Popeyes Mac and Cheese is of the many fast-food chains, Popeyes has always been known for its delicious and indulgent sides. And one of their fan-favorite side dishes is mac and cheese.
The fried chicken at Popeyes is outstanding but cannot be complete with their mac and cheese. It is simply the best comfort dish served by a fast food chain, and it can compete with the mac and cheese that your grandma is making for Thanksgiving.
This creamy and cheesy dish has a rich history at Popeyes, dating back to the 1980s. And while some may argue that it’s just your average mac and cheese, the secret ingredient in this recipe will have your taste buds dancing.
Thanks to many hours in the kitchen, you can learn how to make Popeyes mac and cheese from the comfort of your home. Don’t worry about heading out to the restaurant or paying for delivery. You can make mac and cheese from Popeyes in your kitchen!
So without further ado, here is our copycat Popeyes Mac and Cheese recipe.
What Is Popeyes Mac and Cheese?
Popeyes is one of the most famous fast-food chains in the United States. They’re known for their delicious fried chicken but have excellent sides like cajun fries and mashed potatoes with Cajun-style gravy.
But the one side dish that stands out is their mac and cheese. It’s creamy, cheesy, and has just enough kick to keep you coming back for more.
But what sets Popeyes mac and cheese apart from your average mac and cheese? The secret ingredient is none other than cream cheese and paprika. The cream cheese adds extra creaminess and a tangy flavor that elevates the dish to a new level, and the paprika adds a smoky kick.
Popeyes Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 lb Elbow macaroni
- ½ cups Butter
- ½ cups Flour
- 2 cups Milk
- 1 cup Heavy cream
- 4 cups Shredded sharp cheddar
- 1 cup Shredded gouda
- 4 oz Cream cheese, cubed
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Mustard powder
- Salt and peppe
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with butter.
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot and season the water with salt. Cook the elbow macaroni for three to five minutes and then drain. You do not want to cook the pasta fully.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter melts and starts to bubble, whisk in the flour, paprika, garlic powder, and mustard powder until well combined.
- Cook for a minute until the roux develops a light golden brown color.
- Slowly add the milk and cream to the roux while stirring aggressively. Add small amounts of liquid at a time; otherwise, the roux will clump up. Continue cooking until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Reduce the temperature to low and add all the cream cheese, gouda, and 3 cups of sharp cheddar. Continue to stir until all the cheese has melted and the sauce is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add in the pasta and stir until well incorporated. Then pour it into the greased baking dish.
- Cover the mac and cheese with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil for the last five minutes of baking. Remove once the cheese on top is a golden brown color.
- Let the mac and cheese cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
Tips & Tricks for Popeyes Mac and Cheese
The roux is key to this dish, so be patient and don’t leave it unattended. If you accidentally burn it or it becomes clumpy, you’ll have to start from the beginning.
You can use pre-grated cheese, but grating your cheese will dramatically improve the quality of this recipe. Pre-grated cheese has anti-caking agents to prevent the cheese from sticking together. The anti-caking agents will cause your cheese sauce to get thick and not be as melty as desired.
If you wish to make this dish ahead of time, follow the recipe as usual but do not bake it. Instead, cover the pan and store it in your fridge for up to a day before baking.
This recipe will make much more than Popeyes’ regular mac and cheese. So, you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to five days or freeze them for three months. When you’re ready to reheat, thaw if frozen and bake at 350 degrees until warmed through (about 20 minutes).
If you’re looking for a crunchy topping, try sprinkling breadcrumbs or crushed crackers before baking. Adding some grated parmesan cheese is also an excellent idea if you go with the breadcrumbs.
Suppose you’re cooking for more people or want leftovers, double the ingredients in this recipe. Be sure to use a large enough pot to accommodate everything when you make the roux.
Do not cook the elbow Macaroni noodles according to the package directions. Partially cooking them will ensure they do not overcook in the oven.
Trying new cheeses is always fun! Cheddar melts well, but there are other great options. Use your favorite cheese to make this recipe your own.
Though you might be health-conscious, this recipe must use full-fat options for milk, butter, and cheese. Low-fat substitutes will not taste as good. Remember, macaroni and cheese isn’t supposed to be healthy—it’s a dish meant to be enjoyed!
Nutrition Information of Popeyes Mac and Cheese
This recipe makes about four of Popeyes’ large mac and cheese and serves eight to ten people. Each serving is approximately 437 calories, 31 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 33 grams of carbohydrates, and 16 grams of protein. Enjoy in moderation and serve with vegetables for a healthy balanced diet.
If you crave Popeyes Mac and cheese, try making your own with this easy recipe. It will satisfy your cravings without leaving the comfort of your kitchen. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors. This mac and cheese is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any gathering or just as a delicious treat for yourself. Enjoy!
My whole family loved this!