No-Bake Loaded Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese Basil Pesto Sundried Tomatoes Panko Breadcrumbs Garlic

This screams flavour and texture! I love the combination of the sweet-cheesiness from the mac and cheese, the herby pesto, the acidic sun-dried tomatoes and the crispy garlic panko breadcrumbs – crazy good, mense.

So because this recipe has you adding loads of toppings, each with its own flavour and texture, it’s a good thing that the mac and cheese are simple yet cheesy and saucy, so the balance of flavours and textures hits the tastebuds just right! This is a vegetarian dish but naturally, you should add a protein of your choice if you’re in the mood.

No Bake Loaded Mac & Cheese with Basil Pesto, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Chili oil and a Garlic-Panko Breadcrumb Topping

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 cups full cream milk, warmed
  • 5 cups white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 500g Conchiglie pasta
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, separated
  • 3 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp chili flakes
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Store bought basil pesto
  • Store bought sundried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Once melted add in the flour and salt. Using a whisk stir consistently for about 3mins or until the mixture turns golden in color.
  2. Gradually add the warm milk in batches to the flour mixture and stir well ensuring no clumps form. After about 8 mins the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the grated cheese and stir. You may add additional pepper to the cheese sauce if you’d like. Set the sauce aside.
  4. Bring salted water to a rolling boil and add the pasta. I would highly recommend you boiling the pasta for not too long, it should be al dente ensuring a firmer bite.
  5. Once the pasta is ready you may add it straight into the cheese sauce and stir gently. Set aside.
  6. Finely chop the green chilies and add to a small heat-proof bowl with the chili flakes. In a medium sauce on medium-high heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil and bring to the heat. Do not allow the olive oil to to reach it’s smoking point. Pour the hot oil over the chilies and set aside.
  7. In the same medium saucepan, add the remainder of the olive oil and thinly sliced garlic. Sauté the garlic until golden in color. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toasted until darker in color. Do not let the garlic burn as this will become bitter. Set aside and prepare to assemble.
  8. Add your mac & cheese to each serving dish topped with dollops of your store bought pesto, add pieces of the sundried tomatoes on top of the basil and drizzle of a tsp or so of the chili oil. Sprinkle of the crispy garlic-panko breadcrumbs and finish off with parmesan cheese if you whish. Enjoy!!

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