Today’s twist on a classic mac and cheese includes hearty mushrooms, fresh thyme, flavorful cream of mushroom soup, and loads of sharp white cheddar cheese! Baked White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Mushrooms is a luscious, decadent dinner you and the family deserve to treat yourselves to! If you love this, you will also love this Southern Mac and Cheese, Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese and Lobster Mac and Cheese.
WHITE CHEDDAR MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
Move over regular mac and cheese because there’s a new kid in town: Mushroom and Thyme White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese!
I know some of y’all might have something to say about a white mac. Not everyone considers it to be the real deal! But I need you to hear me out when I say this is one of the best darn meals I have ever had.
Today’s recipe follows the basic guidelines of a baked mac and cheese; it’s got pasta, butter, milk, and a whole lot of cheese. To create something new, I’ve added in hearty mushrooms, a can of cream of mushroom soup, and lots of fresh thyme.
Each bite of this gloriously ooey-gooey mac is vibrant with flavor and bursting with amazing textural contrast. I am obsessed! Can you tell?
BAKED WHITE CHEDDAR MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
This simple herby white cheddar mac and cheese might only be made with 10 ingredients but, trust me y’all, it does not slack on flavor!
Here are the ingredients that take this mac from “good” to “GOODNESS GRACIOUS!”:
UNSALTED BUTTER is the key to anything buttery and delicious. Butter, being the base to the roux, adds a smooth (almost nutty) sweetness that plays well with the sharpness of the cheddar.
BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS have a deeper, earthier flavor than white mushrooms. When cooked, they add a bold and robust touch to this mac. Not to mention it compliments the cream of mushroom perfectly and adds a little health to the mix!
FRESH THYME has an earthy, minty, almost lemony taste to it. Its herbaceous flavor cuts through all the cheese and brightens up the whole dish.
CAMPBELL’S CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP has been a trusted pantry-staple in kitchens across America for decades, including my own! Campbell’s classic cream of mushroom soup is a smooth, rich combination of mushrooms, fresh cream, and garlic. Adding a can to this recipe was a no-brainer: it adds flavor and density to this decadent dish.
MOZZARELLA + WHITE CHEDDAR are the perfect combo for this recipe! Mozzarella is smooth and creamy while cheddar is pungent and twangy. Together, they form an unbeatable (and ridiculously delicious) duo.
HOW TO MAKE WHITE MACARONI AND CHEESE
Wanna know how this crazy good baked mac is made? Follow along with me!
- COOK THE MUSHROOMS. First things first, we need those mushrooms to be nice and tender. Sauté them with a little butter and thyme until they’re dark brown and most of the liquid they’ve released has evaporated.
- MAKE THE ROUX. Roux is basically just a mixture of flour and butter. Together, they form a mixture that will thicken the cheese sauce. While it’s doing its thing, go ahead and cook your macaroni pasta.
- CREATE THE CHEESE SAUCE. Once the roux is done, you’ll need to carefully pour in the milk, constantly whisking. Cook that until the mixture can coat the back of a wooden spoon. Add in the cheese, one handful at a time, and the seasonings Don’t stop whisking. The end result should be thick and creamy.
- MIX IT ALL TOGETHER. To the cheese sauce, add in the mushrooms and the pasta. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix it all together.
- BAKE AND SERVE. Transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish. Bake uncovered until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Wait a few minutes and then dive in!
HOW LONG IS MAC AND CHEESE GOOD FOR?
If stored properly in an airtight container, leftover macaroni and cheese will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To make it last longer, follow the freezing instructions below.
TIP: You can also opt to cover the top of your baking dish with plastic wrap or foil and tuck it in the fridge.
CAN I FREEZE LEFTOVER MACARONI AND CHEESE?
Yes, you can! Freezing mac and cheese is a great way to extend the life of your leftovers. Save them for a busy night when you don’t have the time to cook!
To freeze, you must first allow the mac to come to as close to room temperature as possible. Then, transfer the leftovers to an airtight container. I’d recommend either wrapping that container in heavy duty foil or placing it in a freezer-safe zip top bag to avoid freezer burn.
Frozen macaroni and cheese can stay in the freezer for 2-3 months.
TIP: This recipe makes quite a bit of mac and cheese! I will often split the mac into two smaller baking dishes rather than one big one. I’ll bake one immediately and freeze the other to be baked later. Be sure to cover the secondary baking dish with heavy duty foil before storing.
HOW TO REHEAT WHITE MAC AND CHEESE
Whether you’re reheating from refrigeration or from frozen, it’s best to use the oven. The oven allows the mac to slowly come up to temperature, preventing it from drying out.
To Reheat from the Fridge
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place the mac in an oven-safe dish (unless you already kept it stored in one). Stir in a little milk for added moisture. Cover the dish with foil, then bake until heated through.
To Reheat from Frozen
When it’s time to reheat or cook your frozen macaroni and cheese, you don’t have to let it thaw out or come to room temperature. You’re going to cook it right from the freezer.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and either place your frozen dish on a baking sheet or transfer your leftovers into a baking dish, then cover with aluminum foil. Cooking time will depend on the size of the dish: a 9×13 will take 60-70 minutes whereas an 8×8 will need 40-50.
In the last 10 minutes, remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
GRANDBABY CAKES’ BEST MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES
Want more recipes like this one? Hustle on over to GBC and whip up a few of my favorite macaroni and cheese recipes:
- LOBSTER MAC AND CHEESE
- CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
- SLOW COOKER MAC AND CHEESE
- SOUTHERN BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE
White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter separated
- 16 oz baby bella mushrooms washed and sliced
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme finely chopped and separated
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 lb elbow macaroni
- 4 cups whole milk warm or at least room temperature
- 10 oz cream of mushroom soup I used Campbell's
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella divided
- 2 cups sharp white cheddar divided
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
- In a large saucepan set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the sliced mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of thyme, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until tender and deeply browned, about 10 minutes. A fair amount of liquid will be released from the mushrooms, as they cook the liquid should evaporate.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a heat-safe bowl and set aside. Place the saucepan back on the heat.
- To the saucepan, add the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter. Allow the butter to completely melt. Do not let the butter brown. Add the flour, whisking constantly as you do, then cook that mixture for 2-3 minutes or until toasted but still pale.
- While the roux is forming, add the macaroni to the now boiling water. Cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain.
- Carefully pour the milk into the saucepan and whisk vigorously to combine. The roux will considerably thicken the milk. Cook for 5 minutes, constantly whisking.
- Once thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, add in the condensed soup, 1 ½ cups mozzarella, 1 ½ cups sharp white cheddar, the seasonings, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of thyme. Whisk to combine.
- To the cheese mixture, add the drained macaroni and sautéed mushrooms. Mix well.
- Transfer the Mac and cheese into a 9x13 baking dish. Spread the remaining ½ cup of mozzarella and ½ cup white cheddar over the top. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbly. Top with extra thyme and fresh cracked black pepper!