Decadent French Onion Mac And Cheese Recipe

The popularity of mac and cheese doesn't look to be declining anytime soon, and it is easy to understand why. This ultimate comfort dish is everything a pasta dish should be, and, what's more, it is wonderfully adaptable. This dinnertime classic has been given new life recently with twists such as truffle mac and cheese and even lobster mac and cheese that elevate the simple pasta dish to fine dining levels.

This decadent French onion mac and cheese, created by Tasting Table's Jennine Rye, combines mac and cheese with French onion soup for a luxuriously rich hybrid dish that will make you view mac and cheese in a new light. To combine these two dishes, onions are caramelized before being added to a deeply creamy and cheesy sauce that is flavored with beef broth, white wine, and Gruyère cheese for that classic French onion soup taste. Macaroni is stirred into the sauce before being topped with handfuls of breadcrumbs and further Gruyère to make an unforgettable dish that will have you going back for seconds.

Gather the ingredients for this decadent French onion mac and cheese recipe

To begin this decadent French onion mac and cheese recipe, first you will need to gather the ingredients. For the caramelized onions, you will want onions, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar. For the sauce, you will need butter, garlic, all-purpose flour, white wine, beef stock, thyme, heavy cream, milk, Gruyère cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. To finish the dish, you will also need macaroni pasta and bread crumbs, as well as more Gruyère and cheddar cheese.

Step 1: Slice the onions

Slice the onions into strips.

Step 2: Heat a pan

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over low heat.

Step 3: Caramelize the onions

Add the sliced onions, and allow them to slowly caramelize for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 4: Add sugar and balsamic

When the onions are light brown in color, add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to the pan.

Step 5: Continue to caramelize

Continue to cook the onions for another 5 minutes, until they are sticky and brown.

Step 6: Set the onions aside

Turn off the heat and set to one side.

Step 7: Preheat the oven

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Step 8: Heat an ovenproof pan

Heat an oven-safe pan with the butter to a medium temperature.

Step 9: Fry the garlic

Fry the crushed garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Step 10: Add flour

Add 1 tablespoon flour and mix it into the garlic butter.

Step 11: Add liquids

Add the white wine, beef stock, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste.

Step 12: Simmer

Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 13: Add cream and cheeses

Add the cream, milk, 1 cup Gruyère cheese, and 1 cup cheddar cheese.

Step 14: Mix to form a sauce

Mix to make a creamy, cheesy sauce, and set aside.

Step 15: Boil a pan of water

Boil a large pan of salted water.

Step 16: Cook the macaroni

Add the macaroni and cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente.

Step 17: Drain the macaroni

Drain the macaroni in a colander.

Step 18: Assemble the dish

Add the macaroni and the caramelized onions to the oven-safe pan containing the cheese sauce.

Step 19: Mix the ingredients

Mix everything thoroughly.

Step 20: Add the toppings

Top the mac and cheese with the remaining ½ cup grated Gruyère, the remaining ¼ cup grated cheddar, and the breadcrumbs.

Step 21: Bake

Bake the mac and cheese in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

Step 22: Serve

Serve straight away.

How can I switch up this mac and cheese recipe?

If you are looking to switch up this French onion mac and cheese recipe, there are a wide variety of options available to you, depending on your personal preferences. While this dish does contain a large dose of dairy, you can increase the protein levels by mixing shredded chicken or turkey into the mac and cheese before baking it. Alternatively, if you would like to add some more veggies for a more nutritious dinner option, why not add chopped cauliflower, broccoli, kale, or spinach?

An easy way to give any mac and cheese a bit of switch up is to change the cheeses you add to the mix. While Gruyère is an important addition to keep this mac and cheese in the style of French onion soup, there are plenty of different cheeses you can mix in alongside the Gruyère to add different flavors to this dish. For a great, creamy, and silky finish, add some cream cheese to the mixture. Or, to add more French influence, you could add some delicious brie: just make sure to remove the rinds to avoid their hard texture when cooked.

For a final switch up, you can step up the french onion soup likeness of this dish by adding slices of baguette or croutons to the top of your mac and cheese and coating these with Gruyère, which will melt beautifully in the oven. Delicious!

Can I speed up the process of caramelizing onions?

Caramelizing onions can feel like a real drag, and, while you may come across tips and tricks to help you speed up the process, the truth is that this isn't really a process that can be sped up. For the best caramelized onions, the most important tip is to be patient.

Time is the most important factor in making great onions for this mac and cheese dish, but there are others to keep in mind. It might cross your mind to turn up the heat of your pan to help the cooking process along. However, this will likely just result in gently burned onions instead of the deliciously sweet, golden brown onions you are aiming for. Adding more sugar won't help you to achieve caramelization quicker, either — you'll just end up with semi-cooked onions in a caramel sauce, which is not ideal.

Caramelizing onions is a real labour of love, but it is one you will never regret due to the amazingly rich flavor they add to any dish. If you are really pushed for time, you could always buy some readymade caramelized onions in a jar.

Decadent French Onion Mac And Cheese Recipe
5 from 22 ratings
With caramelized onions, Gruyère, cheddar, and fresh thyme, this decadent mac and cheese recipe mirrors the timeless flavors of French onion soup.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
1.5
hours
Servings
4
portions
French onion mac and cheese
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 3 white onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 + ½ cups grated Gruyère cheese, divided
  • 1 + ¼ cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 10 ounces dried macaroni pasta
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs
Directions
  1. Slice the onions into strips.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over low heat.
  3. Add the sliced onions, and allow them to slowly caramelize for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. When the onions are light brown in color, add the balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to the pan.
  5. Continue to cook the onions for another 5 minutes, until they are sticky and brown.
  6. Turn off the heat and set to one side.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  8. Heat an oven-safe pan with the butter to a medium temperature.
  9. Fry the crushed garlic for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  10. Add 1 tablespoon flour and mix it into the garlic butter.
  11. Add the white wine, beef stock, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper, to taste.
  12. Allow the mixture to simmer for 10 minutes.
  13. Add the cream, milk, 1 cup Gruyère cheese, and 1 cup cheddar cheese.
  14. Mix to make a creamy, cheesy sauce, and set aside.
  15. Boil a large pan of salted water.
  16. Add the macaroni and cook, according to the package instructions, until al dente.
  17. Drain the macaroni in a colander.
  18. Add the macaroni and the caramelized onions to the oven-safe pan containing the cheese sauce.
  19. Mix everything thoroughly.
  20. Top the mac and cheese with the remaining ½ cup grated Gruyère, the remaining ¼ cup grated cheddar, and the breadcrumbs.
  21. Bake the mac and cheese in the oven for 20 minutes, until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
  22. Serve straight away.
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