This copycat Cracker Barrel mac and cheese is so easy and delicious it will quickly become your go-to recipe for mac and cheese. It’s buttery, super creamy, and ooey-gooey cheesy! With just a few easy-to-find ingredients you can put together this restaurant favorite!
Make the mac and cheese of your dreams with any of my favorite recipes—try my classic baked macaroni and cheese, my smoked gouda mac and cheese, easy crock pot mac and cheese, or Pioneer Woman mac and cheese!
Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese Ingredients
- Pasta: I use Barilla’s elbows.
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted.
- Flour: All-purpose flour with combine with butter to make a roux.
- Chicken Broth: Adds great flavor.
- Cream: Heavy Cream. To create a luscious thick sauce, don’t use a lower-fat version.
- Cheese: This recipe uses Colby Jack cheese.
- Panko: This is an option and not original to the recipe.
Storing + Freezing + Make-ahead
- How Long Does This Last In The Fridge? This Cracker Barrel mac and cheese will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Can You Freeze This? Since this recipe has so much dairy in it, it doesn’t freeze well.
- Make-Ahead Tips: You can cook the pasta, prepare the cheese sauce, and store them separately in the fridge. Combine the two then pour it into a prepared baking dish right before baking.
- Food Safety: Follow the FDA’s advice to observe the 2-hour rule for serving, just to be on the safe side. If you’d like more info on food safety check out this link.
What To Serve With Cracker Barrel Mac And Cheese
How To Make Cracker Barrel Mac And Cheese
- Melt the butter over medium heat.
- Whisk in flour until it forms a thick paste.
- Continue to cook, whisking constantly.
- Slowly whisk chicken broth in.
- Whisk in cream.
- Stir in cheese and cooked pasta.
- Add cheese and bake. Add toppings.
See the full instructions below.
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More Cheesy Pasta Recipes
- Chili Mac
- Stuffed Shells
- Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Baked Ziti with Ricotta
- Popeyes Mac and Cheese
- Taco Mac and Cheese
Cracker Barrel Mac And Cheese
- 2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow pasta
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 1/2 cups Colby Jack, shredded
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup Colby Jack or Cheddar, shredded
- 2-3 tablespoons toasted Panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
- In a large pot, bring 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a rapid boil. Add elbow pasta (2 1/2 cups) and cook the pasta following package instructions. Drain.
- In a high-sided, oven-proof, 12-inch skillet, melt the butter (2 tablespoons) over medium heat. Whisk in flour (2 tablespoons) until it forms a thick paste. Continue to cook, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to get a little color, about 1-2 minutes.
- Slowly whisk chicken broth (1 cup) in, whisking constantly.
- Whisk in cream (1 1/2 cups), whisking constantly until the mixture begins to bubble and the sauce thickens (It won't be super thick at this point but will thicken more when cheese is added).
- Stir in cheese (2 1/2 cups), continuing to stir until the cheese melts.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, mixing until it's evenly coated. Remove from heat and sprinkle 1 cup of Colby Jack evenly over top.
- Place in preheated oven and bake, uncovered, until cheese on top melts and edges begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow mac and cheese to cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Panko (2-3 tablespoons) and parsley (1 tablespoon) and serve.