Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese

If you love Macaroni and Cheese and are looking for a way to dress it up, this Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese will do the trick! Using sharp and flavorful Irish Cheddar, along with some corned beef and cabbage, this is the perfect dish to serve on St. Patrick's Day or any day of the year!

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Homemade Mac and Cheese

There are serious advantages to making homemade mac and cheese, the most important being that you can add whatever ingredients you like to suit your tastes, your mood or even a holiday. This Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese is perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, but I bet once you taste it, you’ll want it again and again. 

Ingredients on a wooden cutting board - corned beef, cheese, cabbage and pasta.

St. Patrick’s Day Mac and Cheese

Of course, the quintessential St. Patrick’s Day meal is corned beef and cabbage and both of these ingredients are incorporated into this Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese. While this recipe is a perfect way to use up leftovers from a St. Patty’s Day dinner, you don’t have to wait to have leftovers in order to make it. Simply go to the deli counter and ask them to slice you a few ½-inch thick pieces of corned beef. Then you can cube them into bite-sized pieces at home. 

Cheese sauce in a saute pan.

Wait… there’s cabbage in my cheese sauce!

I know you might think this is weird (and I’ll admit I did too when I first thought about it), but incorporating the cabbage right into your cheese sauce is actually delicious AND saves you from using more than one pan. The sautéed cabbage sweetens the sharp Irish Cheddar sauce ever so nicely and I think it looks pretty too. I wouldn’t bet the bank that it will fool kids into eating a vegetable in their mac and cheese, but you never know…

Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese in a green casserole dish with a bowl of breadcrumbs next to it.

Make it Ahead

You can prep this meal ahead of time, but I would try to resist mixing it all together until you are ready to bake it. Cook the pasta and set it aside. Make the cheese sauce and set it aside. Then, when you’re ready to bake, mix everything together, top it with the breadcrumbs and send it to the oven. If you mix it all together well ahead of time, the pasta will start to absorb the sauce and the result will be thicker than intended. On the other hand, you might like a thick, sturdy mac and cheese in which case, mix everything together ahead of time, but bring it to room temperature before popping it into the oven.

Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese in a green casserole dish with a spoon and towel next to it.

Breadcrumb Topping

I always like a little crunch to my mac and cheese and the cheesy breadcrumb topping not only gives you texture, but a ton of flavor and color too. It finishes it off so nicely.

A spoon lifting up a portion of mac and cheese above a casserole dish.

What to Serve with Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese

I certainly could dig into a bowl of this mac and cheese without concern for anything else, but if you’d like to serve something with this decadent dish, try a nice crisp green salad with a simple vinaigrette. If you’re really into the St. Patrick’s Day mood, you could also serve this very green spring salad that will drive home the color choice for the day. 

A plate of Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese on a pink napkin with a green casserole dish next to it.

How to Store Leftovers

I might choose to store these leftovers right next to my bed for that perfect midnight snack (kidding), but most people should put this into the refrigerator and eat within 2 to 3 days. If you want to freeze this mac and cheese, put it a container with as little air as possible and defrost it on the counter before re-heating it in the microwave or in the oven at 350ºF for about 20 minutes. 

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Irish Cheddar Mac and Cheese

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 45 m
  • Total Time: 1 h
  • Servings:


  • 12 ounces cavatappi or elbow pasta
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter divided
  • 4 cups cabbage diced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried mustard
  • 3 cups whole milk room temperature
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 cups grated Irish aged Cheddar cheese divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups diced corned beef about ¾ pound
  • 1 cup coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 2 scallions chopped


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until it is al dente, according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and set it aside (no need to rinse).
  3. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan. Add the cabbage and sauté for 2 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the flour and mustard powder and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the room temperature milk. Stirring regularly, bring the sauce to a boil. Once it has boiled and thickened, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Monterey Jack cheese and 3 cups of the Irish Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta and the cheese sauce. Stir in the diced corned beef and transfer everything to a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole or baking dish.
  5. Combine the remaining cup of Irish cheddar cheese, the melted butter and the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and sprinkle the mixture on top of the pasta. Transfer the casserole dish to the oven and bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes.
  6. Top with chopped scallions and serve hot.
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Comments (4)Post a Reply

  1. This recipe sounds amazing. I try not to eat Mac ‘n cheese cuz it is not the most healthy thing, but adding cabbage and corned beef gives me an excuse!!!! I will definitely try this one. I buy the Kerry Gold Irish cheese anyway so I will already have that item. Take care.

  2. I only make Mac and cheese in my 4at Cook’s Essential Pressure Cooker you sold me years ago. Should I just follow your pressure cooker recipe? I’m thinking of adding the cabbage with the dry macaroni stage but am concerned that 6 minutes maybe too long. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hi Cindy,
      I do think 6 minutes in the pressure cooker will be too long for the cabbage, especially since it is diced. I would make your mac and cheese the way you are comfortable making it and then stir in some sautéed cabbage (just 2 to 4 minutes in a skillet with some butter, until it is tender) and the corned beef. Good luck and enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    We are very particular about using a good corn beef every March 17th. Leftovers were always great. This recipe took leftover corned beef to us asking why we didn’t we just make this dish instead of corned beef and cabbage. The creaminess was divine. Loved how the sauce and noodles blended so well with the beef and cabbage. We love colcannon but this dish married everything beyond compare. Nothing bad about a good corned beef meal but this casserole made a flavor profile better than the best corned beef dinner. . I certainly plan on making this our St Patty’s Day meal every year. Highly recommend this beyond comfort dish.

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