French Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

French macaroni and cheese
Armstrong Studios / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 40 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
630 Calories
41g Fat
36g Carbs
30g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 630
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41g 52%
Saturated Fat 24g 120%
Cholesterol 128mg 43%
Sodium 628mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 30g
Calcium 852mg 66%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

There's no such thing as having too many recipes for mac and cheese, and this one is likely different from others you've tried before. The French feel brings a certain something to this humble comfort food dish—heightening it ever so much with the addition of crème fraîche, along with Gruyère and Cantal cheeses.

This French macaroni and cheese recipe tastes velvety smooth, rich, and just a touch sophisticated; it's nothing at all like those little blue boxes of dry, salty mix sold in markets and convenience stores. It's also different from casserole-type mac and cheeses. This is fancy mac and cheese.

French mac and cheese takes only 40 minutes to prepare, much less than a quarter of which is spent actively cooking. Use this French-style mac and cheese as an unexpected side dish on a dinner menu or as the focal point of a winter-themed mountain lodge party.


  • 16 ounces small macaroni
  • 1 clove garlic, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 cups crème fraîche
  • 2 cups Gruyère cheese, shredded, divided
  • 2 cups Cantal cheese, shredded, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Prepare the macaroni according to package instructions and drain it.

  3. While the macaroni is boiling, rub the cut end of the garlic across the entire inner surface of a 3-quart baking dish.

  4. Brush the same surface with the melted butter.

  5. Pour the drained macaroni into the prepared baking dish.

  6. Stir the crème fraiche, 1 1/2 cups of the shredded cheeses, salt, and pepper into the pasta.

  7. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and the remaining Gruyère and Cantal over the surface of the macaroni and cheese.

  8. Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly throughout and turns light golden brown on top.

  9. Serve immediately.


In case you've never heard of it or tried it, Cantal is a semi-firm cow's milk cheese that originates in the region of France bearing the same name. Its flavor is mellow and nutty. If you can't find it, substitute a mild cheddar instead.

How to Store and Freeze French Mac and Cheese

Any leftover mac and cheese will keep for three to five days, covered, in the refrigerator. For longer storage, you can freeze mac and cheese safely for at least three months.