Sunday, July 25, 2021

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese

Cracker Barrel mac and cheese is incredibly delicious, comforting, and easy to make with just 6 ingredients. Enjoy a restaurant-quality dish at home.

Perfectly cooked macaroni with a creamy white cheese sauce is bound to be a new family favorite, and it only takes minimal effort.

If you love this recipe, be sure to try our beer bacon mac and cheese, it’s super cheesy and will have your taste buds singing! Another favorite is lazy day mac and cheese. It’s ready to serve in just 15 minutes!

If you can’t get enough mac and cheese, try out our instant pot version. It doesn’t get much easier than this.

Love recreating copycat recipes? You are in luck because we have many to choose from.

cracker barrel mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet

How To Make Cracker Barrel Mac And Cheese

With a few simple steps, you’ll be ready to dive into a bowl piled high with homemade mac and cheese.

Prepare the macaroni noodles. While the noodles are cooking, get the creamy sauce ready. Once it’s thickened, add in the grated cheese.

Stir the noodles into the sauce and pour into a cast iron skillet or casserole dish. Top with cheese and broil until it’s melted and bubbly. For a pop of color, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve.

cracker barrel macaroni and cheese ingredients

Helpful Tips and Tricks
  • Season the pasta. The key to delicious macaroni is to season it with one tablespoon of salt per quart of water. The noodles absorb some of the salty water to give it the ultimate flavor.
  • Grate the cheese. While you can buy pre-shredded, the texture and flavor are going to be so much better if you do it yourself.

  • Want thicker sauce? No problem, use milk with high fat content or use half of the required amount. It will be thicker, but not overwhelmingly thick.

  • Broiling is optional! Broiling is going to give you browned cheese that not only adds texture but flavor as well. Or, if you are in a hurry, add the extra cheese to the pan, stir and serve.

  • Add the milk slowly. To prevent clumps, it’s vital to add the milk into the flour mixture slowly and stir often. This will create a smooth and creamy texture.

homemade mac and cheese cheese sauce in a white pot

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Box Grater - Choose between coarse, fine, or medium cheese shreds. Fast and easy to use!
  • Large Pot - This pot is large enough to easily double the batch.

  • Strainer - I love this strainer because it’s simple to use, and cleanup is a breeze.

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

Can I use different cheese?
While you could swap the cheese, we feel like using colby-jack gives you the closest authentic Cracker Barrel mac and cheese result.

Why is my sauce burning in the pot?
The sauce needs to be stirred frequently to prevent burning. The best way to prevent sticking is by using a wooden spatula. Scrape the bottom of the pot as you are stirring, and you shouldn’t have any trouble with burning.

homemade mac and cheese in a white pot

How do you store leftovers?
Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge, and it will last 5-6 days.

What’s the best way to reheat Cracker Barrel macaroni and cheese?
Place the leftovers in a cast-iron skillet or casserole dish and cover. Heat in the oven until it’s heated all the way through, about 10-15 minutes.


cracker barrel mac and cheese forkful

With love from our simple kitchen to yours.

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Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese in a cast iron pan

Yield: 6
Author: Donna Elick
Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese

Cracker Barrel mac and cheese is incredibly delicious, comforting, and easy to make with just 6 ingredients. Enjoy a restaurant-quality dish at home.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 50 Min


  • 2 cups uncooked large elbow macaroni
  • Freshly cracked pepper and sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) salted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 3 cups grated Colby-Jack cheese, divided
  • Parsley for garnish


  1. Cook the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions. Be sure to salt the water to season the pasta. When the pasta is cook, drain.
  2. Meanwhile, In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and a pinch of salt and pepper to the melted butter and cook for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
  3. Adding just a couple tablespoons at a time, slowly pour the milk into the pan, whisking constantly. After the first few additions of milk, the flour mixture will turn into a paste. Continue whisking and adding the milk until a smooth sauce has formed.
  4. Whisking continuously, cook the white sauce over medium heat until it begins to thicken. It is important to stir the mixture while waiting for it to thicken to keep the milk from sticking and burning to the bottom of the pan.
  5. Once the white sauce has thickened, add 2 ½ cups of the grated cheese, whisking in one handful of cheese at a time.
  6. When the sauce is smooth, stir the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  7. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a cast iron pan or casserole dish.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese over the top of the mixture.
  9. Broil in the oven for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and begins to brown. 
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese close up

Originally published July 2021

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