Best And Worst Cheeses For Mac & Cheese

Spicy Adventures

Mac and cheese is much more than an instant student meal. When done right, homemade mac and cheese is a delightfully indulgent comfort meal. Not only is it easy to whip up from scratch, but you can also modify it by using different cheeses to change the taste and texture of the dish. Below are the best cheeses to use, and the ones you should avoid.

The best types of cheese



Classic cheddar gets its name from a town in England where it originated. It always goes well with mac and cheese. Not only does it have a low melting point which gives you a smooth sauce, but it also has that classic mac and cheese flavour you want. Sharp cheddar is the best as it has the strongest flavour.



Brie is named after a region in France and is historically eaten by royalty. If you’re feeling extra fancy, try adding brie to your mac and cheese. This cheese is buttery, creamy and decadent, making it a great choice for coating your pasta. Depending on the type of brie, the flavour ranges from mild to nutty and tangy — just remember to remove the rind first.



Gruyere comes from a village in Switzerland of the same name. Although gruyere is a hard cheese, it melts very easily. It has a saltiness which cuts through the fattiness of the mac and cheese, and its complex flavour profile adds a deepness to dishes. Get ready for subtle sweet, earthy and nutty notes.



Named after the Dutch city it came from, gouda is a very underrated cheese. It’s semi-soft and melts very well, and its smooth and creamy texture is great in mac and cheese. Young gouda has a more mild flavour, whereas older gouda has a more pungent flavour. Try using smoked gouda for an extra flavour boost.



What would a list of cheeses be without parmesan? Parmesan works best in mac and cheese when paired with aged cheddar, as the salty and nutty flavour goes really well with the smooth and creamy cheddar. Alternatively, sprinkle some parmesan on top of your mac and cheese before it goes in the oven.

goat cheese

Goat cheese

There are many different types of goat cheese, ranging from a creamy tanginess to a more crumbly, earthy kind. The flavour really stays with the dish, even after you add milk and cream.

cottage cheese

Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is high in protein and is often used as a low-fat substitute for other cheeses. It has a unique texture which goes well in mac and cheese — you can also mix it with cheddar or sour cream for a tangy kick.

cream cheese

Cream cheese

Cream cheese is always a good choice for mac and cheese. It’s quite fatty so it makes for a very creamy sauce. It melts down easily and has just the right amount of saltiness and tanginess. You can even mix it with a bolder cheese for more of a punch.

Which cheeses to avoid

Feta, queso fresco and paneer

As delicious as feta is in a salad or sprinkled over soup, this dry and crumbly cheese just isn’t ideal for mac and cheese. Feta has a high moisture level and doesn’t melt properly, so it would clump rather than give you a smooth sauce. This also goes for cheeses like queso fresco and paneer.

Pre-shredded cheese

Packaged, pre-shredded cheese comes with preservatives which help the cheese stay fresh for longer and to stop the pieces from clumping together. However, these preservatives also stop the cheese from melting evenly, which will end in a clumpy mess of mac and cheese. It’s always worth buying cheese in a block and grating it yourself.

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