The warm and comforting flavors of french onion soup are incorporated into a an already scrumptious mac and cheese, creating an exceptionally delicious and flavorful dish!
French onion soup is one of those dishes that I get super random cravings for, especially now that the weather has been a bit colder. It has a beef broth base with caramelized onions, and it usually served with a piece of french bread on top with tons of melted cheese. One day I was eating french onion soup, and with all that cheese on top, I of course thought of mac and cheese. So my brain started rolling with the idea of making a french onion soup inspired mac and cheese. Turns out, I’m not as big a genius as I thought- many people have done it already. But here’s my take on it!
French onion soup has the distinct flavors of caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. So for my mac and cheese, I added caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. Simple! An extra step I took was boiling my noodles in beef broth instead of water- I thought this would be a great way to get more flavor into the noodles, and add that beef broth aspect. Honestly, I don’t think it made a huge difference, so boiling your noodles in just salted water is totally ok. I also added some fresh thyme because I think thyme and caramelized onions make a great pair. The last thing I did was sprinkle extra gruyere cheese and panko bread crumbs on top and baked it. The panko is an ode to the french bread, and adds a little extra texture to the dish.
CARAMELIZED ONIONS: This recipe calls for 1 cup of caramelized onions, which is about 3-4 medium sized onions. You can caramelize the onions with whatever method you’re comfortable with. I cook mine over medium to low heat with about a tablespoon of butter, stirring frequently. I deglazed my pan in the middle of caramelization with about 1/4 cup beef broth (again to infuse that extra flavor). The whole process takes about 40-45 minutes, so be patient! It’s worth it.
SERVING DISH: I have these adorably cute mini cast iron pans that I think are the greatest for serving things in. However, they’re very little, and I only have 2 of them. So, I baked the rest of my mac and cheese in a regular casserole dish. Feel free to serve these up in little ramekins, mugs, or a big casserole dish.
Usually I try to describe what the dish tastes like, but this french onion mac and cheese is kind of self explanatory- just imagine a big cheesy bowl of amazingly yummy mac and cheese with caramelized onions mixed into it and a bubbly and crispy topping! Simply amazing.
I hope you enjoy this mash up dish as much as I did! Hugs & kisses and all my best wishes!
- 1 pound dried pasta (elbow noodles or other)
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 2 cups whole milk* (see note)
- 1-1/2 cups gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1-1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup caramelized onions** (see note)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- additional 1 cup gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Boil pasta according to directions, but cook for 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add flour, and whisk until combined. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes while whisking to cook off the flour. Slowly add in the milk, while mixing constantly. Add in all the cheese and mix until smooth and cheesy. Add the caramelized onions, salt and pepper. Remove from heat, add cooked pasta, and stir to combine.
- Pour pasta into a large casserole dish or individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with additional cheese and panko bread crumbs. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is bubbly and bread crumbs are golden brown.
- * You can use any milk, but the mac and cheese will not be as rich/creamy if you use milk with a lower fat content.
- ** You need about 3-4 medium onions to get one cup of caramelized onions.