Garlic Shrimp Mac and Cheese is all your food dreams bundled together in one bubbling dish! A silky, cheesy macaroni sauce with plump, juicy garlic shrimp (prawns) AND a crunchy, golden parmesan topping.
And if that wasn’t enough, this just happens to be made in ONE POT and is on the table in just over 20 minutes. It’s outrageous!
GARLIC SHRIMP MAC AND CHEESE – A DREAM COMBO!
The last time I wrote that I love Mac and Cheese so much it would be my Last Meal, I received alarmed messages from readers who thought I was on the way out.
I quickly wrote back to assure them that I was only joking, that I was perfectly fine, and no I wasn’t secretly an incarcerated food blogger in the unfortunate position of having to start thinking about my Last Meal. (Yes, I seriously got a message from someone who thought that)
So I’m making no such joke about this Shrimp Mac and Cheese. Just in case! 😂
This is a magical combination. It’s basically a mash up of two firm favourites – Garlic Shrimp (prawns!) and Mac and Cheese. Put these together into one bubbling pot, and you’ve something so incredibly tasty, you may never be able to go back to plain Mac and Cheese again.
That’s a lie. You will – all those times when you don’t have shrimp!
IT’S ALL MADE IN ONE POT!
I make Mac and Cheese two ways:
The traditional way – sauce and pasta cooked in separate vessels then combined, like in this Baked Mac and Cheese; and
In one pot – see this Stovetop Mac and Cheese. This is for those times when I can live without a crunchy topping or when time is of the essence (it’s a 20 minute recipe)
I prefer making this the one-pot way because this way, the broth gets terrific extra flavour by using the fond left in the pot after searing the shrimp / prawns.
Though the macaroni is cooked in the sauce (the recipe being such that it reduces and thickens to the right consistency by the time the macaroni is just cooked), the shrimp needs to be cooked separately otherwise they would overcook if left in the pot with the pasta.
Stir them back in at the end, top with a crunchy Parmesan breadcrumb topping, then just a few minutes under a cranked up grill/broiler is all you need for a golden crunchy topping!
WHAT IT TASTES LIKE (IT’S CRAZY GOOD!)
It’s really a jacked up version of the classic Mac and Cheese. No normal Mac and Cheese sauce will have the same flavour that this one has which is boosted with shrimp juices AND the golden bits left in the pan after we sear them.
But what I really enjoy about this Garlic Shrimp Mac and Cheese are the contrasting textures. I use 500g / 1 lb of peeled medium / small shrimp in this, so there’s a generous amount dispersed all throughout the dish. So just imagine, with every bite, you get a little savoury crunch from the Parmesan breadcrumb topping, silky cheese sauce with boosted shrimp umami, perfectly cooked macaroni (no mushy mac in my world!) AND the soft, succulent shrimp.
Every bite is just outrageously good.
Full stop, end of story, signing out (make it this weekend! 😜) – Nagi x
THE MAC & CHEESE COLLECTION
- Shrimp Mac and Cheese (Prawns) – this recipe
Baked Mac and Cheese – huge reader favourite!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese – one pot, 20 minutes
SHRIMP VS PRAWNS
Deliberate decision to use “Shrimp” in the recipe title today instead of “Prawns / Shrimp” which is how I’d ordinarily phrase it, trying to bridge the language gap between the States and Down Under here in Australia 🇦🇺.
In a nod of respect given Mac and Cheese is one of America’s most beloved dishes, I’ve stuck with just “shrimp” in this one.
As for coriander vs cilantro – I will never compromise! 😂
PS If you’re wondering about the difference between shrimp and prawns are, in a nutshell – there is no difference for cooking purposes. Same in taste, texture, size and even colour. It would take an expert to tell the difference in a blind taste! But there are technical differences. Do you know what they are? 🙂
Answer! Both have 5 pairs of legs, but of these, shrimp have 2 claws whereas prawns have 3. There’s also slight differences in body shapes between some varieties.
GARLIC SHRIMP MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
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Garlic Shrimp Mac and Cheese (Prawns)
- 500 g / 1 lb peeled shrimp/prawns (Note 1)
- 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 50 g / 3.5 tbsp unsalted butter , divided
- 3 tbsp / 30g flour , plain / all purpose
- 2 cups / 500ml milk , preferably warmed (Note 2)
- 2.5 cups hot tap water
- 250 g / 8 oz elbow macaroni , uncooked (2.5 cups)
- 1.5 cups (150g) cheese (Cheddar, gruyere, or other), freshly grated (Note 3)
- 3/4 cup (75g) mozzarella cheese , freshly grated (Note 3)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
Parmesan Breadcrumb Topping:
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat broiler/grill on high.
- Mix together Breadcrumb Topping.
- Heat oil and melt 1 tbsp butter in a large, deep skillet or heatproof pot on the stove over high heat.
- Add shrimp, sprinkle with pepper, then cook for 1 minute. Add garlic and cook for another minute until the shrimp has changed colour but not fully cooked.
- Transfer to bowl. Turn heat down to medium.
- Melt remaining butter. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour milk in slowly, stirring as you go. Once incorporated and lump free (use whisk if needed), stir in Seasonings, then water.
- Once the liquid is hot, add macaroni. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring regularly, until macaroni is almost cooked through, then take it off the stove.
- Add cheeses and stir through, then add shrimp. Taste for salt - tweak if needed. It should be saucy (see video) - it gets absorbed. Should still be saucy at this stage - sauce gets absorbed/thickens more in next step.
- Sprinkle over breadcrumbs, then place under the hot grill for just 2 - 3 minutes until the top is golden.
- Sprinkle with parsley if desired and served immediately!
LIFE OF DOZER
The sight of a fur ball lazily drifting across the floor is a daily occurrence around here. So I spent my morning coffee break trying to teach him to pick up his own mess.
He seriously almost fell asleep, mesmerised by the fur ball as the breeze floated it across the floor. But no attempt was made to pick it up.
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