This one bowl creamy brie mac and cheese is comfort in every spoonful. Made with simple ingredients, this creamy mac is great for a cozy weeknight meal or a holiday side dish. Have it ready in 30 minutes.
WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Creamier than Classic Mac. This brie mac and cheese is creamier than the classic mac and cheese that you are used to because brie cheese has a soft and velvety texture. It melts exceptionally well and will become smooth and creamy sauce. For more creamy pasta recipes, try my gigi hadid pasta or my pumpkin pasta.
One Bowl. I think we can agree that any dish that requires only one bowl is always an MVP in the kitchen. Less mess and fuss! This perfect mac is easy to make during the week as a main dish when you do not have a lot of time to clean up or during the holidays when you need your stovetop and counter space!
Luxury Feeling. Impress your guests with this next level mac and cheese dish. The luxurious creaminess and subtle nutty notes of brie cheese elevate this mac dish and take it to a whole new level. The brie cheese adds a touch of elegance and richness to the dish setting it apart from traditional mac and cheese.
No baking. Because this dish is super creamy just as it is, you do not need to bake it! Simply cook it completely on the stovetop then add it into a serving dish.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Pasta Shells. I used barilla large shell pasta for my recipe. You can also use elbow macaroni, cavatappi pasta or bowtie shaped. if you are gluten free, I recommend using a pasta that does not break down easily, like Banza. Because of the method used to cook the pasta (boiling in vegetable broth) some gluten free pastas can fall apart, such as the brown rice ones.
Wheel of Brie Cheese. Brie cheese can be found in the cheese section of your local grocery store. You can use any variety, whether its double cream or triple cream. Be sure not to buy one that has any flavors added to it, such as garlic or herbs, as it will change the taste. Brie cheese will give this mac its creamy texture and is the base of the cheese sauce.
Parmesan Cheese. Parmesan cheese enhances the flavor of this mac and cheese due to its savory umami flavor. It also adds saltiness to this dish to give it balance. I do not recommend using an alternative for it. You can use parmesan cheese in any shape or form - shredded, block or grated.
Cheddar Cheese. Cheddar cheese provided a sharp, rich flavor to this dish. You can use any type of cheddar you like. I chose to use a sharp cheddar for an extra kick. You can also use Gruyere in its place.
Heavy Cream. Heavy cream not only acts as a thickening agent to this dish, but also makes the creamy brie cheese sauce, well, even creamier. If you are in a pinch, you can use whole milk or unflavored plant based milk as well, but it will make the sauce a little less thick.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
Step 1. Add unsalted butter to a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add in the diced garlic and shallots. Cook until fragrant. This will take about 2 to 3 minutes. Watch it closely, it can burn quickly! If it does burn, start over.
Step 2. Add the dry pasta shells into the sauce pan and coat with the buttery mixture. Once coated, add in 2 cups of vegetable broth and mix. Reduce to a medium-low heat. Continue to stir, every 2-3 minutes, while the broth cooks down or the pasta will stick. It will boil slightly. You will notice the shells start to plump up. This will take approximately 5 to 7 minutes.
Step 3. Once the vegetable broth is cooked down, add another 1 cup of vegetable broth and mix . Stir the mixture every 1-2 minutes until it is cooked down again. It will take about 5 minutes. Repeat one more time until the pasta is fully cooked.
Step 4. While the shells are cooking, remove the brie rind from the brie cheese on all sides using a sharp knife and cut the brie into cubes. Keep the brie cheese refrigerated until it is ready to be cut so it stays firm and does not soften and become a hassle to cut. Shred the cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese.
Step 6. Remove the cooked shells from the heat. There should not be more than 2-3 tbsp of vegetable broth left, if any. If there is, drain a portion of so only 2-3 tbsp are left. Add in the heavy cream, brie cheese, cheddar and parmesan into the pot with the cooked shells. Add pepper for taste. Stir until a creamy cheese sauce develops. This will take 1-2 minutes while the cheeses melt.
Step 7. Pour into a serving dish. Option to add panko breadcrumbs, fresh thyme / fresh herbs or black pepper to top of the mac. I added thyme breadcrumbs and frozen grated cranberries to mine!
To store this creamy brie mac and cheese, add it to an airtight container or cover the serving dish with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I do not recommend freezing because the pasta will get mushy.
To reheat, place in a microwave safe bowl and gently heat in the microwave as 45 second spurts until fully warmed, mixing often.
Pasta shapes like shells, elbow macaroni, penne, or cavatappi are popular choices for Brie mac and cheese because they hold the sauce well. Any type of pasta shape will work though!
At this time, there is no brie cheese available at the stores. You can make your own using this vegan brie cheese recipe. Then, use vegan cheddar, parmesan, butter and heavy cream in place of the dairy versions. For a vegan mac and cheese recipe that does only uses store bought cheese, try this vegan mac and cheese without cashews! It is also one bowl.
Yes, any type of brie cheese will work for this recipe including mild, medium, or triple cream brie, depending on your flavor preference.
Keep the Brie Cheese Cold. Brie will soften very easily, so if your kitchen is slightly warm, it will start to warm up. While this is not a problem for the mac and cheese, it can be a problem when cutting off the rind. To ensure you can get it off easily, keep it in the fridge until you are ready to cut it.
Stir the Boiling Pasta Often. Because this mac and cheese is being cooked with minimum liquids, it can easily stick to the bottom of the pan. To prevent this, stir often.
MORE COZY RECIPES
One Bowl Creamy Brie Mac and Cheese (stove-top only)
- Medium to Large Cooking Pot
- 1 lb pasta of your choice I used shells
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ lb brie cheese approx 1 heaping cup. Use any type (triple creme, double creme, ect), but avoid flavored brie
- ½ cup parmesan
- ½ cup cheddar cheese heaping
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp shallots diced
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 3 tbsp salted butter
- Pepper for taste
- optional bread crumbs or herbs for topping
- In a medium to large sauce pot, add 3 tbsp of butter and cook over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted, add in the diced shallots and minced garlic. Cook until fragrant, approximately 2-3 minutes. Stir often. Watch is closely so it does not burn.
- Turn the heat down to medium low. Add the dry pasta into the pot and mix it in the melted butter, garlic and shallot until they are coated.
- Add 2 cups of vegetable broth into the pot and mix. The shells may not be fully covered. Mix to coat the shells then cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring very often, until the shells start to plump up and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Once the vegetable broth is cooked down, add another 1 cup of vegetable broth and mix . Stir the mixture every 1-2 minutes until it is cooked down again. It will take about 5 minutes.
- Repeat adding the vegetable broth and cooking it down one more time until the pasta is fully cooked.
- While the pasta is cooking, prep the cheeses. Remove the rind from the brie cheese and cut it into cubes. Shred the parmesan and cheddar cheese if it is not pre-shredded.
- Once the pasta is fully cooked, remove it from the heat (keep it in the hot pot) and add the brie cheese, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, pepper for taste and heavy cream. Stir until all of the cheese is melted and a creamy sauce develops. It will be a little hard to stir at first but once the cheese melts it will get easier.
- Add to serving bowl. Option to top with breadcrumbs* or herbs.