I’m currently *swooning* over this out-of-this-world take on traditional mac and cheese with creamy, flavor-packed cheese sauce that is elevated by an extra crispy Brussels Sprouts topping. The cheese sauce is made with buttery roux, milk, cheddar and Gruyere, salt, pepper, cayenne and ground mustard and creamy, dreamy and just a little rich — everything you want in a mac & cheese

Side shot of finished Mac & Cheese with Crispy Brussels Sprouts Topping on a white plate

Cheese Sauce Details

One of the first recipes I posted on the blog was for mac & cheese, but it was a special kind – Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese.  It’s a crowd favorite, and one of my all-time favorite ways to cook mac & cheese, but the recipe I have for you today is a bit more traditional.  Okay, so I lied.  The mac & cheese part is traditional – the cheese sauce is made with buttery roux, milk, cheddar and Gruyere, salt, pepper, cayenne and ground mustard (don’t forget those last 2 – they add amazing depth of flavor to your cheese sauce) mixed with perfectly cooked pasta shells.  Yes, you could just stop there because it’s creamy, dreamy and just a little rich – everything you want in a mac & cheese – but I want you to take it to the next level.

Cooked pasta shells in cheese sauce in a silver pot with wooden mixing spoon
Creamy pasta shells in a white ceramic baking dish
Overhead shot of shredded raw Brussels Sprouts in a white bowl

A fun way to incorporate veggies into a family fave.

The topping is filled with shredded Brussels sprouts, a dab of melted butter, some Panko breadcrumbs (for that crispy crisp) and a pinch of salt. The pot of cheesy mac with this topping on it gets roasted until it’s piping hot, bubbly and the veggie topping is extra crispy.  It’s anything but traditional, but it’s out-of-this-world.

This is the way to eat vegetables, you guys.  This is seriously it.

Okay so maybe you’ll need more veggies than just what’s in this topping, but it’s a start.

Overhead shot of finished Mac & Cheese with Crispy Brussels Sprouts Topping on a white plate
Overhead shot of Mac & Cheese with Crispy Brussels Sprouts Topping in a rectangle white ceramic baking dish

A very, very delicious start. Finally, here’s the recipe for the incredible mac & cheese with crispy Brussels Sprouts Topping

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Mac & Cheese + Crispy Brussels Sprouts Topping

An out-of-this-world take on traditional mac & cheese with creamy, flavor-packed cheese sauce that is elevated by an extra crispy Brussels Sprouts topping. 

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 12 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Pasta
  • Method: Baking, Stove-Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Scale

Ingredients

Brussels Sprouts Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 cups Brussels sprouts, shredded
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Mac & Cheese:

  • 1 pound whole grain cavatappi or large shells
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 cups shredded Gruyere or gouda cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the melted butter, shredded Brussels sprouts, breadcrumbs and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large Dutch oven, bring a pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, heat butter to medium high heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking continuously, for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking vigorously until incorporated and smooth. Let simmer 3-4 minutes, whisking frequently, until thickened. Whisk in salt, pepper, cayenne and dry mustard. Remove from heat and whisk in cheeses until melted. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Add cooked pasta and stir until combined. Transfer mac & cheese to the prepared baking dish.
  5. Evenly top with the Brussels sprouts mixture. Bake 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and topping is slightly browned.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/12 of recipe
  • Calories: 335
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 347mg
  • Fat: 15g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 2g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 36g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 16g
  • Cholesterol: 38mg

Keywords: easy, baked, healthy, panko, crispy topping, family friendly