This low fat mac and cheese is ultra creamy and cheesy but lighter than traditional mac and cheese recipes. It's quick, easy, delicious, and a favorite comfort food. Serve it as a side dish or as a meatless main. Gluten-free adaptations available!
This recipe was originally published on February 9, 2022. It was updated with new recipe information on September 28, 2023.
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Mac and cheese- otherwise known as comfort in a bowl! What can I say about it that hasn't already been said? That it's an American classic for a reason? That almost everyone of all ages likes it? That it will warm you up and satisfy you in a way only it can?
The list of things we love about this dish is long, but thankfully the ingredient list and instructions are not! With only a handful of easy-to-find ingredients and a simple, yet effective recipe, this is the BEST Greek yogurt mac and cheese recipe!
Oh, and did we even talk about the lightened-up profile of this recipe? With just minimal butter, Greek yogurt, and 2% milk, this recipe is smooth and creamy. By using sharp cheddar cheese, we can use less cheese and still have all the flavor.
The kind of flavor that may have you waxing on about your love for mac and cheese as well... or, at the very least adding it to your regular dinner rotation. Enjoy, friends!
Let's chat healthier macaroni and cheese!
- Healthier Comfort Food: Just because you want to eat nutritious foods doesn't mean that mac and cheese is out of the question! Greek yogurt is our (not so) secret weapon, making this dish high protein and rich in calcium without loading on the butter.
- Rich and Creamy: Thanks to the roux, a mixture of butter and flour cooked over low heat, and the addition of Greek yogurt, this creamy mac and cheese is decidedly dreamy!
- Quick: Though this recipe isn't as quick as box mac and cheese it's pretty dang close! Homemade mac and cheese is on the table in less than 20 minutes while being so much tastier than the storebought box varieties!
- Family-Friendly: Kids of all ages 🙋🏼♀️ love mac and cheese. Delight kids with the cheesy flavor; parents will be happy to know that it's high quality and nutritious!
- Macaroni: Classic elbow macaroni is our favorite to create that traditional mac and cheese vibe.
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese: Adds cheesy comfort and creaminess to the healthy Greek yogurt mac and cheese. Sharp cheddar adds a more intense cheesy flavor, but mild cheddar also works.
- Greek Yogurt: Choose plain Greek yogurt as any extra sweeteners or flavors will alter the flavor of the mac and cheese. Opt for whole milk or 2% yogurt for superior creaminess and rich flavor.
- Milk: Whole milk will have the best flavor but skim milk or 1% or 2% can work for a lower calorie and fat option.
- All-Purpose Flour: Cooks with the butter to create a roux, thickening the cheese sauce and making it ultra smooth.
- Unsalted Butter: Is melted and whisked with the flour to create the roux. Also contributes fantastic buttery and notes.
- Salt: Enhances all of the flavors in the dish.
- Pasta: Make this creamy Greek yogurt macaroni and cheese with any other favorite small dry pasta shapes. Penne, shells, wagon wheels, and orecchiette are all great picks.
- Cheese: Experiment with different cheeses to make this recipe your own. Monterrey jack, white cheddar, asiago, parmesan, Mexican shredded cheese blend, and Italian shredded cheese blend would all be delicious.
- Greek Yogurt: You can substitute full-fat sour cream or plain skyr (Icelandic yogurt) for Greek yogurt.
How to Make Greek Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese
Step 1: Boil the pasta in heavily salted pasta water in a medium saucepan, according to the package directions, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain.
Step 2: Make the Greek yogurt cheese sauce. Return the empty pan to medium-low to medium heat. Melt butter in the pan.
Step 3: Whisk the flour into the melted butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, whisking continually, or until the flour is golden brown and smells nutty.
Step 4: Whisk the milk into the toasted flour. Cook for 2-4 minutes, whisking as it cooks, or until the sauce has thickened and no chunks of flour remain.
Step 5: Reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, and salt until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.
Step 6: Gently stir the cooked pasta into the cheese sauce until covered. Serve hot!
- Salt the macaroni water adequately. Properly salted water makes the world of a difference in the mac and cheese flavor. Add 2-3 teaspoons of salt for every 2 quarts of water.
- Don't rinse the macaroni. There is no need to rinse the macaroni after draining it. Just let it rest in the colander until mixing it into the Greek yogurt cheese sauce.
- Doubling the recipe. You can very easily double this recipe. Just multiply all the ingredients by two and follow the recipe as directed.
- Roux tips. When making the roux, don't step away from the stovetop, whisk it constantly, and pour the milk into the flour mixture as soon as it starts to smell nutty and turn a light golden brown.
- Optional: make it gluten-free. To make a gluten-free version of this recipe, substitute gluten-free pasta for macaroni and 1-to-1 gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour. Some of our favorite gluten-free pasta options are chickpea pasta and brown rice pasta.
- Mix-ins. What's macaroni and cheese without an occasional mix-in? This recipe is incredible with any of your favorite oomph-boosters, like: green peas, chicken sausage, hot dogs, tuna, broccoli, bacon, pancetta, green chiles, lobster, and more!
- Refrigeration: Leftovers keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 4-5 days. See my notes above for how to freeze them.
- Freezing: The mac and cheese can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 8 hours to overnight before reheating.
- Reheating: Warm the mac and cheese in the microwave on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through.
This recipe is naturally vegetarian and processed sugar-free. To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour and a gluten-free pasta (like brown rice pasta or Banza) for the traditional pasta.
The best way to thicken a homemade mac and cheese sauce is by making a roux. If making a box of mac and cheese, you can thicken the sauce by adding a tablespoon or two of plain Greek yogurt.
Though you can add Greek yogurt to your mac and cheese, it cannot replace the milk. Used on its own, the sauce would be too thick. So, still use the amount of directed milk so the sauce is spreadable and smooth, and then stir in the Greek yogurt with the cheese.
No, you cannot use Greek yogurt instead of butter in mac and cheese. The roux also needs the butter to toast up the flour and bind the sauce together, so it cannot be omitted from the recipe.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
More Pasta Recipes
- Healthy Mac and Cheese
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- No Boil Pasta Bake with Turkey
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Peas
If you made and liked this recipe, don't forget to rate the recipe and let me know how it went for you in the comments! It always makes my day to hear from you!