Creamy Macaroni and Cheese Ireland Style

A creamy macaroni and cheese recipe that will satisfy both young and old made with Kerrygold cheese and butter from grass-fed cows. This mac and cheese reheats beautifully the next day with just a bit of milk or cream stirred in.

Ole pointed out a few weeks ago that our children were growing up with a different food experience than either one of us had. Things like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, mac and cheese lunches and daily desserts are not the norm over here. Rather than growing up on lunches made from blue boxes and smeared on sandwich bread, our kids are generally dining on leftover fried rice, sandwiches made from leftover meat and a variety of soups and pastas, which do, in fact, include macaroni and cheese every so often.

So, when our Costco recently started stocking their shelves with Kerrygold products, I felt inclined to share one of my favorite macaroni and cheese recipes with you. When the Irish Dairy Board formed in 1961, the result was a coming together of small, independent dairy farmers selling their cheeses under the Kerrygold name. Loaded down with a few of my favorites, I was ready to serve my family the macaroni and cheese they were apparently lacking in their diet. Ahem.

The secret to this mac and cheese is in the farmhouse cheese that goes into the sauce. Rather than using a larger amount of butter and flour to make a classic roux, it starts with a smaller butter-and-flour ratio and uses the farmhouse cheese to help thicken the sauce instead.

Start by cooking the pasta just to al dente. Overcooked pasta and a thick, creamy sauce are a no-no.

While the pasta cooks, get ready for the sauce by shredding the cheese. I used a combination of Red Leicester and Dubliner, which is basically a medium cheddar and an extra sharp white cheddar. In a small sauté pan or frying pan, sauté a minced shallot in a bit of butter. Set both aside.

Once the noodles are ready and drained, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat and then whisk in flour and cook for a minute. When the flour is golden brown, whisk in milk and the farmhouse cheese, which is a crumbly white cheese. (Note: You can substitute cream cheese here for the farmhouse cheese for a similar creamy texture to the sauce.) Once the cheese is melted in, stir in your pasta.

Stir in the Dijon, black pepper and a pinch of salt and stir in the sautéed shallots. Continue cooking for a few minutes while the mixture thickens. Once it is thick, melt the shredded cheese in a handful at a time.

We served the macaroni alongside a steak salad for Kiera’s 11th birthday dinner, and the next day the kids enjoyed leftovers for lunch with giant smiles on their faces. Perhaps it won’t be quite so long until we make it again.

Kerrygold did not compensate me for this post. They don’t even know who I am. I just know who they are and wanted to share my love of their grass-fed, hormone-free products with you. You’re welcome.

8 ounces small shaped pasta (mini shells, ditalini, elbows, etc.)
3 tablespoons butter
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon flour
1 1/2 cups milk
6 ounces farmhouse cheese (Duhallow, can substitute cream cheese if you can’t find it)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
pinch of salt
1 generous cup shredded medium cheddar cheese (Red Leicester)
1/2 cup shredded sharp white cheddar (Aged Cheddar or Dubliner)

Cook the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. In a saucepan or larger sauté pan melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add in shallot and sauté for 1-2 minutes until tranlucent. Remove from pan and set aside.

Melt the remaining butter in the pan. Quickly whisk in the flour and continue cooking, whisking continuously for 1 minute until the flour starts to brown. Slowly whisk in the milk. Stir in the farmhouse cheese, mustard, black pepper and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shallots and then the cheese a handful at a time, allowing it to melt in before adding the next handful. When all the cheese is melted, add the pasta and stir.

Remove from heat and serve.

Tip: To reheat, stir in a tablespoon of milk or half and half for every 1 1/2 cups of macaroni before heating.

Makes 5-6 servings.
Copyright © Food for My Family.

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  1. I love KerryGold too! I love the addition of shallots, Shaina. This looks soooo good. I could gobble it up right now.

  2. I can’t think straight because I’m so giddy from looking at these. I discovered KerryGold while my surfer and I were in Ireland. It has been a love affair ever since. Great recipe!!

  3. Oh my….now I have to go back to the grocery store and dang you for tempting me when I gave up cheese for lent.

  4. This is brilliant. And I have a block of Dubliner sitting in the fridge right now. Yum!

  5. This sounds delicious – I cannot wait to get my stash of cheese from my farmer tomorrow!

  6. I have been buying Kerrygold cheese from Costco for a couple of months, and it is superb:) Our girls are raised under similar conditions, and even though we had an odd moment when they wanted Lunchables, just like anybody else, or school lunch, just like anybody else, they figured out that they were the lucky ones:)
    I make Mac-N-Cheese for them, using different cheeses and varied techniques. I’ll definitely try your version – it looks delicious.

  7. This sounds and looks delicious. I will have to give it a try.

  8. Great minds and all, right? And that includes getting Dubliner from Costco. I love it in so many ways but have to admit mac and cheese is a big winner (for me, thought it might be the wine…but looks like it really is the cheese!).

  9. I don’t think I’ve every tried their cheese but I do love their butter! Looks like I’ve got some new cheeses to try.

  10. Mac and cheese is one of my all time favorite meals, and yours looks like one of the best I’ve ever seen!! So creamy and comforting. I will have to see if any of our stores down here carry Kerrygold.

  11. You can’t beat a well-made mac ‘n cheese and your version certainly looks as though it fits the bill. It looks perfectly cheesy without being gloppy.

  12. HOw cool are those bowls???!?!!! I cant make a roo to save my life. I wish I could though. Your mac n cheese looks amazing!! 🙂

  13. Your mac and cheese looks perfect!

  14. Kerrygold products are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fine Irish farmhouse cheese. There are some really sublime cheeses being made here in Ireland now, though I don’t know how many of them make it to the export market. I’m lucky to be here and to have them readily accessible (and, no, I don’t work for Kerrygold or any other cheesemakers either :D).

  15. Hatti’s been after me for quite some time to make homemade mac & cheese again. And I’ve been holding off, waiting for a new recipe to inspire me. Think I’ve found it. Printed off. Thank you!

  16. This sounds simply fabulous. I have never had Kerrygold butter but I bet I would love it.

  17. Love any mac and cheese and this looks like another one! The pasta looks creamy and cheesy and perfect for a weekday meal. Love, love the bowls!

  18. I LOVE Kerrygold butter and cheese!!! The drawing point for me is the grass fed, hormone free aspect. But the taste is top notch as well! This mac and cheese looks scrumptious…we just had homemade mac and cheese a few weeks ago, and my girls gobbled it up.

    I’m also blessed to be able & find their products at Costco though it is not always in the budget. 🙂

    Stumbled your post…I sure am loving Stumble Upon for keeping up with some many amazing food bloggers!! Yay!!

  19. Perfect and beautiful comfort food!
    I love your site, such amazing photos and great recipes. Will be following you on Twitter and Facebook from now on 🙂

  20. Kind of funny, but I made homemade mac & cheese last night! We like ours baked once it’s all assembled because the “men” in the family like the crispy bits. I may have to try your version and bake it up for them to see if they enjoy that one more than last night’s recipe. Looks amazing!

  21. Yum, Shaina. That’s all I can say.

  22. I made your recipe the other night! I love when I actually remember to comment on someone’s site after attempting it.

    My version used brown rice pasta noodles (which, admittedly, ended up a tad mushy) and I added some chickpeas for protein and spinach and asparagus for a (tiny) bit of nutrition.

    I also decided to bake it (with some bread crumbs on top) at 375 for about 20 minutes or so and then 5 minutes under the broiler to give it a little crunch on top.

    It was great! I love love love Dubliner cheese and I can’t wait to make this again for the other Dubliner fans I know! Thanks so much!

  23. mac and cheese looks yummy!

  24. I love your bowls, where did you get them?

  25. Kristin says:

    I just made this with colby jack cheese and it’s still amazing. My dad can’t have cheddar because it gives him migraines. I wanted to make one that he could enjoy as well. We added some crumbled thick cut pepper bacon to it as well and it was great!

    I will have to try the real recipe with the different cheddars later.

  26. Looks perfect. I am the mother of a daughter that is macaroni and cheese obsessed – I will be making this one soon! Happy New Year-

  27. I have never tried this one before, so perhaps I’ll try it tonight after a nice hot meal.

  28. Chrystal Shelley says:

    I used to love Kerry Gold products, too, until I read online that they are not pesticide free. A woman from Ireland said that the pastures on which the cows grazed are sprayed with chemicals. So, yes, they are grassed and hormone free but there are chemicals in the milk. Has anyone heard this, too?

  29. I have never tried making mac and cheese with Irish cheese and i LOVE Irish cheese and butter! Does any one have a recipe for irish style nachos?

  30. Now this looks like an amazing mac and cheese


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