Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese

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Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese-this stovetop mac and cheese is super creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor! It is easy to make but tastes gourmet!

Pesto Mac and Cheese

Pesto Mac and Cheese

My boys LOVE mac and cheese. Our baked mac and cheese recipe is one of their very favorite meals. You can’t go wrong with a classic, but sometimes I like to mix things up and create twists on classic recipes. When I was writing our cookbook, I was playing around with mac and cheese recipes and came up with the BEST mac and cheese recipe, Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese.

This easy “gourmet” version of the classic is my personal favorite, and yet it takes just as little time as the boxed kind to prepare. It gets its creaminess from Havarti cheese (a soft cow’s milk cheese that is super melty and gooey), plus a boost from fresh spinach basil pesto. At first the boys were wary because their mac wasn’t orange, but after one bite they were yelling for more. Now it’s a family favorite that we all get excited for.

Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook

This mac and cheese recipe is in the Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook, but I am sharing it with you today because it is SO good and I want you to make it ASAP. But, GOOD NEWS, our cookbook comes out SEPTEMBER 3rd, which is right around the corner and SOON you can make ALL the delicious things!

Our cookbook includes 115 everyday recipes…everything from breakfast, to dessert, to easy entertaining. There is a vegetarian main dish chapter and a meat main dish chapter. There are healthy recipes and decadent recipes, something for everyone! The recipes are easy, approachable, fun, family friendly, and super duper delicious. We tested these recipes and retested these recipes to make sure they were the very best! You will also see some blog favorites in the book because I wanted all of our favorite recipes in the same place BUT there are 100 NEW recipes in the book that have never been seen on the blog! And let me tell you, there are some GOOD ones. So many new favorites that you are going to love and make over and over again!

The book is hard cover, 320 pages long, and filled with beautiful food and lifestyle photos by Colin Price. Plus, there are TONS of tips, stories, and extras! I put my heart and soul into this book and I hope you love it!

You can order a copy of Two Peas & Their Pod Cookbook TODAY to make sure it arrives on September 3rd. Find all of the details HERE! And check out our Book Tour dates and locations, I look forward to meeting you all! Thank you SO much for your support!

Pesto Mac and Cheese Tips

Now, back to the pesto mac and cheese. Here are a few tips!

  • This is a stovetop mac and cheese, making it the perfect EASY weeknight dinner. I like to use my spinach basil pesto, you will never taste the spinach, I promise, it’s our favorite…even the boys love it. I always keep some in the freezer. You can use your favorite store bought basil pesto too!
  • Havarti cheese makes the mac and cheese SUPER creamy! It is magic cheese for mac and cheese, trust me! You can find Havarti at most grocery stores. If you can’t find it, you can use mozzarella cheese.
  • If you want to mix things up you can add cooked chicken, broccoli, or frozen peas.
  • And a fun variation is to turn the mac and cheese into a crunchy-topped baked casserole: Just pour the finished mac and cheese into a baking dish, sprinkle panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top, and broil for 3 minutes, until the bread crumbs are golden brown.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes:

Pesto Mac and Cheese Recipe
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Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese

Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese-this stovetop mac and cheese is super creamy, cheesy, and full of flavor! It is easy to make but tastes gourmet! 
4.50 from 4 votes


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk at room temperature
  • 2 cups shredded Havarti or mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tablespoons Spinach-Basil Pesto or store bought basil pesto


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook just until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour to create a paste. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and continue whisking until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheese and continue stirring until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Fold in the pesto.
  • Add the pasta, stirring to combine, and cook just until the pasta is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.


Calories: 407kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 180mg, Potassium: 240mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 590IU, Calcium: 175mg, Iron: 1mg
Keywords easy

Have you tried this recipe?

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. My wife has made this twice in the first 8 days you posted this. BRAVO! She’s an incredible cook, so we’re spoiled with wonderful meals, but this really stood out, so I just had to come comment while at the dinner table. Lol She says she’s buying your cookbook the day it comes out and she never buys cookbooks. Keep up the terrific work!

  2. 3 stars
    I’m sorry, but this Pesto Mac & Cheese missed its mark with me. Easy recipe to make, I loved the idea of adding pesto, and although havarti cheese may be a creamy cheese, I found it to be very bland. If it wasn’t for the pesto, I probably wouldn’t have given it any stars at all. I did end up baking in the oven with chicken added in and panko bread crumbs on top, but I just wasn’t a fan!

    1. 5 stars
      This is my go-to easy weeknight dinner recipe! I keep the ingredients on hand (I use mozzarella cheese) so whenever I’m not in the mood to make an intense dinner recipe I can make this one and have a delicious and easy comfort food for dinner.

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this tonight with Banza cavatappi made from chickpeas. It was super flavorful with the pesto. I used your recipe with pistachios. This is the first time I’ve tried havarti in a recipe and it was creamy, buttery deliciousness just as you said. I love your great creations. I am not a Mac and cheese fan, but I loved this!