Steakhouse Mac and Cheese

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Steakhouses aren’t known for their vegetarian dishes. Some have an alfredo-type pasta or maybe an entree salad but I usually make a “veggie plate” by ordering a side salad + some seasonal veggies. At Outback though– I get the Outback Signature Steakhouse Mac and Cheese. It’s a “side dish” that’s entree sized for $5 and it’s amazing.

Amazing in that “I only get this 2-3x a year when we come to Outback with friends” kinda way. It’s super tasty, kinda spicy, not your typical mac and cheese but I know it’s loaded with junk so it’s a treat. Whatever the Outback generic spice is– it’s crave-able. And I want to be able to make it at home 🙂

This Steakhouse Mac and Cheese is my copycat version of their signature side dish.

  • Made with real cheese (NOT Velveeta!)
  • Ready in less than 20 minutes
  • Made with heavy cream + milk for an extra smooth cheese sauce
  • Delicious and crowd-pleasing
  • Topped with seasoned, toasted breadcrumbs for extra flavor

This dish is perfect for a weeknight dinner or a Sunday watching football (hopefully 2020, right!)– it’s best enjoyed when made (as all mac and cheeses) but can be refrigerated and reheated with a little cream. It’s mildly spiced so it’s palatable for most but can be made with more heat, too!

Mildly spicy, flavorful cheese sauce topped with seasoned breadcrumbs

Steakhouse Mac and Cheese

A homemade version of an Outback Steakhouse classic! Steakhouse mac and cheese is flavorful, lightly spiced, and easy to make in under 30 minutes. Creamy and delicious without processed cheese. Vegetarian. Makes 4 entree servings or 8 side-dish servings.
4.79 from 19 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 8 servings
Calories 514 kcal


Seasoned Bread Crumbs

  • ½ c Panko bread crumbs
  • tsp olive oil
  • tsp black pepper
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp onion powder
  • tsp paprika

Mac and Cheese

  • 2 c sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 c Gouda, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp AP flour
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • ½ c milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • tsp ground nutmeg
  • tsp garlic powder
  • tsp onion powder
  • 16 oz Cavatappi pasta


Prepare Seasoned Bread Crumbs:

  • Combine bread crumbs and spices in a medium bowl.
  • Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add bread crumb mixture and toast, stirring constantly, approximately 1 minute, until fragrant and lightly browned.
    Waiting for oil to heat completely ensures crisp bread crumbs.
  • Remove crumbs from pan and set aside. Store leftovers in airtight container in refrigerator.

Make Mac and Cheese:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large skillet or pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add flour and whisk continuously to form a medium brown roux, approximately 1 minute.
  • Stir in heavy cream, milk, and spices. Cook on medium, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, fragrant, and bubbling– about 5 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and slowly add cheese, stirring until fully melted and smooth. This takes 2-3 minutes.
  • Fold cooked pasta into cheese sauce until combined.
  • Serve and top with seasoned bread crumbs.

Storage and Leftovers:

  • Store leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. Reheat with a little milk or cream.


Have all sauce ingredients ready before making this dish– once the sauce begins, it requires constant stirring to ensure a smooth, creamy finish.
A good, smooth cheese sauce is best made with freshly shredded cheese– bagged cheeses often have added fillers that prevent melting.


Calories: 514kcal
Keyword Copycat Outback Steakhouse Mac and Cheese, Steakhouse Mac and Cheese
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
For a true copycat Outback experience, serve in small cast iron pans. This recipe makes 4 entree servings or 8 side dish servings.

I hope you’re enjoying more open stores and restaurants these days! If you’re like us– you enjoy going out to eat but sometimes, making a copycat at home is fun, too. I hope you love this recipe and if you try it– let me know what you think!

Have a great weekend, friends!


18 thoughts on “Steakhouse Mac and Cheese”

  • Hi my name is kerri,
    I would love to make this recipe being that we love outback steak house and especially there mac and cheese. Having a hard time reading the clear measuring on the spices even with my magnifying glasses on. If you could can you kindly please email me the measuring on the spices in a bigger print if you don’t mind.

    • 5 stars
      If you’re on a Windows enabled computer, there’s a icon to the far right with 3 parallel bars. Chick it. Under the sub-categories is 1 that says Zoom. You can increase the type on the page with that.

  • Hi,
    Kerri here again. I just printed the recipe and I can actually read the spice measurements. Sorry about the inconvenience there. Looking forward to making this delicious recipe.

    • Hi Kerri! I’m sorry the measurements are difficult to read :/ My recipe plug-in finally allowed fraction measures a few months ago which made it easier to enter them but I see the text is harder to read. I may change them going forward to make them more legible. Thanks for the feedback and I hope y’all like the recipe!

  • 4 stars
    Oh so very close to the restaurant version! Well done. I jazzed up the spices a little, but I like things a little spicy.

  • are there substitutes, for the heavy cream and gouda- since I’m lactose intolerant? Or rice flour for regular flour, being gluten intolerant? I tasted my son’s mac & cheese and loved it! Wanted more but didn’t dare!

    • Hi Rita,

      My best recommendation for the heavy cream would be a plant-based version like Silk heavy cream (it has worked well for me in the past). For the gouda, I’ve not tried a vegan version but gouda is typically low in lactose (or even lactose free, it labeled). If you find a good sub, let me know! Rice flour should work fine– I wouldn’t use almond as it might roast bringing out the almond flavor more (I’ve not worked with GF 1 for 1 flour before though). Hope this helps! Thanks,


    • Hi! I think so, yes. We haven’t frozen it before but keep the leftovers in the fridge. We reheat with a little milk and have microwaved and stirred to refresh it. If you freeze, I would recommend not freezing with the panko topping (you can still make this ahead and keep in an airtight container at room temp). If you reheat in oven, cover with tinfoil to keep it from drying out. I might would top with a little extra fresh cheese to melt 🙂

  • This tasted amazing!!! I appreciate the insight and LOVE that there’s options of measurements for 1, 2, and 3 servings!!!!!!!!!

  • This looks great, might try it out fairly soon. I honestly prefer the non-spicy kid version in the actual restaurant, do you have recommendations to mimic that and lower the spiciness?

    • Hi! Thanks for the question. The kid’s menu item (Macaroo and cheese) is a mixture of Velveeta, heavy cream, and pasta. My recipe could be adapted to use all cheddar and remove the spices and the topping, but it wouldn’t be quite the same as the kid’s version since it wouldn’t have Velveeta unless you used that 😁 Hope this helps!

  • 5 stars
    I heard this mac ‘n’ cheese is very mustard-forward. I’ve never had it (I live in Canada). Does anyone have thoughts?

    • Hi Maggie,

      There is no mustard or mustard powder in this recipe so it’s not mustard forward in flavor. The sharp cheddar and gouda do come through, as well as flavors from the seasonings. Hope this helps!


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