Transform a classic soup into an easy, cheesy entrée with this crowd-friendly recipe for French Onion Mac and Cheese.
If ever there was a comfort food to be named King of All Comfort Foods, this pot of cheesy goodness would get my vote … again … and again … and again.
I’ve taken one of my all-time favorite soups and swapped the broth for a luxuriously thick and creamy cheese sauce.
Something magical happens when cheese sauce and caramelized onions join forces. It’s an unexpected marriage that leads to the perfect balance of savory and sweet flavors. But this wasn’t an easy recipe to perfect.
I’m often asked how many times I’ll attempt a recipe before giving up (Japanese pancakes, looking at you!). I attempted this recipe from a very different approach two other times and neither was worthy of this webpage.
Once I went back to the basics, everything just clicked. Slowly caramelized onions made with fresh thyme and a not-so-secret ingredient (beef bouillon!) guarantee that intense French onion soup flavor. Set those beauties aside while you whip up a silky bechamel sauce starring mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. The melt factor is a 100.
Add in pasta shells (a.k.a. the best noodle for mac and cheese ever) and the result is the ultimate French Onion Mac and Cheese that’s every adult’s dream spin on a childhood favorite.
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French Onion Mac and Cheese
unsalted butter, divided
small yellow onions, thinly sliced
cloves garlic, minced
fresh thyme leaves, minced
dry sherry or white wine
beef bouillon paste
uncooked pasta shells
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan set over low heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until the onions are caramelized, about 35 minutes.
Increase the heat to high then add the sherry, and cook while scraping up any browned bits, for 1 minute. Add the beef bouillon and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.
Remove the mixture from the heat and discard the bay leaf. Set the mixture aside.
Bing a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, warm the milk until it is simmering then set it aside.
In a large heavy-bottomed stock pot set over medium heat, melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter. Once the butter has melted, whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until it turns light brown in color and has a slightly toasted aroma, about 3 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the warm milk. Continue whisking constantly to avoid any lumps.
Cook the mixture while whisking constantly until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the cheddar and mozzarella cheeses until they are
melted and the sauce is smooth.
Add the pasta, stirring to combine, then fold in the onion mixture and serve.
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French Onion Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 23g144%
Vitamin A 1226IU25%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.