J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese Recipe

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This J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese Recipe features creamy elbow macaroni smothered in a blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, topped with a crispy breadcrumb crust for a comforting and indulgent dish.

j alexander's mac and cheese

As I always said, mac and cheese is always a comforting classic. In this blog, I’ve shared various restaurant-inspired mac and cheese recipes, with the latest being Yard House Mac and Cheese Recipe, which was incredibly satisfying.

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to this copycat J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese—it’s super easy to make and crafted with simple ingredients like sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, creating a velvety sauce. Topped with a crispy breadcrumb topping, this dish perfectly balances creamy and crunchy textures.

I’m sure you will love this J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese Recipe for its rich flavor and comforting appeal. Serve it as a hearty side dish or enjoy it as a delicious main course alongside your favorite proteins or salads.

What is J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese?

J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese is a popular dish served at J. Alexander’s restaurants and is known for its rich and creamy texture. It features elbow macaroni cooked until tender and coated in a velvety cheese sauce made from a blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheeses. The dish is often seasoned with spices like paprika and cayenne pepper for added depth of flavor.

How to make J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Equipment Y’ll need

  • Large Pot: For boiling the macaroni until al dente.
  • Medium Saucepan: To prepare the cheese sauce.
  • Baking Dish: A 9×9-inch baking dish is ideal for baking the mac and cheese in the oven.
  • Whisk: Essential for stirring and smoothing out the cheese sauce.
  • Mixing Spoon or Spatula: Combine the cooked macaroni with the cheese sauce evenly.

Instructions

Step 1:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.

Step 2:

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 minute until the mixture is bubbly and smooth.

Step 3:

Gradually whisk in the heavy cream and whole milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, about 5-7 minutes.

Step 4:

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper if using.

Step 5:

Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated.

Step 6:

In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated.

Step 7:

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a greased 9×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top.

Step 8:

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Step 9:

Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

  • For extra depth of flavor, sauté finely minced garlic in the butter before adding the flour to the sauce.
  • Mix in other cheeses like fontina, smoked gouda, or asiago to create a unique blend that suits your taste preferences.
  • Stir in chopped fresh herbs such as thyme or chives into the cheese sauce for added freshness and aroma.
  • For a crunchy topping variation, mix the breadcrumbs with grated Parmesan cheese or crushed crackers before sprinkling over the mac and cheese before baking.

What to pair with J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese

One of my favorite ways to enjoy a comforting meal is with a generous serving of J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese—it’s creamy, cheesy, and simply delightful. I love how the combination of sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheeses creates a velvety sauce that coats every strand of macaroni perfectly.

But you can try enhancing it by adding a sprinkle of crispy bacon or diced jalapenos for a touch of heat. Also, consider pairing it with a side of buttery garlic bread or a crisp Caesar salad to complement its rich flavors. For a heartier option, serve alongside grilled chicken or shrimp skewers for a complete and satisfying meal.

J Alexander's Mac and Cheese Recipe

How to store

To store leftover J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese, first allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer any remaining portions into an airtight container or sealable plastic bag. Refrigerate promptly and use within 3-4 days.

When ready to reheat, place the mac and cheese in a microwave-safe dish and warm in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through. Alternatively, reheat in an oven-safe dish covered with foil at 350°F (175°C) until warmed to your liking. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

FAQ

Can I use different types of cheese?

Yes, you can experiment with different cheeses like fontina, mozzarella, or Gouda to vary the flavor and texture of the dish.

How can I make this dish gluten-free?

Use gluten-free elbow macaroni and ensure all other ingredients, such as flour (if used in the sauce), breadcrumbs (if used as a topping), and any seasoning blends, are gluten-free certified.

Can I prepare J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the mac and cheese ahead of time, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or foil, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Add the breadcrumb topping just before baking.

What are some variations to try with this recipe?

Consider adding cooked bacon, diced ham, or sautéed vegetables like spinach or mushrooms for added flavor and texture.

Is it necessary to use breadcrumbs on top?

No, breadcrumbs are optional but add a crispy texture and can be omitted for a different mouthfeel.

J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese Recipe

Recipe by Wasian CookeryCourse: Main, SidesCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

45

minutes

This J Alexander’s Mac and Cheese Recipe features creamy elbow macaroni smothered in a blend of sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheeses, topped with a crispy breadcrumb crust for a comforting and indulgent dish.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons melted butter

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Directions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the elbow macaroni and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for about 1 minute until the mixture is bubbly and smooth.
  • Gradually whisk in the heavy cream and whole milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a simmer, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the sharp cheddar, Gruyere, and Parmesan cheeses. Stir until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne pepper if using.
  • Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is well coated.
  • In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the macaroni and cheese to a greased 9×9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.
  • Remove from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Notes

  • For extra depth of flavor, sauté finely minced garlic in the butter before adding the flour to the sauce.