Buttermilk Ranch Mac & Cheese

by Erin

Is there such a thing and too much mac and cheese? Can one tire of eating such a dish, no matter the additions and cheese variations? I am certain that I cannot. But can you really blame me? Just take a look at these recipes with chicken and veggies, spice, Mexican flair, and even fried leftovers. Evil? Maybe, but I am a fat kid on the inside after all (don’t let appearances confuse you) and I love my cheese and carbs!

It comes as no surprise that I would also like some Ranch thrown into the mix, quite literally. And figured it’d be a great pair with the chicken and veggie nuggets, which I dipped in more Ranch. I am sensing a trend and it may be dangerous.

Buttermilk and Ranch and Cheddar – oh my!

(…speaking of the Wizard of Oz, there have been numerous crushing tornadoes in this part of the country the past two months. Videos and images of the aftermath are only glimpses of the destruction. Somehow Memphis has escaped the worst of it so far but there was still the Mississippi River flooding to deal with.)


8 oz whole wheat pasta shells

8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup buttermilk

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp Panko bread crumbs

1 Tbsp dry ranch dressing mix

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, bring three quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to season. Cook macaroni until al dente. Remove from heat and drain.
  3. While the macaroni is cooking, heat the butter in a pan over medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour until well combined. Reduce heat and gently cook, whisking constantly, until the  mixture just begins to darken. Mix in 6 oz of the shredded cheese, the buttermilk, and the dry ranch dressing mix. Stir until the cheese is mostly melted and then turn off the heat. At this point the cheese should be completely melted and the ranch dressing should have flavored the sauce. Stir in the cooked pasta. Mix well to combine and season with salt and pepper to your tastes.
  4. Pour into a large casserole dish and top with the remainder of the cheese and the breadcrumbs. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove foil to brown the top. You may want to move the dish closer to your broiler if you want, but watch it closely as the breadcrumbs can very easily burn. Allow to cool for a few minutes before devouring.

Source: Adapted slightly from Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

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Natalie May 25, 2011 - 11:43 am

I need to try this. My last mac and cheese didn’t work out so well. I’m going to have to try this out.

kitchenarian May 25, 2011 - 10:44 am

I’ve never made mac n cheese with buttermilk before, but I use it all the time to bake with. And as far as the ranch dressing goes, it is my favorite thing to dip french fries in. I am thinking my next mac n cheese will have a bit of Ranch influence.

spiffycookie May 25, 2011 - 10:45 am

You won’t be disappointed!


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