Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese

Yes, Chick-fil-A has the quintessential comfort food now, you can get a creamy macaroni and cheese as a new side option. Their macaroni and cheese has the homemade taste you crave, so put down those waffle fries and try their classic macaroni and cheese recipe.

 

baked macaroni and cheese that tastes like chick fil a

So often when you enjoy macaroni and cheese out, it is dry, pasty, and flavorless. The fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.set a high bar and created a special blend of cheeses and made a creamy cheese sauce that you will love when you take your first bite. Your taste buds will know that this is one of the best mac and cheese recipes you will ever try.

ingredients for mac and cheese american cheese, colby jack cheese, and more

Ingredients you will need to make creamy mac and cheese

This recipe is very straightforward. In my opinion, this recipe is very close to the Outback Steakhouse Mac A Roo. My copycat recipe is made with several different kinds of cheese. For you to make this recipe you will need:

  • American cheese – not Velveeta (that’s for Rotel dip) – go to your deli counter at your grocery store, and ask for this cheese. The deli version is rich, creamy, and full of flavor.
  • Colby-Jack cheese – this is a combination of Monterey Jack cheese and colby cheese. Here are are using Colby instead of cheddar cheese, it is milder, and has a better melt than cheddar.
  • Heavy Cream – this helps give you a rich sauce, and it also helps in reheating.
  • macaroni pasta – I like to use a good brand like Barilla, or De Cecco.

Why should you use American cheese in macaroni and cheese?

American cheese has a bad reputation, and it shouldn’t. A good quality American cheese has good flavor, and one of the best melting profiles of any cheese. This sauce is made with heavy cream and American cheese.  You can find American cheese in the Deli section of your grocery store, go ask them to cut you off a large chunk of it, or you can ask them to slice it. Chunk or sliced it doesn’t matter, you are going to melting it!

American cheese melts beautifully, it doesn’t get stringy, and oils do not separate out of the cheese. American cheese is a good base for mac and cheese, you can always add additional cheese for more flavor. In this has additional favors of Parmesan and Romano cheeses are added to really bring out the flavor. When you combine different kinds of cheeses you are going to get a side of mac and cheese that tastes just like chick-fil-a’s mac and cheese.

The CopyKat Analysis of this recipe

I don’t believe this is made with a dry mix or powder, because the flavor is too good. I believe their special cheddar blend comes in the form of American cheese because of the mouthfeel, but the flavor is not straight-up American cheese, it is more sophisticated. I think it also helps to account for the indistinct cheeses they mention in their original recipe. Romano and Parmesan can cut through American cheese to give you a better flavor, and a more interesting texture. I topped my version with Colby Jack cheese. The Monterey Jack melts wonderfully, and it browns up a bit. If you pay much attention to you will notice the restaurant version has the browning as well.

Can’t get to a Chick-fil-A? Make it at home!

Why is it we all crave those chicken sandwiches and waffle fries on a Sunday? I have no idea. They added one of the first permanent side addition in a long time. This recipe was tested in many select cities at many different local Chick-fil-A restaurants before being shared nationally. What’s the only drawback? You don’t have to be stuck with a small bowl of the new side dish when you may Chick-fil-A’s mac and cheese at home.  With a little bit of work you can make this homemade mac and share cheesy pasta with the whole family.

macaroni and cheese like chick fil a

Mac and cheese goes great with these dishes

Can’t get enough Chick-fil-A? Try these recipes

Take a look at more of my easy side dishes and the best copycat restaurant recipes.

baked macaroni and cheese that tastes like chick fil a

Chick fil A Mac & Cheese

Make creamy mac & cheese just like Chick-fil-A does at home!
4.58 from 21 votes
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Course: pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Boston Market Macaroni and Cheese, Chick Fil A Recipes, mac & cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 494kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces elbow
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds American cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Romano cheese
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces Colby Jack Cheese shredded

Instructions

  • Fill a large pot 2/3 full of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. When the water comes to a boil add the pasta. Cook to al dente. Drain the macaroni noodles
  • In a medium-sized pot add heavy cream, American cheese, Parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese. Melt cheeses with heavy cream over medium heat. Stir frequently. Do not allow the cheese to scorch.
  • Turn the oven on to broil, on high.
  • Place cooked pasta into a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Pour melted cheeses over the pasta.
  • Add shredded Colby Jack cheese to the top of the pasta. Place under broiler.
  • Broil just until the cheese begins to brown.

Equipment

9 x 13 inch casserole dish
cheese grater
large pot

Nutrition

Calories: 494kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1464mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1130IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 607mg | Iron: 1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Keith

    5 stars
    Finally tried Chic Fil A Mac N Cheese and it was delicious. So I tried this recipe to see how it would compare and my family actually said this recipe was better tasting than the actual Chic Fil A Mac n Cheese…
    Thank you!!!

  2. Lori Putnam

    5 stars
    If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would. I’d NEVER made homemade mac/ch before until this recipe. It was “Holy crap!” good! Made in August of 2019, and then again last night (4-8-20). Luckily it froze decently, as it was SO rich, and made a big batch. Mind you, I have no idea if I followed the recipe exactly the first time – I doubt it, as I wouldn’t have had Romano cheese on hand, but I would have purchased the American and we always have Parm here. THIS time, I used 1.25 lbs Velveeta as we are under quarantine, AND we are using up what we have due to moving and so all food must be eaten. And then used some Parm/Reg I had in the freezer to replace the parm and romano. I did use the colby jack shreds, and oh my goodness, it was just marvelous. AND easy. Can’t ask for more than that! Thanks for creating/posting! 🙂

  3. Ashlyn Perrodin

    4 stars
    Amazing! I whipped this up & it was spot on! I did use Sharp Chedder cheese & boiled the noodles for 10 minutes though 🙂

  4. Cathryn

    The recipe I would love to find a copycat for, is WoodRanch restaurant. It is OMGFABULOUS! Haven’t had the one at Chick’s, but am anxious to try your recipe for it. (Pretty sure WoodRanch has american as it’s main cheese type ingredient too)

  5. Sandy B

    4 stars
    While yours is a VERY tasty recipe for classic Mac & Cheese, I’m here to say that is not the recipe used by Chik fil A. Their wonderful version is not made with Colby Jack. And yes, the base is made with milk and American cheese. But you can, in fact, use Velveeta. But you shouldn’t use any type of Kraft American cheese. The American cheese you use needs to have sodium citrate listed in the ingredients. Velveeta has it. Kraft does not. I use Boar’s Head American. It has what you need. Chik fil A also uses sharp yellow cheddar, Vermont white cheddar, parmesan, Romano and a type of cheese that is very close to Belavitano Gold, which is harder to find, but is usually in the specialty case of most grocery stores. But I think one of the biggest and most important steps that they use is cooking the elbow macaroni for a full 20 minutes. You DON’T want al dente. You want the elbows to absorb as much water as possible and get big and soft. (Not mushy, just cooked through for 20 minutes.)
    So that’s their secret But I gotta tell you, YOUR recipe is wonderful. Absolutely delicious! Thank you for providing it.

    • Stephanie

      Thank you for your reply. I’ll have to try it with the modification in the pasta. I still find white bites of cheese with a stretchy melt on the top of the mac and cheese that I purchase. Are you opposed to cheese with sodium phosphates over cheese with sodium citrate? I personally love Land O Lakes Deli American Cheese because of the flavor and how it melts.

  6. Margie

    5 stars
    My daughter says it taste the exact same as chick fil a. I used white American cheese, which I got in the Deli section of grocery store. I torn it to smaller pieces to melt down in the heavy cream. The about of heavy cream and cheeses makes plenty of sauce so it is not dry but creamy.

    • margie

      Wanted to add I used the Land Of Lakes American cheese. And local store brand Colby jack cheese- from the deli section of store.

  7. Andy

    3 stars
    Not quite there. It was bland. I would suggest adding some cream of chicken to it or more spices. Tasted nothing like Chikfila. Also the American cheese was not the right cheese to use in this.

    • Stephanie

      Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. American cheeses aren’t all equal. My favorite is Land o Lakes. I am sorry this recipe wasn’t disappointing for you.

  8. BERNIE

    YOU FORGOT TO ADD SEASONING TO YOUR CHEESE MIXTURE. WHAT GIVES THE MAC AND CHEESE THAT FLAVOR IS THE DRY MUSTARD, ALSO SOME MORE SALT AND PEPPER.

  9. Jessica Wooten

    I went looking for a copycat recipe for this and found this one first. I haven’t made either yet but maybe this would help you if you want to tweak yours ☺️

  10. Penny Hart

    5 stars
    My family has been obsessed with the Mac and cheese from Chick-fil-A since the day it came out and we’re about to go to the poorhouse buying it every other day. This recipe is as close as you can get to the real thing!!!!!!! Everyone LOVED it and even asked me to make it for thanksgiving this year! On top of all that this as EASY and FAST to make as a box of Mac and cheese. Thank you SO much for the recipe!

  11. Amanda

    5 stars
    I just made this. Without realizing it, I purchased cavatapi noodles. It still tasted amazing. So creamy and pretty much spot on with the real thing. I’ll be making this many more times! My family also loved it. Next time I make it, I think I’ll try adding some bacon, just to see how it tastes. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Stephanie

      I don’t think it matters what shape of pasta you use 😉 I often keep a container of odd shape leftover pasta. I just grab that for mac and cheese. I bet this would be great with bacon.

  12. Kelly

    Making this for a party, do you think you can make this ahead of time and then take it out of fridge, let it come to room temp and then broil it?

  13. Copycatmac

    5 stars
    Loved it but I think it should have a touch of some sort of sharp cheese in it? I’m a beginner though! Thanks for the recipe

  14. Lori Putnam

    Thanks for posting that review! I’m about to make tomorrow, and am debating needed cheese substitutions. I PROMISE not to gripe if I end up changing the recipe and it doesn’t turn out well. :O

  15. Jacinthe

    5 stars
    I had the original chick fil a one yesterday and made copycat recipe today and they are pretty similar, good job! This recipe is very very close to the original and taste great it’s a keeper!

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