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French Onion Mac and Cheese

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Tis the season for comfort food. Today we are going to feature Mac and Cheese Recipes for Thanksgiving including a delicious French Onion Mac and Cheese with crispy fried onions.

Fried Onion Mac and Cheese

Some of the best macaroni dishes are simple, homemade recipes that don't have a lot of various ingredients and different cheeses. This is a great recipe that reminds me of the best baked mac I had as a kid. Read on and you might be surprised and how simple this cheddar cheese and fried onion mac and cheese is!

This recipe starts with a large bag of elbow macaroni. I prefer the large noodles since they are nostalgic of the homemade mac n cheese recipe I remember from years ago. However, you can use any macaroni or pasta shape you prefer. You will also need your preferred cheese (we love sharp cheddar cheese for this recipe). Add unsalted butter, whole milk and spices. The best part to this delicious recipe is the French Friend Onions! It really makes this recipe and takes the comfort food aspect to a new level. I love this homemade macaroni!

Mac and Cheese Recipes for Thanksgiving

If you love homemade, soul food mac for a delicious side dish this holiday season, you may want to step it up beyond the store-bought boxed macaroni! Don't get me wrong, we have had many meals of stovetop mac over the years! However, for the Thanksgiving table, a homemade, classic mac ‘n cheese may be what you're going for.

This French Onion topped dish looks more like a creamy casserole. It will have the kids excited to see one of their favorites on the Thanksgiving menu. You might let the kids know this mac and cheese has a different flavor. However, this dish is still a family friendly side picky eaters should enjoy. Anyone have kids that just want a roll on Thanksgiving?? We've all been there.

Fried Onion Mac and Cheese 2

How To Make

Unlike many creamy macaroni dishes, this one doesn't involve making a white sauce or light roux prior to adding to your pasta. Just start with cooking your pasta to al dente in a large pot according to package directions. I always err a little on the lower side of what I think I need, since the pasta does expand a lot and this makes a lot of servings! Do not overcook your pasta as you will be baking the casserole afterwards. In the cooking process the pasta will soften some more.

After your pasta is cooked, add straight to the 9×13 casserole dish. While it's still hot you will add your other ingredients straight to the pasta– just like when you're making a boxed mix! No separate boiling or making a homemade cheese sauce, which is a win for me.

Add the cheese first in an even layer across the pasta to begin melting. A freshly grated cheese will work best, and it may melt differently depending on the types of cheese used. Don't worry about melting it 100%. It will continue to melt together in the oven. Add milk and seasonings and mix in.

Fried Onion Mac and Cheese 3

If you need a little more kick to this recipe you can use extra-sharp cheddar or even a dash of dry mustard powder. One word of caution— Do not add any additional seasoning salt or onion powder to this recipe before making it according to the recipe first! The French Fried Onions pack a LOT of flavor so for the best flavor, follow the recipe below!

Note- You can alternately use a Dutch oven for this if you prefer. Any oven safe pan should work.

After you've added your cheese and melt butter in the pan, mix in your spices and stir gently. Then, it's time for the secret ingredient!! Add French Fried Onions and more cheese and bake until onions are browned.

Fried Onion Mac and Cheese 4

How To Serve:

While many of you may be looking for Mac and Cheese Recipes for Thanksgiving, this recipe is a good southern baked macaroni recipe that will work with just about any main dish. Try it with chicken or pork chops, baked beans, or add crumbled bacon on top for more of a “main dish” casserole. We love mac and cheese with crispy fried chicken and green beans. I think our family members tend to go for that mac and cheese first thing!

I think this might be a favorite recipe for mac and cheese and hope you can keep it in mind next time you're needing an easy side dish idea. See recipe below and enjoy!

Print Recipe Here:

Yield: 12

French Onion Mac and Cheese

Fried Onion Mac and Cheese 4

This mac and cheese recipe combines your favorite comfort food dish with all the flavor of French Onions! And no stove top roux or cheese sauce to make!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 12 ounce package large elbow noodles
  • 2 cups Freshly Grated Cheddar cheese
  • Dash Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted Butter
  • 6 ounces French fried onions
  • 1/2 cup whole milk


Boil the noodles to al dente or slightly undercooked.

Drain, season with salt and pepper.

Add the butter, milk, and as much cheese as you want. You will use about 2 cups total. You can reserve about 1/4 cup to sprinkle over the top of the onions.

Pour the mixture in to a 9X13 pan and top with more cheese and fried onions.

Put in oven at 350 until cheese is melted and onions are crispy, about 10-15 minutes. Do not overcook as it will dry out the macaroni.


For extra flavor, add 1 teaspoon Dry mustard powder to seasonings. For a creamier mac and cheese, you can try adding Velveeta Shreds in place of the cheese.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 182Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 25mgSodium 239mgCarbohydrates 13gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 7g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment if you love this recipe!

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Our Instant Pot Mac and Cheese recipe isn't much more involved that tossing a microwavable easy mac in to cook! Just add ingredients into the Instant Pot, cook, and stir in the cheese and milk. It's one of those foods you will crave and makes a perfectly good main dish! Again, it's one of the easy recipes — compared to cooking a cheese sauce on the stove. Just add your pasta and cold water into the Instant Pot and allow to cook. Afterwards, add your cheese (we use Velveeta Shreds) and heavy cream in, along with butter, salt and black pepper.

The only change I would recommend is to add a little bit of dry mustard or a teaspoon salt or Sea Salt if you feel like the mixture needs more flavoring. Be aware that if using Velveeta Shreds, taste before adding salt! It may be just right.

This Instant Pot Mac and Cheese has such a creamy cheese sauce, it doesn't need any topping. For more of a kick, add pepper jack cheese, a dash of smoked paprika, or even a dash of cayenne pepper. You can also finish out this recipe in the oven if you prefer. Add mixture to casserole dish and top with additional cheese or bread crumbs. Heat in the oven at about 325-350 or until cheese on top is melted. You can't have too much cheese, so add as much as you want!

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Need a mac and cheese recipe with creamy sauces and one that can cook all day? This Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese is ideal for a holiday side dish, busy weeknights, and more. This recipe calls for Monterey Jack cheese, Velveeta, Butter Milk, AND Cheddar Cheese! It has all the goodness of homemade mac without having to worry about prep time in the kitchen.

The only tip I have on this recipe is to add a slow cooker liner to your pot beforehand. The edges get crispy and can brown some. This doesn't change the recipe but does make the slow cooker harder to clean out afterwards. 🙂 The first time I had Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese I was amazed at how delicious and flavorful it was compared to the store bought versions. It's a winner!

I hope you love these easy mac and cheese recipes to create a complete soul food meal for your holiday dinners or just a regular weeknight menu.


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