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Mac and Cheese Cupcakes

A delicious recipe for Mac and Cheese Cupcakes - we make these every year for our summer party.  This is a recipe that kids and adults both love!

I think our six-year-old daughter may have a future as an event planner when she grows up!  Last year – for months and completely on her own – Emma talked about having a great big play date at our house.  She made a list of all of her friends who would be invited, wrote out invitations, made signs to decorate the house, and planned the activities.

This party planning went on for months until Jack and I looked at each other and said. “Why not actually do this?!” So we picked a date in early June and held “Emma’s Big Play Date” – a really fun outdoor party in our backyard for a bunch of Emma’s classmates, friends and their parents!

When Jack and I started planning the menu, we wanted to serve foods that would meet two criteria.  First – whatever we served had to appeal to both kids and grownups.  Second – we wanted to serve easy-to-eat foods since everyone would be mingling about in our back yard and there’s nothing worse than having to juggle a plateful of food, a drink and silverware.  These Mac and Cheese Cupcakes fit the bill perfectly!

A delicious recipe for Mac and Cheese Cupcakes - we make these every year for our summer party.  This is a recipe that kids and adults both love!

These mac and cheese cupcakes were so good, and we got so many compliments on them last year, that when it came time to plan the “2nd Annual” Emma’s Big Play Date this year – we knew that they had to be on the menu again!

These mac and cheese cupcakes have a delicious buttery, Ritz cracker and cheddar cheese crust on the bottom.  Then that crust gets topped with a mac and cheese mixture of elbow pasta, cheddar cheese, Boursin cheese (which adds a wonderful savory flavor!), sour cream, milk and seasonings. They’re baked until lightly golden brown on the outside, but still soft and creamy on the inside.

My goodness – these mac and cheese cupcakes are cheesy, buttery, creamy, savory perfection in a muffin cup! And yes – they will definitely be on the menu for our “3rd Annual” Emma’s Big Play Date next summer!

Mac and Cheese Cupcakes
Serves: 24 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
This recipe was adapted from Annie’s Eats, who adapted it from The Curvy Carrot (Shanon from The Curvy Carrot had the brilliant idea to add the Boursin cheese to this recipe!), who adapted it from the original recipe by The Deen Brothers. (Phew – I think I’ve given everyone their proper credit!) Although the original recipes don’t include this step, we strongly recommend baking these in a muffin tin with paper liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  • 12 ounces, uncooked elbow pasta (equals 6 cups once cooked)
  • 3 cups Ritz cracker crumbs (about 2½ sleeves)
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (one stick)
  • 1 5.2-ounce package Boursin garlic herb cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the elbow pasta according to package direction to slightly less than al dente. Drain the pasta well.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine the Ritz cracker crumbs, ¾ cup of the shredded cheese and the melted butter. Mix until fully combined.
  4. Line two standard size muffin tins with paper liners and spray each liner with non-stick cooking spray as well as over spray onto top of pan. Divide the cracker mixture into each muffin liner evenly between 24 cups. Using the flat bottom of a small glass, press the cracker mixture firmly into the bottom of the liners.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add the drained pasta, the remaining shredded cheddar cheese, Boursin cheese and cold butter.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, and sour cream. Whisk to combine.
  7. Pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the pasta mixture. Add the salt and red pepper flakes and gently stir all of the ingredients together to combine – being careful not to break up the pasta.
  8. Divide the pasta mixture between each muffin liner placing on top of the cracker mixer.
  9. Bake until light golden brown – about 25-30 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly, then remove from the pan and serve warm.

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  1. Delma J. Francis :

    This one knocks it out of the park, guys. I wish I had had this idea when Whitney was Emma’s age. She has always loved my baked mac and cheese. This would have been great for birthday parties.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! Abby was just asking me if I could make these (I think she may be done with the boxed mac & cheese), and I was hoping you would post the recipe.

    • You’re very welcome! These were very popular…that’s for sure! Hope to see you guys this summer!

  3. Hello- I love the idea of these cup cakes – and want to make them for my son’s summer picnic at school. I was wondering if I could leave out the eggs or substitute something else for them. I didn’t know eggs were used in Mac-n-cheese. What is the purpose of adding the egg? Does it serve as a binder?

    • Hi Lala – You’re exactly right – the eggs serve as a binder so that they hold together when you take off the cupcake liner. You could try an egg substitute – although we haven’t tried that ourselves so can’t guarantee the results. Let us know how they come out! Thanks for visiting our site!

      • Martha- these came out great when I made them this summer for the school picnic. I want to make them for my son’s birthday too. I would like to make the cupcake (all except for baking) ahead of time, freeze them and then thaw them out and bake them right before the event. I am trying to do as much cooking prior to the day of the party to save time and keep from losing my mind. Do you have any idea if I would be able to do this? Have you tried making these ahead of time?
        Any helpful advice is appreciated!!

        • We haven’t tried freezing these before baking them – but we have made the mixture the day before and then baked them off after bringing the mixture back up to room temperature. If you do plan to freeze them, I’d recommend testing a small batch to make sure that it comes out the way you want for your party – sometimes freezing pasta will result in the noodles breaking down a bit so it might not come out as well as freshly made. Keep us posted on how it comes out for you!

  4. They look fantastic. At first I thought it was just mac cheese in a paper liner. The cheesy crust base sounds delicious.
    Linda recently posted…Microwave Cinnamon Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

  5. Can this be prepared ahead of time and baked the nest day?

    • Yes Nancy! We have done this ourselves – making the bottom crumb mixture and the pasta and cheese mixture the day ahead. But we’d recommend storing them separately and then assembling it right before you bake them. If the mixture is cold you will also need to adjust the baking time – or let the pasta come up to room temp before baking. Hope that helps!

  6. So fun! My 5 year old daughter helped me make them. I couldn’t find the Bourson brand cheese so we used Laughing Cow. It didn’t melt very well when mixed with the pasta and butter and cheddar cheese. Maybe next time I’ll mix it separate and it will blend better.

    I’m curious. When I used a glass to push down on the Ritz cracker mixture it got stuck to the glass. I sprayed nonstick spray on the glass and it didn’t help. I tried a plastic cup with and with the spray as well and it stuck. What did you use to crunch it down?

    • Hi Staci – We used a kid’s plastic cup that we bought at IKEA and didn’t have an issue with it sticking. I’m not sure why yours stuck so much! And – the Laughing Cow cheese is a very different type of cheese than the Boursin…Boursin is much softer and it will completely melt in the mixture. Definitely give that a try the next time if you can (it’s usually in the gourmet cheese section near the deli at our supermarket) – it also adds a really great flavor! Thanks for writing to us today!

  7. Hi, my daughter and I made these and we measured out the pasta by weight and there was a lot of extra. Were we supposed to measure the pasta by weight or by volume (cups)?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Hi Y.K. – The pasta should have been measured by weight. But – we will be making this recipe again ourselves this week to make sure there are no issues with the recipe as it was written. We will let you know if any updates to the recipe are made. Thanks for writing to us!

      • Hi Y.K., this is Jack. Normally Martha reviews and responds to comments but when she brought this to my attention, I had to see if I made a mistake in the recipe calculations. We take this all very seriously and review every comment. I made the recipe over and you are correct. Somewhere I made a math mistake and had the ingredient proportions wrong – and too much pasta for the number of servings listed. I just updated the recipe and also found a spelling mistake and fixed that as well. We very much appreciate you taking the time to write to us and apologize for the recipe miscalculation.

  8. Thanks for posting this family friendly recipe! I see in the photo that there are 2 muffin liners. Should you always double the muffin liners while baking, or was the 2nd outer muffin liner placed after baking! Thank you!

    • Hi Catherine! We added the 2nd liner for serving and for the photos – thought it looked a little nicer! But for baking – just one liner is all you need. Sorry for the confusion!

  9. michael breadesky :

    Why not make a shell of panko breadcrumbs, butter or maybe bacon fat/bacon bits instead of the cupcake liners.

    • Hi Michael – the liners are optional and there is a crumb bottom on the cupcakes but we found that sometimes they would stick to the pan. So to be sure that our readers had no issues we wrote the recipe using the liners. Hope that helps!

  10. Great recipe!! Everyone loved them!!!