Lobster Mac and Cheese! Two delicious comfort delicacies rolled up into one pot of creamy, cheesy, yumminess! This homemade stovetop version of Lobster Macaroni and Cheese melts in your mouth and is over-the-top delicious.
So, I’ve realized I might be a mac and cheese snob.
Recently I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. And yes, 37 things later, I’m finally checking out. 35 of which I had no intention of buying but I was starving and I was craving everything I saw.
For example, the store-made mac and cheese sitting in the prepackaged refrigerated food area. Looking all creamy with the perfect golden hue of cheddar cheesy yumminess. So into the cart that went with everything else.
I couldn’t wait to get home and devour it. It was all I could think about. There I am barely in the door opening the mac and cheese and eating it cold.
My next thoughts were different than I expected… “Umm, wait, something is wrong”… it looks deceptively delicious but it has the flavor of salted pasta – no unctuous savory cheesiness to be found. And to add to the disappointment, there was an unpleasant gritty texture.
I was disheartened. Luckily I had also purchased the chicken tenders from the prepackaged food area and they were fantastic!
The Best Lobster Mac and Cheese
I should have known better. I have tried many restaurant versions of mac and cheese and have been disappointed way too often. But what can I say? I'm all about offering second (third and fourth) chances.
But this experience inspired me to go to work and make my own creamy (sans grit), cheesy, richly flavored Lobster Mac and Cheese. And since I had already done my homework with my Cheeseburger Macaroni recipe - I knew exactly what to do.
There are several components that can make macaroni and cheese creamy flavorful and an unforgettable dining experience.
Allow me to reveal the mysteries of mac and cheese, and share the science behind making it the right way.
First, and most importantly, there’s the cheese sauce.
How to Make the Creamiest Mac and Cheese:
When it comes to macaroni and cheese the combination of cheeses is essential.
The Secret Ingredient for the Best Macaroni and Cheese is American Cheese!
You may be surprised but the secret to creamy non-gritty lobster mac and cheese is American cheese.
Yep – not kidding. My friends over at America’s Test Kitchen taught me this little trick. And now it’s the only way I make it.
To be honest: American cheese is not my favorite for most recipes... In fact, I think I only purchase it when I’m making macaroni and cheese.
While I’m not a super fan of it there’s no denying it has its place… and it’s right here in the most delicious Lobster Macaroni and Cheese!
American cheese will ensure you end up with a silky, smooth cheese sauce. Here’s why… it’s all about the additives. American cheese is full of stabilizers, and it is those stabilizers that will prevent unpleasant graininess from ruining your cheese sauce.
And to be clear – do not use sliced American cheese, the kind in the dairy/cheese area of the grocery store. That’s a different kind of cheese.
You’ll need to go to the deli counter at your grocery store and ask for an 8-ounce piece of American cheese. They usually slice it thinly for sandwiches, etc., but there’s no need to have them slice it since you’ll be chopping it into cubes.
And there you have it: American cheese is the key factor for creaminess… but not really when it comes to flavor.
So it needs to be paired with other savory strong flavored cheeses to incorporate more flavor. I recommend Cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda, smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, and Fontina for Macaroni and Cheese.
There are a few other factors for keeping this recipe creamy, like…
Avoid Pre-Shredded Cheese:
It’s best to buy your cheese in a block or wedge and shred it yourself. This is because most store-bought shredded cheese has an anti-caking cellulose agent added to keep it from sticking together in the bag. And when it's melted, that agent can cause the sauce to be grainy.
Melt the Cheese on a Lower Temperature Setting:
Another component of creating the smoothest texture for your lobster macaroni and cheese is to turn the temperature down to low before adding your cheeses. If you add cheese to super-hot liquid, the proteins can congeal, making it lumpy or stringy… and the fat will separate creating a greasy mess.
Although different cheeses have higher temperature tolerances, to play it safe just add cheese at the end of the cooking process and keep the temp low. You want it to just barely reach its melting point – but not go much beyond it.
Tip: One more tip is to not over-stir when you’re incorporating the cheese. I like to use a whisk and gently stir the mixture as it melts. Over-stirring causes the proteins to clump and could create a stringy or lumpy texture.
Let’s get down to the details of creating this lobster macaroni and cheese recipe…
How to make Mac and Cheese:
Drain the pasta once it’s cooked, *reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water.* (Tip: Using the pasta water is a great way to loosen or reheat the mac and cheese mixture without it becoming grainy.)
Return the same pot to the stovetop over medium heat and add butter. When the butter melts and foams, add the flour and whisk until darkened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
Then add the mustard powder and whisk to combine.
Now slowly whisk in the warm milk and bring it to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring consistently to prevent the flour from burning or overcooking, for about 3-4 minutes. The milk mixture should thicken as it cooks.
Reduce the heat to low and add the cheese in 3 batches, starting with American cheese. Whisk it gently to combine thoroughly...
... then add the cheddar cheese and stir.
... and next the Parmesan cheese (whisk to thoroughly combine after adding each cheese).
Now season it with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Gently fold the macaroni into the cheese sauce. (Be careful to not stir it too quickly or vigorously. You want the pasta to stay intact and not break into pieces.)
Once the pasta is combined, gently fold in the lobster. If the mixture is getting too thick you can add a little more warm milk or pasta water to get it to loosen up.
And there you have it… classic comfort food elevated with a touch of seafood decadence.
Now that you’re all educated on how to create this luscious and creamy lobster macaroni and cheese let’s talk more about the lobster.
What Lobster to Use for Lobster Mac and Cheese?
Purchase already-cooked tails or lobster meat to make the process easier. Or if you're feeling courageous, look for either fresh lobster tails or whole lobsters and cook them yourself. (I have detailed instructions on how to cook your own here).
Options for Lobster Meat:
- You can use fresh whole lobster or fresh lobster tails you cook yourself.
- Frozen or previously frozen lobster tails that you cook yourself.
- Frozen or previously frozen lobster meat that is precooked
- Or lobster meat that has been cooked but not frozen.
Where to Purchase Lobsters or Lobster Meat?
- You can find many of these options at your local grocery store in the meat department or the frozen meat area.
- If you’re a member of Sam’s Club or Costco, they also sell these options.
- And if you want freshly cooked lobsters (you will need to remove their shells) or lobster meat (which is more expensive but there’s no work) you can purchase it from one of these online companies, Luke’s Lobster, Get Maine Lobster, and Maine Lobster Now. I have purchased many lobsters from all three of these companies. They offer free shipping and other coupons regularly so be sure to search for them before making a purchase.
- You can even purchase cooked lobster meat from Amazon.
- There’s also the option I personally like best… ordering live whole lobsters and cooking them yourself. I usually order enough lobsters for dinner and then some extra to use for Lobster Mac and Cheese the next day, or freeze the meat and use it within 2 months to make this mac and cheese recipe. (See the companies mentioned above to purchase this option.)
Tip: There are two kinds of lobsters that are sold: cold water and warm water lobster. Choose the cold water lobster, it may be a bit more pricey but it has the best flavor and texture.
And if you prefer other seafood over lobster, that’s also an option!
Variations of this Macaroni and Cheese
- You can switch out lobster meat for shrimp, crawfish, crabmeat, imitation crab meat, or a combination of them. And then you can call it Seafood Mac and Cheese.
- You can also leave the lobster out of the recipe if you want to enjoy it as Homemade Mac and Cheese.
- Try mixing in some seasoned ground beef and turn it into my Cheeseburger Macaroni.
- Or spice it up with some hot sauce and chicken like The Cozy Cooks version of Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.
Yay for options!
Storage and Reheating Tips
If by some strange chance, you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 4 days. Or you can freeze them for up to 3 months.
Tip: Make sure you only reheat the amount of macaroni and cheese that you're going to use.
How to reheat Lobster Macaroni and Cheese in the Microwave?
Reheating macaroni and cheese in the microwave is a good method to use when warming small portions.
- Use a microwave-safe bowl to reheat the mac and cheese.
- Add the macaroni cheese and one tablespoon of milk per cup of mac and cheese.
- Cover the container loosely.
- Reheat the mac and cheese at 50 percent power (or medium setting)and be sure to stir the mixture every 30 seconds - 1 minute.
- When the mac and cheese has reached its desired temperature, add a touch of butter to bring it back to life.
How to Reheat Lobster Mac and Cheese on the Stovetop?
- Add a little of the reserved pasta water or whole milk (about 2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a pan and heat it over medium heat.
- Then add your lobster mac and cheese and gently separate it with a rubber spatula and fold in the milk.
- Gently stir it as it's reheating.
- As it's warming you may need a little more milk or pasta liquid to loosen it up.
How to Reheat Lobster Mac and Cheese in the Oven?
- Preheat your oven to 300°F.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta water or whole milk to the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish.
- Then add your mac and cheese and gently separate it with a rubber spatula.
- Add 1-2 more tablespoons of whole milk and gently fold it into the mac and cheese.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until it's heated through.
Can you freeze Lobster Mac and Cheese?
The answer is - yes!
- Before freezing let the lobster macaroni and cheese cool to room temperature then place it in an airtight freezer container. It will last for up to 3 months.
- When you're ready to use it, take the container out of the freezer and let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Then follow the steps above to reheat it in the microwave, oven, or on the stovetop.
With its creamy cheese sauce and succulent pieces of lobster, this dish will indeed become the highlight of any gathering or special occasion. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and prepare to treat yourself and your loved ones to a truly unforgettable dining experience!
Looking for other mac and cheese recipes? Try these:
More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes
- One-Pot Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Mac and Cheese Bites
- Buffalo Chicken Broccoli Mac and Cheese
- Spinach Artichoke Mac and Cheese
- Tuscan Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 11/2 pounds of coarsely chopped cooked lobster meat (tail or claws)
- 1 pound short pasta, such as elbow macaroni
- 4 cups whole milk, warmed (3 cups for the recipe and 1 cup extra in case needed to thin out the sauce)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 teaspoons mustard powder
- 8 ounces finely chopped American cheese (2 cups) *See Note
- 12 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (3 cups)
- 2 ounces grated Parmesan (1 cup)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, warm the milk in a separate pot.
- Drain the pasta once it's cooked, *reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water.*
- Return the same pot to the stovetop over medium heat and add the butter. When butter melts and foams, add the flour and whisk until darkened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Then add mustard powder and whisk to combine.
- Now slowly whisk in 3 cups of the warm milk and bring it to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring consistently to prevent the flour from burning or overcooking, for about 3-4 minutes. The milk mixture should thicken as it cooks.
- Reduce the heat to low and add cheese in 3 batches, starting with American cheese. Whisk it gently to combine thoroughly, then add the cheddar (then whisk) and next the Parmesan cheese (whisk to thoroughly combine after adding each cheese).
- Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ of teaspoon pepper.
- Gently fold the macaroni into the cheese sauce. (Be careful to not stir it too quickly or vigorously. You want the pasta to stay intact and not break into pieces.)
- Once the pasta is combined gently fold in the lobster. If the mixture is getting too thick you can add a little more warm milk or pasta water to get it to loosen up.
Using the reserved pasta water is a great way to loosen or reheat the mac and cheese mixture without it becoming grainy.
Amount Per Serving Calories 367Total Fat 22gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 97mgSodium 835mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 26g
This nutrition card uses an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. This estimate is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice!