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Chef John's Lobster Mac and Cheese

Rated as 4.79 out of 5 Stars

"You can actually prep these ahead and bake before that romantic, possibly Valentine's, dinner. You probably want to take them out and let them warm up for 30 minutes before baking. By the way, only bake these until the tops are browned and the inside is just hot."
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1 h servings 975
Original recipe yields 2 servings


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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Butter 2 gratin dishes.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Cook lobster tails in skillet until slightly golden and about halfway cooked-through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer tails to a plate to rest. When cool enough to handle, remove lobster meat from shells and chop meat. Reserve shells.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour; cook and stir until a paste forms and flour taste cooks off, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cold milk to flour mixture; whisk until completely incorporated. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, and stir in paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
  4. Stir Cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese into milk mixture until cheese is melted. Remove from heat and stir Worcestershire sauce into cheese sauce.
  5. Bring a large pot of water with reserved lobster tails and a pinch of salt to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but firm to the bite, about 8 minutes. Remove and discard lobster shells, drain pasta.
  6. Stir macaroni into cheese sauce with thyme leaves. Divide macaroni mixture between the 2 prepared gratin dishes. Top macaroni with chopped lobster meat, poking meat down into macaroni mixture with a fork.
  7. Stir bread crumbs and melted butter together in a bowl. Add Parmesan cheese and stir. Top each gratin dish with bread crumb mixture.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes.


  • Cook's Note:
  • Make sure your mac and cheese mixture is wet and saucy in the pan, otherwise it might get dry when it bakes. Don't be afraid to add a splash of the pasta water to loosen things up.
  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® Aluminum foil can be used to keep food moist, cook it evenly, and make clean-up easier.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 975 calories; 53 61.8 63.3 283 1767 Full nutrition

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Read all reviews 35
  1. 56 Ratings

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    Rated as 1 out of 5 Stars
Most helpful positive review

I added the Lobster chunks into the skillet then I loaded up the two boats..Absolutely delicious..And plenty cheesy...Defintely will make many times. Thanks Chef John. By the way, after going t...

Most helpful critical review

This recipe is a lot of work. It was just okay. But I think that’s because I’m a bad cook. Not the recipe. I won’t be making it again because it was a lot of work.

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I added the Lobster chunks into the skillet then I loaded up the two boats..Absolutely delicious..And plenty cheesy...Defintely will make many times. Thanks Chef John. By the way, after going t...

I loved this recipe and I am a huge Chef John fan. I'm not a chef by any means but I do love to cook. One concern I had with this recipe was the lack of lobster throughout the dish. The second t...

Excellent recipe! Nice flavor! I made a couple adjustments along the way; I used half n half instead of milk and I added an extra 1/4 cup to ensure the pasta didnt get too dry. I didn't put i...

Very good,A little dry, I could have added a bit more of the pasta water, I would make this again in a heartbeat!, love this recipe!

Delicious! Made this dish for my hubby and I...and wowzers! it was incredibly tasty to us. Perfect with lobster. I really enjoy Chef John's recipes. I've made several of them and have 5 star ra...

I love this classic! Especially appreciated the tip on adjusting the vollume of pasta to customize the creaminess of the sauce!! I've been trying to get a creamier texture for years and I have b...

Always turns out perfectly. Nice balance of mild spices to balance out the creamy cheese sauce and keep it from being bland. Don't skimp, go with a nice greyure cheese in the cheese blend if you...

Could not find gruyere at the grocery store (don't shop on Christmas eve...) so substituted havarti. Not a great substitution, the sauce was yummy but the texture was not creamy. Otherwise a tot...

I didn't make any changes and it came out delicious! I'm a huge Chef John fan so I'm not surprised. Since I had never cooked lobster before, it definitely helped to watch the video first.