Dutch Oven Macaroni and Cheese


This Dutch oven mac and cheese is a staple in my home. I sometimes add burger meat or bacon to it to liven it up but it's delicious enough on its own! Regularly served as the main course with just a veggie side, as it can be a bit heavy if you're a mac and cheese lover who can't resist seconds (like me).

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
8 servings


  • 1 (12 ounce) package seashell pasta

  • 4 tablespoons salted butter

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup shredded medium Cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs, or as needed

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder

  • ¼ teaspoon taco seasoning mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add shells and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 9 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  3. Heat an oven-safe Dutch oven over medium heat. Melt butter and flour in the hot pot, stirring, until blended; pour in milk and heavy cream, whisking continuously, until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring continuously, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to stir until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.

  4. Slowly fold in cheeses until melted and smooth. It is okay to raise the heat if you have to, just remember to keep stirring while the heat is on. Fold in cooked pasta until it is coated with cheese.

  5. Combine panko bread crumbs, salt, garlic salt, black pepper, onion powder, and taco seasoning in a bowl. Sprinkle macaroni mixture with just enough of the bread crumbs to coat most of the surface; you should still see some pasta underneath the bread crumbs.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Turn on the oven's broiler and continue to cook until crust is golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Cook's Notes:

I recommend using a Dutch oven because it just comes out extra delish and the bread crumb crust comes out perfect, but honestly you can use a casserole dish or baking pan, it doesn't really matter.

You can use shells, spirals, or elbow macaroni.

You can use hot sauce instead of taco seasoning.

You can use regular or heavy whipping cream for this recipe, it makes little difference. Also the spice situation is definitely on a scale. Some people like plain-tasting mac and cheese and some like it spiced up a bit. Mine is somewhere in the middle, I'd like to say.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

551 Calories
33g Fat
46g Carbs
22g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 551
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 33g 42%
Saturated Fat 20g 101%
Cholesterol 104mg 35%
Sodium 766mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 46g 17%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 22g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 427mg 33%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 202mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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