Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

Greek yogurt is the secret to making this healthier macaroni and cheese super creamy! This easy one-pot stovetop recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes and can be made gluten-free or whole grain, if desired.

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

It was clear that I wanted to make some kind of healthier mac and cheese for today, but it took me a while to settle on the recipe. I tried making it with cottage cheese several times and although it came out well, it started to look quite unappetizing just a few minutes out of the pot. Delicious but perhaps a bit too ugly to post. I had difficulties with this one, too. It’s WAY creamier than the pictures portray it. I’m very slow when it comes to photographing, which means taking pictures of room temperature food. Room temperature mac and cheese isn’t the most beautiful.

I’ve also tried the cauliflower mac and cheese thing. I’m sure it’s fantastic – if you like cauliflower. I thought I’d be able to whip up some of that and then have a way to consume veggies that was less painful (if you’re new here, I have a hard time eating vegetables). But I could taste the cauliflower. No more tainting of my macaroni and cheese shall ever happen again. ;) Luckily, I found this recipe for creamy Greek yogurt mac and cheese from Cooking ala Mel. And my search for the perfect healthier macaroni and cheese ended!

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

With this one-pot recipe, you boil the pasta, drain, return the pasta to the pot, and add the cheese and Greek yogurt. Stir. Tada! Easiest mac and cheese ever. You can use regular, whole wheat, or gluten-free macaroni here. Anything goes! And if you want to make it healthier (because pasta and a ton of cheese will never be healthy), you can throw in leftover roasted chicken, peas, or like Mel, spinach!

I used cheddar cheese and Pecorino Romano. I thought that it might be odd but – nope. It’s kind of perfect. I’ve been battling a serious Pecorino Romano addiction lately. So much so that I skip the pasta and just grate a nice amount into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Yup. :D

Pecorino Romano is similar to Parmesan in that it’s grated over pasta and the like, but it’s sharper, saltier and made with sheep’s milk. And don’t get Romano cheese confused with Pecorino Romano! It’s different stuff. If you can’t find this type of cheese, just add more cheddar. Or whatever kind of cheese you like! Though if you’re interested, I found it on Amazon (but I haven’t tried this brand myself!) and it seems like Sam’s Club carries it, too.

Need a vegan version? Try this Cajun Mac and Cheese!

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

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Rated 4.3 by 3 readers
Healthier Macaroni and Cheese
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Ready in:
  • Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 4 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese1
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano (or more cheddar)
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

  1. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. I just took a 1 cup measuring cup and filled it up with water.
  2. Return the pasta to the pot and add about 1/4 cup of the reserved water.
  3. Stir in the cheese and when melted, add in the Greek yogurt, paprika powder, and garlic powder.
  4. Stir until well combined.
  5. If it's too thick for you, add in the remaining reserved pasta water.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Place any leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Notes

  1. The original recipe called for 8 ounces of cheese – I was more than happy with 5 ounces of cheese. This could have been because I used a good sharp cheddar.

Adapted from Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac and Cheese, from Cooking Ala Mel

Recipe by  | www.texanerin.com

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57 comments on “Healthier Macaroni and Cheese” — Add one!

  • patti gulliver says
    February 3, 2015 @ 6:13 pm

    your recipe suggests to eat right away after preparation, do you know if it can be made ahead and baked later with additions such as lobster?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to patti gulliver
      February 3, 2015 @ 9:05 pm

      It doesn’t reheat so well so I wouldn’t recommend that. The consistency of the sauce is definitely best when freshly made. Sorry about that!

      Reply
  • Tiff says
    December 9, 2014 @ 3:29 am

    I would also add pinch of salt or even sausages to bring more flavor to the mac and cheese!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tiff
      December 11, 2014 @ 5:46 pm

      Sausage sounds like a great idea! And yes, more salt is almost always good. :)

      Reply
  • Mel
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    July 31, 2014 @ 2:04 am

    This was pretty good, but definitely not mac n cheese. It was a . . . pasta dish we’ll say. lol It was definitely pasta with cheese, seasoning, and yogurt heavy on the yogurt taste. I did like it, and it filled me up, but I was expecting a mac n cheese taste when the yogurt reaaaally overpowered the cheese flavor.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Mel
      July 31, 2014 @ 9:54 pm

      Aww. I’m sorry you didn’t find it to be like mac and cheese! I make it about once a week and have always been happy with the mac and cheesiness of it. ;) I wonder if it has something to do with differences in Greek yogurt? When I make this, I don’t taste yogurt at all. Only cheesy goodness. :)

      Reply
  • Tracy West
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    April 25, 2014 @ 3:38 am

    This dish was yummy, the kids had seconds. I will definitely make this again.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Tracy West
      April 25, 2014 @ 10:13 am

      So happy to hear that! It’s definitely a favorite around here. Thanks a bunch for the feedback and the rating. :)

      Reply
  • Kat says
    April 3, 2014 @ 11:30 pm

    What are the nutritional value and calorie count?

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kat
      April 4, 2014 @ 7:20 pm

      Hi there! I intentionally don’t include the nutritional info (I focus on making healthier choices rather than low calorie / fat / etc.) but you can copy and paste the recipe here for that info, if you like. :)

      Reply
  • Jackie says
    February 28, 2014 @ 6:03 pm

    Yogurt in mac ‘n cheese – very intriguing and something I never thought to try. Sounds like it’s very good, too and I love the healthier angle. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Jackie
      March 1, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

      You’re welcome! I hope you get a chance to try it out. :)

      Reply
  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts says
    February 28, 2014 @ 3:05 am

    I love the idea of Greek yogurt in there. It makes it healthier, but still has to be so creamy!

    Reply
  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking says
    February 27, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

    Wowza! All these mac ‘n cheese recipes are making me drool! Love your healthy twist on traditionally heavy cheese sauces, Erin. I’ve got to give this a try!

    Reply
  • Kim Beaulieu says
    February 27, 2014 @ 6:58 am

    This is seriously gorgeous. I love pecorino but it’s hard to find here. Occasionally I luck out and buy oodles of it. I now know what I’m making when I score another batch.

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kim Beaulieu
      February 27, 2014 @ 9:45 pm

      Haha. That’s how I am with other stuff! Like when maple syrup is on sale… I buy a dozen jars of it. :)

      Reply
  • Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet
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    February 26, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

    Yes to healthier mac! Looks fantastic!

    Reply
  • Cookin Canuck says
    February 26, 2014 @ 12:52 am

    I love the short ingredients list for this recipes. And what a great idea to use Greek yogurt to lighten things up!

    Reply
  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen says
    February 25, 2014 @ 4:00 pm

    I have the same issue photographing mac ‘n cheese! It’s like ice cream, you run around the house trying to get everything ready in like 1 minute. Makes me crazy!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Gina @ Running to the Kitchen
      February 26, 2014 @ 8:17 pm

      Haha. My problem is that I take an hour to get a picture I like. I can only reheat mac and cheese a few times before I go crazy. ;)

      Reply
  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche says
    February 25, 2014 @ 2:03 pm

    Love the idea of using Greek yoghurt! This looks delish, and much less guilt-inducing than usual ;)

    Reply
  • Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen says
    February 25, 2014 @ 5:04 am

    Wow, of all the things I add Greek yogurt as a sub for, I never thought about good old mac n cheese! Great idea!!

    Reply
  • becca-cookie jar treats says
    February 24, 2014 @ 11:29 pm

    I’ve been looking all over for healthy mac and cheeses. I had a go-to one and then I tried one with chicken broth and that was kinda weird. But this looks like it is definitely worth trying :)

    Reply
  • Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction says
    February 24, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

    Love how quickly this comes together and the fact that you use Greek yogurt!

    Reply
  • Phi @ The Sweetphi Blog says
    February 24, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

    Love this healthier macaroni and cheese, can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  • Anna @ Garnish with Lemon says
    February 24, 2014 @ 8:55 pm

    I can’t believe how creamy this looks! Brilliant, Erin.

    Reply
  • Sarah - Daisy at Home says
    February 24, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

    This looks fabulous!

    Reply
  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies says
    February 24, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    I love the short ingredient list and easy instructions! My kind of mac and cheese

    Reply
  • Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
    February 24, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

    This healthier mac and cheese looks no different than the full fat. I would love this!

    Reply
  • Carla | Carla's Confections says
    February 24, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

    Whoa. I dont think it gets much better than Mac and Cheese Week!!! I cant wait to check all these recipes out! I am loving your healthier version too. I bet it tastes incredible!

    Reply
  • Jennie @themessybakerblog says
    February 24, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

    I love this easy, and healthy, recipe for mac and cheese. Mmm, the creamy cheesiness going on has me craving this. Pinned.

    Reply
  • Amy @Very Culinary says
    February 24, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

    Great idea to use Greek yogurt! Sort of makes me think I could eat this for breakfast ;-)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Amy @Very Culinary
      February 24, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

      Well of course you can! It’s got protein, right? And you could add some bacon for even more protein. :D

      Reply
  • Kristen says
    February 24, 2014 @ 1:41 pm

    I love that you created this using Greek yogurt. Such a great idea!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Kristen
      February 24, 2014 @ 3:18 pm

      Thanks, Kristen! It definitely put the cottage cheese to shame. ;)

      Reply
  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says
    February 24, 2014 @ 1:25 pm

    Pecorino is my husbands FAVORITE!! We were just discussing it and the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano yesterday. :)

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Liz @ The Lemon Bowl
      February 24, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

      Haha. Really?! Rich sounds like a great guy. He bakes cheesecakes, can solve technical blogging issues and prefers Pecorino Romano. Awesome! :D

      Reply
  • Nutmeg Nanny says
    February 24, 2014 @ 1:08 pm

    Greek yogurt never looked so good! I have never thought to add it my mac and cheese but I see why it totally works. This looks amazing! Thank you friend!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Nutmeg Nanny
      February 24, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

      And thank you for hosting! You two did a great job. :)

      Reply
  • Rachel Cooks says
    February 24, 2014 @ 12:34 pm

    Loving that this comes together in 15 minutes! And goodness knows I could use a healthier recipe after planning and making the recipes for this event. ;) Thanks for participating!

    Reply
    • Erin replies to Rachel Cooks
      February 24, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

      Haha. Your kids must have been thrilled about this whole macaroni and cheese thing! Way better than fish week, right? Or kale week? Or, um, just about anything savory? :D

      Reply
  • Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness says
    February 24, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

    Mmm mmm good! I love me some mac n’ cheese…especially one that I can eat and keep my waistline happy!

    Reply

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