Brie Mac and Cheese is a perfect balance of creamy and comforting. It turns traditional mac and cheese upside down and it is a great recipe for beginners home cooks. The decadent and velvety cheese sauce is will coat ever noodle and could be served with pork belly, grilled chicken, shrimp, or with a side salad.
What you’ll need to make Brie Mac and Cheese
- Whole grain or white elbow macaroni noodles (or your favorite noodle shape)
- Whole wheat flour
- Unsalted butter
- Fresh garlic
- Hot honey (or regular)
- Oil such as olive or avocado
- Optional: Red pepper flakes
Brie is a soft-ripened cheese and truly elevates this recipe to another level. It feels fancy without being too costly or requiring a ton of extra cooking steps. Brie is traditionally eaten at room temperature with crackers, fruit, and honey. The rind of brie is edible but I do recommend slicing it off for this recipe.
Enjoy this bowl of comfort all on its own or try adding any of the variations below.
- Roasted broccoli or Brussel sprouts
- Grilled chicken
- Pork belly
- Diced and baked tofu
- Side salads
- Sautéed cherry tomatoes
Whole Grain versus White Pasta
Whole grain and white pasta are both made from flour but whole grain is less processed. When we consume a whole grain, we typically get more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Whole grain pasta has a heartier flavor and texture and might need to be cooked slightly longer for the desired al dente level.
While whole grains can provide more nutrition, white pastas also provide nutrients. If you’ve never tried whole grain, give it a shot! Or do a mix and do half regular, half whole grain.
There are also alternative pastas such as red lentil, quinoa, rice, chickpea, veggie, and ones with added protein. As a dietitian I recommend experimenting to find the best pasta to fit your needs, budget and tastebuds.
How to Make
The first step is to gather all of your ingredients and make sure you are ready to cook. Start boiling the water for your noodles and cook until al dente. If using whole grain noodles, the cooking time may be slightly longer. Take a noodle out of the water to check the doneness. While the noodles are cooking, set out the remainder of your ingredients or variations and mince the garlic and remove the rind from the brie and roughly chop it into smaller sections.
Once the noodles are boiled, before you drain the water reserve about a cup for later. Set the noodles aside once done and drizzle in a small amount of oil. Stir to coat the noodles to help prevent them from sticking together.
Grab a pan and turn it up to medium heat. Add the oil and sauté the minced garlic until fragrant (usually a few minutes). Add the unsalted butter, melt, and whisk in the whole wheat flour to form a thick brown paste. Pour in the milk and turn the heat up to medium-high. Continue to whisk as the milk comes to a simmer, do not let it boil and don’t leave your pan unattended. Continue gently simmering and whisking until the sauce has started to thicken.
Add in the brie and continue to stir until brie blends with the sauce. Stir in the spices and hot honey if using. Hot honey an be substituted for regular but it really takes the sauce to another level. Stir in the cooked noodles and if the sauce is too thick, add one small splash (about one tablespoon) of the reserved pasta water at a time until desired thickness. Even if the sauce is perfect before serving, keep the pasta water and add a little before storing any leftovers.
This recipe can be enjoyed all on its own while you savor and enjoy each creamy bite. However, serving it with a side of roasted vegetables such as Brussel sprouts or broccoli and a topping of protein can provide a more balanced nutrient meal. It can also be served for meatless Monday and served with a salad on the side or baked beans.
This recipe is so delicious you and your family will not likely have leftovers! If you do, store them in an air tight container and consider adding a splash of milk or a bit of unsalted butter when reheating a serving. For the best quality, consume with four days.
Other Cheesy Recipes You’ll Love
Brie Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups whole grain elbow noodles uncooked
- 8 oz brie
- 3 tbsp whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups milk 2%
- 3 garlic cloves or measure with your heart
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground thyme
- 3 tbsp hot honey
- Red pepper flakes optional topping
- Boil water and cook noodles according to box instructions. Once cooked, reserve one cup of pasta water (see cooking notes)
- While noodles are cooking mince the garlic and remove rind from brie.
- Add oil and garlic to skillet on medium heat. Cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes)
- Add the unsalted butter to the skillet and melt.
- Add the flour and continuously start whisking to form a thick paste.
- Pour in the milk and turn the heat up slightly. Bring milk to a simmer and continue to whisk until thickened.
- Add brie in small sections (rip or cut) and stir into the sauce until blended.
- Stir in seasonings and hot honey.
- Top with red pepper flakes if desired and enjoy immediately. If sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon at a time of reserved pasta water.
- Always reserve a cup of pasta water instead of draining it. If your sauce is too thick, the pasta water has remaining starch from the pasta and can nicely thin a sauce.
- Even if the sauce seems fine when you serve it, you may want to add some before storing leftovers
- Read the variations for suggested toppings and suggestions for what to serve this with
- Regular honey can be used but if you have the opportunity to try hot honey, I highly recommend it
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