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Cheese/ Hearty Dinners/ Pasta

French Onion Mac and Cheese

April 5, 2022 (Last Updated: December 25, 2023) by Chris Collins

All the classic flavours of French Onion Soup transformed into the most delicious Mac and Cheese imaginable!

This mac and cheese is rich, silky smooth, loaded with flavour AND it’s all made in one pot. Follow me…

close up shot of fork digging into small white bowl of mac and cheese

Caramelized Onions

The key component of a French onion soup is the caramelized onions. Unfortunately cooking down the onions does take a little time, but fortunately, it’s so darn worth it.

The aim of the game when caramelizing onions is to slowly cook them down for them to release their natural sugars. From there, the natural sugars on the surface begin to caramelize and turn the onions gorgeously sweet. Cooking down the onions slowly also leaves them ultra-soft and sticky, with a jam-like texture.

The difference between caramelized onions for French onion soup and Classic Caramelized Onions is that you increase the heat towards the end for the French onions. By doing this you get brown bits/char on the base of your pan (as you can see below), which adds a ton of flavour.

6 step by step photos showing how to caramelize onions for french onion soup

French Mac and Cheese

For the mac and cheese itself, you actually don’t need a whole load of ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Caramelized Onions – As discussed above. These will be fried in butter and oil.
  • Macaroni – Dried macaroni, no need to cook it (more on this in a sec).
  • Beef Stock – This is classically used in French onion soup and offers a gorgeous deep flavour to the mac and cheese.
  • Milk – This helps create the sauce and cooks the pasta.
  • Worcestershire Sauce – This deepens the flavour of the stock and onions.
  • Cheese – Gruyere is a must! I also add cheddar and mozzarella too.

One Pot Mac and Cheese

The beauty of this recipe is that it’s all made in one pot. Cooking the pasta in with the sauce is an awesome technique for a few different reasons:

  • No need to make a roux to thicken the sauce, the starch will do it for you.
  • The excess starch helps create a glossy/velvety sauce which coats the pasta much better.
  • The pasta soaks in all those gorgeous flavours from the stock and caramelized onions.
  • Less washing up!

Process shots: add stock to onions (photo 1), add milk and Worcestershire sauce (photo 2), add macaroni (photo 3), simmer to cook (photo 4), add cheese (photo 5), stir until melted (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make french onion mac and cheese

Serving French Onion Mac & Cheese

Once the cheese has melted, serve it right up! You’ll notice the sauce thickens more as it rests, but if you need to loosen up the sauce at all just stir in milk a splash at a time. If you wanted to go full French onion soup you could also serve with a pinch of fresh thyme and thinly sliced toasted baguette!

For more French onion inspired recipes check out my French Onion Boulangere Potatoes and French Onion Pork Chops!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this French onion mac and cheese shall we?!

close up shot of serving spoon digging into pot of mac and cheese

How to make French Onion Mac and Cheese (Full Recipe & Video)

close up shot of fork digging into small white bowl of mac and cheese

French Onion Mac and Cheese

All the classic flavours of French Onion Soup transformed into the most delicious Mac and Cheese imaginable!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings (click & slide): 6
Course: Dinner / Main Course
Cuisine: American / French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Calories per serving: 764kcal
Cost per serving: £2 / $2.50


  • Large Pot & Wooden Spoon
  • Jug (for stock/milk)
  • Cheese Grater
  • Serving Spoon

Ingredients (check list):

Caramelized Onions

  • 2lb / 1kg Onions, halved, peeled & sliced
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp EACH: Salt, Black Pepper

Mac and Cheese

  • 1lb / 500g Dried Macaroni
  • 3 cups / 750ml EACH: Milk, Beef Stock
  • 2 cups / 200g EACH: Gruyere, Cheddar
  • 1/2 cup / 50g Mozzarella
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


  • Add butter and oil to a large pot over medium heat then add the onion. Cook on medium heat, stirring every few mins, for around 25-30mins until the onions soften. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
  • Increase heat slightly to medium-high and continue cooking the onions for another 20-25mins, or until deep golden with a soft and jammy texture, stirring more frequently to ensure they don't burn. If they begin to char/burn before they caramelize, just turn down the heat slightly. See step by step photos for how the onions should look when they're done.
  • Lower heat back down to medium and pour in beef stock, milk and Worcestershire sauce. Use your wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pot, then add the pasta.
  • Give everything a stir, then bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the macaroni is al dente, stirring somewhat frequently. The sauce should be fairly thin at this point.
  • Turn off the heat and add in cheddar, gruyere and mozzarella. Give everything a really good stir until the cheese melts. If the sauce is still too thin/pasta is not fully cooked just pop on low heat for a couple of mins. If it's too thick just add milk a splash at a time. Season to taste and serve!

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Caramelized Onions - It takes a little while to really caramelize the onions, but do try and be patient as it's so worth it. The difference between these and Classic Caramelized Onions is that you increase the heat towards the end. By doing this you get a brown bits/char on the base of your pan, which adds a ton of flavour. 
b) Consistency - The liquid should be enough to cook the pasta and melt the cheese. However depending on how thick your macaroni is, it might soak up a little more liquid, leaving the cheese sauce quite thick. You can easily adjust this by adding in more milk a splash at a time. I'd be very surprised if you find it too saucy (especially because it soaks up the sauce as it rests), but if you do, just pop the pot back on low heat.
c) Cheese - Gruyere is a must because it's the classic option in a French onion soup. The cheddar offers a more rounded flavour, whilst the mozzarella gives you a nice cheese pull. 
d) Calories - whole recipe divided by 6.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
French Onion Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 764 Calories from Fat 315
% Daily Value*
Fat 34.97g54%
Saturated Fat 18.987g95%
Trans Fat 0.549g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.083g
Monounsaturated Fat 10.601g
Cholesterol 100mg33%
Sodium 759mg32%
Potassium 595mg17%
Carbohydrates 74.74g25%
Fiber 3.8g15%
Sugar 16.21g18%
Protein 37.1g74%
Vitamin A 1092IU22%
Vitamin C 7.6mg9%
Calcium 861mg86%
Iron 1.68mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Looking for more?You'll find plenty more delicious comfort food like this in my Debut Cookbook 'Comfy'

For another stove top mac and cheese recipe check out my Ultra Creamy One Pot Mac and Cheese and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!

For more similar recipes check out these beauties:

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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    August 16, 2023 at 12:21 pm

    5 stars
    Talk about a Proustian rush…

    I don’t know why I didn’t twig from the ingredients but this tasted exactly like one of my favourite childhood recipes. My dad has a book that was already old when I was a child called ‘Make a Meal of Cheese’. Among some weapons-grade abominations like ham and cheese baked bananas (1970’s cookbooks…) there was a recipe for Cheese and Onion soup which, except for the swap of flour and pasta, is this recipe.

    I did use Gruyère and mozarella and it was better for it but the recipe for Cheese and Onion soup used only cheddar (the Cheese Information Service were never going to condone continental cheeses) and was also lovely. I’d definitely recommend the Gruyère on taste and texture but going for a mature cheddar and mozarella would still be good and reduce the cost significantly.

    Will definitely be making again and again.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      August 17, 2023 at 10:36 am

      Thanks so much for the review, Simon! So great to hear this brought back memories! 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    November 5, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    5 stars
    I made this for the family as we all love French onion soup and Mac n cheese and I must say it went down an absolute storm. Will be making this time and time again. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 5, 2022 at 6:04 pm

      Great to hear, Hannah! Thanks so much for the review! C.