Guinness and Irish Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese – Flavorful stovetop mac and cheese made with Guinness stout, sharp Irish cheddar, and a touch of dijon mustard. Creamy and cheesy with a crunchy garlic breadcrumb topping.
St. Patrick’s Day is almost here! What will you be eating? Corned beef and cabbage? Shamrock shakes and green beer? I’m not a huge fan of any of the above (although I could take down a loaf of Irish soda bread in record time), but what I am a fan of is macaroni and cheese!
In honor of the upcoming holiday I made this delicious twist on mac and cheese by adding Guinness stout and lots of Irish cheddar cheese. And (eeeekkkk), it is SO, SO good!!! Like, can’t-put-down-my-fork-good.
This recipe is super flavorful, ultra creamy, and my new favorite mac and cheese. Guinness, Irish cheddar, and a touch of dijon mustard add a slight sharpness that cuts through the richness of this dish. It’s a grown up version of mac and cheese that is boldly flavored and worlds apart from that bland stuff that comes in a box.
I love the contrast of creamy and crunchy, so I topped this mac and cheese with a sprinkling of crunchy, garlicky breadcrumbs. Feel free to skip the topping if you’re looking to take a shortcut. It’s great either way! With or without the topping, there’s no need to turn on your oven. It’s all made on the stovetop.
Guinness and Irish Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese:
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2/3 cup Guinness or other stout
- 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 2 ounces cream cheese cut into pieces
- 3 1/2 cups grated Irish cheddar divided (I used Kerrygold aged cheddar)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- salt/pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
Topping (if using):
- In a medium skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and the mixture is fragrant. Remove from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and minced parsley. Set aside.
Macaroni and cheese:
- Boil elbow macaroni in well salted water and cook until just al dente. Before draining the pasta, reserve a cup of the pasta water and set it aside (see note). While the pasta is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce:
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together for a minute. While whisking, pour in Guinness, milk, half and half, salt, pepper, and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens slightly (several minutes). Add cream cheese and 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar and stir/whisk until completely smooth. Add drained, cooked pasta and stir to combine. Add remaining 1 cup grated cheddar and stir until melted (this will help achieve a stringy/cheesy texture). Transfer to a serving bowl or individual bowls and sprinkle the top with the reserved toasted breadcrumbs. Serve immediately.
If the macaroni and cheese thickens up too much, add a little bit of the reserved pasta water (or additional milk) to make it creamy again.