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The best recipe for Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese! Tender elbow pasta smothered in a homemade extra cheesy sauce (with 5 cheeses!), topped with more cheese, and baked until bubbly and browned.

A spoon lifting some Mac and cheese from the casserole dish.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese Recipe

If you’re anything like me then you probably spend way to much at Chick-Fil-A for their mac & cheese. It’s all my kids order! And who can blame them cause it’s so delicious.

Now you can easily recreate the iconic mac and cheese in your own kitchen with this Copycat recipe for Chick-Fil-A mac and cheese.

Tender elbow macaroni noodles get smothered in an extra cheesy sauce (5 cheeses to be exact!) and then it’s baked in the oven. You’re gonna love this one!

Overhead photo of the Mac and cheese with sauce and soda on the side.
A plate of the Mac and cheese with chicken nuggets and waffle fries from chick-fil-a.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Elbow Pasta – Chick-Fil-A uses a large elbow pasta. If you want an accurate copycat recipe then use a larger size of elbow pasta. The only brand I have seen that sells it, is the Ronzoni’s brand pasta. Otherwise any elbow pasta will work just fine.
  • Salted Butter
  • All-Purpose Flour – Used as the thickener for the ‘roux’ which is a paste made of melted butter + flour.
  • Milk – For the best thick texture in the cheese sauce, use 2% milk or whole milk. A lower fat milk will work, but the cheese sauce just may not be as thick.
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper – For some spice use cayenne red pepper or use half red pepper + half black pepper. White pepper is another substitute that can be used if wanted.
  • Shredded Yellow Cheddar Cheese – Mild, medium, or sharp cheddar will work. I prefer using medium cheddar cheese for a little extra flavor.
  • Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
  • American Cheese Slices – These are the individually wrapped singles of cheese like the Kraft brand.
  • Shredded or Grated Parmesan Cheese – For the best taste shred parmesan cheese from a wedge instead of buying the pre-shredded parmesan cheese. If needed, you can use the shredded stuff in the bag or container.
  • Shredded Romano Cheese – Shred from a wedge of Romano cheese or use the grated stuff in the can.
Labeled ingredients for this copycat recipe.

How To Make Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the elbow pasta according to the package directions to al dente or 1-2 minutes past. It does cook in the oven which will cook the past for time.
  3. In a medium saucepan/pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minute while whisking constantly.
  4. Slowly whisk in the milk, salt, and pepper. Cook until the sauce has thickened, while stirring frequently, about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Stir in 1 cup of the shredded yellow cheddar cheese, 1 cup of the shredded white cheddar cheeses, sliced American cheese, parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese. Cook and stir until all the cheese has melted and smooth.
  6. Gently mix in the noodles and transfer it to the prepared baking pan.
  7. Top with the remaining shredded yellow cheddar cheese and shredded white cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the mac & cheese is bubbly. If wanted, broil it for 1-2 minutes to toast the top layer of cheese.
Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.
Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.
Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.
Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.
Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.

What Pasta Shape Is Best To Use?

If you want a true copycat recipe then use elbow macaroni. Chick-Fil-A uses a larger elbow macaroni – the only brand that I have seen that makes something similar in size (in the elbow shape) is the Ronzoni’s brand. Otherwise, any brand of elbow macaroni is best to use.

If you want to substitute it, make sure to use a similar shaped pasta like shell pasta, rotini, or penne. Although, I do recommend sticking with elbow macaroni when making this mac and cheese.

Step by step process photos showing how to make this recipe.

Can I Make It Ahead of Time?

Yes you can. Prepare the recipe up until the point where you put it into the oven to bake. Instead of baking, cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate it until ready to bake.

You will want to take the baking dish out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to baking it, to allow it to come closer to room temperature before putting it into the hot oven.

Cheesy Mac and cheese inside the casserole baking dish.

Do I Need To Use All 5 Cheeses Or Can I Just Use 1?

If you want the flavor to resemble Chick-Fil-A then yes you need to use the combination of all 5 cheeses. However, using all one cheese or using just the yellow cheddar + white cheddar will work just fine, the flavor will just be a bit different.

A serving of Mac and cheese on a plate with fries and chicken nuggets.

Recipe Tips

  • Block of Cheese : I only recommend buying a block of cheddar cheese + white cheddar cheese and using a box cheese grater to shred it yourself. Do not buy the packaged shredded cheese as they have a coating on it to prevent clumping, which also prevents it from mixing in smoothly into the cheese sauce.
  • Parmesan and Romano Cheese : You can find a wedge of both of types of cheese usually near the deli area by the specialty cheeses. If needed, you can use the shredded stuff in a bag or can for both or either of these cheeses.
  • Leftovers : Keep leftovers stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave with great results.
  • Don’t Forget to Salt the Pasta Water! : This is so important! Add some salt into the boiling water before adding the pasta. The bland pasta begs for salt to help flavor it. I use about 1-2 teaspoons kosher salt.
A scoop of this Mac and cheese inside the baking dish.

More Copycat Recipes You’ll Love

A spoon lifting some Mac and cheese from the casserole dish.
Together As Family Logo

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 15
The best recipe for Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese! Tender elbow pasta smothered in a homemade extra cheesy sauce (with 5 cheeses!), topped with more cheese, and baked until bubbly and browned. 

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box (16 oz) elbow pasta
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese (mild, medium, or sharp)
  • 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
  • 8 slices processed American cheese (cut into smaller chunks)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated romano cheese

Shredded Cheese Topping

  • 1/2 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350℉. Spray a 9×13 baking pan or casserole pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, cook the elbow macaroni according to package directions to al dente.
    When done cooking, drain the pasta in a colander (do not rinse it!).
    * The pasta does continue cooking slightly in the oven which is why you want to cook it to al dente. If you prefer softer pasta, then cook for 1-2 minutes past al dente.
    1 box (16 oz) elbow pasta
  • In a medium pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, while whisking constantly.
    4 tablespoons salted butter, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Slowly pour in the milk, salt, and pepper while whisking constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until it has thickened.
    2½ cups whole milk, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Stir in 1 cup of the shredded yellow cheddar cheese, 1 cup of the shredded white cheddar cheese, American cheese slices, parmesan cheese, and Romano cheese.
    Cook and stir until all the cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
    1 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese, 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese, 8 slices processed American cheese, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup grated romano cheese
  • Add in the cooked elbow macaroni and gently stir together. Pour it into the prepared casserole baking dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
    1/2 cups shredded yellow cheddar cheese, 1/2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
  • Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the mac & cheese is bubbly.
    * For a crisp top try broiling the Mac & cheese for a few minutes after the bake time. Watch it carefully so it doesn't burn.

Notes

Processed American Cheese : You can use either white american cheese or yellow american cheese. Either one works fine. Make sure you are buying the processed cheese that come individually wrapped in the plastic. Cut the slices into smaller squares so they melt quicker. 
Cheese : I highly recommend shredding the cheddar cheeses from a block using a cheese grater. It melts much smoother in the cheese sauce and tastes much better than using packaged shredded cheese. For the parmesan cheese or Romano cheese, using the already shredded stuff is fine but I recommend trying to shred it yourself from a wedge (if you can find them) of parmesan cheese and Romano cheese. 
Elbow Pasta : For a true copycat version use the Ronzoni’s brand elbow pasta. It’s bigger and shaped larger like the Chick-Fil-A version is. Otherwise, any elbow pasta will work just fine if you can’t find that brand. 

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Recipe Rating




4 Comments

  1. Diana Hawes says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is SO GOOD! It’s amazing. Those are the words of my kids. This is very close to CFA Mac n cheese. It’s a great recipe and comes together easily. The only suggestion I would make is to use your favorite kind of American cheese. I prefer the deluxe that does not come individually packaged. It has a better flavor. I used the individually wrapped kind this time and I can take it: it’s not my favorite. I still give it 5 stars! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Together as Family says:

      I’m so glad your kids liked it! Thank you for sharing your tip about the cheese. I love reading about how people make or would make recipes fit their own or their family’s preferences. 🤗

  2. 5 stars
    Made this for a potluck and was the first thing to be finished! An easy yet delicious recipe. Will definitely be saving for the future!

    1. Together As Family says:

      This comment made my day! I love hearing stuff like this. Thanks so much for trying the recipe and coming back to let me know.