Bacon Swiss Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe: Better-For-You Bacon Swiss Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is classic comfort food. This recipe has a few healthy modifications so that you aren't mentally doing jumping jacks for every bite you take.

With lower-fat ingredients, whole wheat pasta, and turkey bacon, this bacon mac and cheese has a healthy twist. It's tasty enough to be a side dish, but wholesome enough to be a dinner-time main attraction.

Lightening The Way

This better-for-you mac n' cheese has some nutrition improvements, but doesn't compromise on taste. Here's how we did it:

Turkey bacon To make our mac and cheese a little different and a lot better, the first thing we did was add turkey bacon because we know that bacon makes just about everything better.

baking soda, light brown sugar, salt, large egg, bacon, cinnamon and 6 more
brown sugar, whole wheat pastry flour, powdered sugar, buttermilk and 12 more
cocoa nibs, water, sliced bacon, light corn syrup, hazelnuts and 4 more

However, we also know that bacon's not always the healthiest ingredient, so we used turkey bacon to lighten up this bacon mac and cheese recipe, but you're welcome to use regular pork bacon or vegetarian bacon instead.

Whole wheat noodles The second modification we made was trading regular macaroni for whole wheat noodles to add a bit more nutrition to the mac 'n' cheese. Whole wheat pasta can be polarizing but under a blanket of cheese and bacon, you don't really notice this healthy alternative.

sea salt, water, large eggs, whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and 1 more
pepper, lemon, walnuts, lemon zest, garlic, baby arugula, red chili flakes and 4 more
salt, honey, Smucker’s® Natural Red Raspberry Fruit Spread, old-fashioned rolled oats and 5 more

Swiss cheese The third adjustment was with cheese. The star cheese in this recipe is low-fat Swiss cheese, but it's supported by parmesan cheese. There's a little less fat and fewer calories in the Swiss cheese than the more commonly used American or cheddar cheese. And a little parmesan adds a lot of flavor.

salt, ghee, shredded swiss cheese, minced garlic, ghee, shredded swiss cheese and 6 more
scallions, unsalted butter, milk, shredded swiss cheese, eggs and 3 more

Buttermilk The last amendment made was with the milk. Many recipes call for whole milk for a rich cheese sauce, but we opted for buttermilk which is more flavorful and lower in fat and calories.

butter, sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, vanilla, buttermilk
baking soda, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, semi-sweet chocolate morsels and 12 more
all purpose flour, buttermilk, honey, baking powder, unsalted butter and 1 more

Cooking Clarifications

Homemade macaroni and cheese is a bit more involved than the stuff you get in the blue box, so if this is your first time making it from scratch, here are a few clarifications:

Boiling noodles Pay attention to the package directions for the pasta. Different pastas have different cook times, and with whole wheat pasta, it's especially important to stick to the cook time, because it overcooks to mush easily.

No roux, no problem Most homemade cheese sauces start with a roux. A roux is butter cooked with flour that's then used to thicken the sauce. This recipe skips that — the result is no butter and a streamlined cooking process.

No second cooking A typical mac and cheese recipe finishes with oven-baking. This stovetop-only version cuts down on cook time and goes straight to the table instead.

Cubed cheese This recipe calls for the Swiss cheese to be cut into cubes, but you can use pre-shredded cheese if you want to cut down on your total time in the kitchen.

Get Cooking

Now that you have the basics down, check out the full recipe right here.