose. I added some chèvre …well, I used the cheeses I had on hand, so it was a medley. Cavatappi for the pasta. Very nice.

  7. 8 Tracy August 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I am going straight to the kitchen because I have buttermilk that I need to use. I think I will try panko breadcrumbs!!!


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