savory mac and cheese

Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe with Three Cheeses

There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of mac and cheese recipes out there: three cheese, four cheese, and on and on. This savory mac and cheese recipe is a bit different. First, it’s both savory and cheesy, second it’s sized for just one person. No leftovers.

I got the idea for this recipe from a friend who made it with sun dried tomatoes. I tried it that way, but wasn’t mad about the combination.  However, the idea to add bay leaf and garlic is inspired.  I know it sounds odd, but the garlic becomes mellow once you cook it, and the bay leaf complements the cheese.

I’ve used three cheeses: cheddar, mozzarella, and manchego. My friend used cheddar and parmesan. You can follow my version, or his, or make up your own. Provolone would work too.  I even recently had mac and cheese that had muenster in it, which worked surprisingly well.

One thing though, he used low fat milk, which I would never do.  You can, if you want to.

Savory Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Category: lunch

Cuisine: American

one serving

Savory Three Cheese Mac and Cheese

Savory mac and cheese with three cheeses, bay leaf, and garlic.


  • 1/2 C dry short pasta (macaroni, fusilli, or shells are fine)
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/3 C cheese (mixture of shredded cheddar, edam, and manchego, or whatever cheeses you like)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Boil the water for the pasta in a medium size saucepan.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  3. Add the flour, stirring continuously until it thickens and you get a roux. It should look like a paste.
  4. Then add the garlic and the bay leaf.
  5. Slowly add the milk, and bring it to a slow boil, stirring until it thickens. It should now start to look more like a sauce.
  6. Add the shredded cheese and let the sauce simmer on a low flame until the cheese melts.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add the nutmeg and the thyme.
  8. Strain the pasta and pour into a dish. Add the cheese sauce and stir to combine it all together.


Note: I left the bay leaf on top for contrast and color in the image. Don't eat it!

Savory Mac and Cheese Recipe Substitutions and Variations

  • as suggested above, mix and match the cheese you use
  • add the sun dried tomatoes when you mix the cheese and pasta together (just because I didn’t care for it, doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea)
  • cook some bacon and crumble that on top
  • include some caramelized onions
  • top with prosciutto

More Savory Pasta Recipes

Pasta Alla Norma with Eggplant

Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken Sausage

Summer Pasta with Green Olives and Feta Cheese

Pistachio Pesto Pasta Recipe

Tools and Ingredients for Making Savory Mac and Cheese

small square baking dishsmall square baking dish
Porcelain Square Quiche Dish 

I just got this little dish and I’m really pleased with it. It’s oven, dishwasher, and microwave safe, and it fits in the toaster oven so I don’t have to heat up my big oven to make something small. It’s called a quiche dish, but it was great for mac and cheese, and I intend to use it for single serving apple crisp and brownies. It’s even pretty enough to serve in. The other nice thing is you can buy just one, rather than a set.

small au gratin dishsmall au gratin dish
Porcelain Round Au Gratin Dish

This au gratin dish, from the same company, is also a good option. It has handles to make it easier to pick up and take out of the oven (which I wish I had thought of). It would also make a nice dish for serving scrambled eggs.

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