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Try This French Onion Macaroni and Cheese Recipe for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Nutritionist Vanessa Rissetto shares her healthier alternative to regular mac and cheese for you to try this Thanksgiving.

Vanessa Rissetto

Registered Dietitian


  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided, plus more room temperature for brushing
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 ounces cavatappi or other short curly pasta
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Gruyère
  • 1 cup shredded sharp white cheddar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush 4 to 6 ramekins (depending on size) or small ovenproof baking dishes with butter. Alternatively, brush one large baking dish with butter.
  2. In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over medium. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally until they are golden, about 30 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, following package directions until al dente. Drain pasta.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. While whisking, slowly pour in milk until combined. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 6 minutes. Stir in fontina, 1 cup of the Gruyère, and cheddar until cheese is melted. Remove from the heat. 
  5. Stir in the pasta, caramelized onions, Dijon, thyme, and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Divide mixture among ramekins and top each ramekin with the remaining Gruyère. Bake until sauce is bubbly around the edges, about 20 minutes. 
  7. Switch oven to broil and broil until cheese is golden, about 2 minutes. Garnish with more thyme before serving.
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