Three Cheese Crab Mac and Cheese

We’ve been keeping imitation crab on hand for an easy protein to throw in while we’re cooking and I couldn’t pass up the chance to add it to this three cheese crab mac and cheese. I snagged the 12 days of Cheesmas box from Cheese Bros this Christmas, and this recipe is a beautiful combination of 3 of their cheeses in a rich, creamy, perfect mac and cheese.

How to Use Cheese in Mac and Cheese

When you take a bite of cheese, I want you to pay attention to how long the cheese takes to hit you. Sometimes it’s immediate, but fades away as you’re eating it. This is what I call an “opener cheese” it’s the first flavor that hits you when you eat mac and cheese. It welcomes you to the bowl and ensures you’re immediately enjoying cheesiness.

Other cheeses take a few seconds for the flavor to develop, but it carries throughout the end of the bite. These are what I call “closer cheeses”. They finish out the bite and ensure the cheesy flavor carries throughout the entire time you’re eating delicious mac and cheese.

Well-balanced mac and cheese recipes make use of both opener and closer cheeses.

Cheese Bro’s Fratello Cheese

Fratello is a creamy white cheese that tastes like a blend between Parmesan and Asiago cheeses. It’s a smooth, mellow closer that would be amazing in an Alfredo.

Cheese Bro’s Pretty Boy Cheddar

The Pretty Boy cheddar from Cheese Brothers is a bright orange cheddar that works beautifully as an opener cheese.

Cheese Bro’s 8 Year Cheddar

Cheese Brothers’ 8 year Cheddar is a white, crumbly cheddar that is an opener cheese, but it doesn’t fade before the bite is complete, making it a great cheese to use as both an opener and closer cheese.

Cream Cheese

While most cheeses contribute cheesy flavor to mac and cheese, cream cheese is best added for its texture benefits. Cream cheese will impart a really light, creamy flavor. But it adds a ton of richness to mac and cheese that makes it feel more indulgent.

Shell Pasta in Three Cheese Crab Mac and Cheese

The pasta you use in your mac and cheese plays a vital role in the quality of your mac and cheese. If your noodle shape is too large, you run the risk of your dish being cumbersome and difficult to eat. On the other hand, if your pasta is too small you lose valuable texture benefits. The perfect mac and cheese noodle sits right between too large and too small.

In this dish I used shell pasta. This is one of the more classic mac and cheese shapes, and its shape is perfectly suited to holding onto sauce. This guarantees every bite is full of cheesy goodness.

Imitation Crab

Imitation crab is easy to keep on hand, full of flavor, and super affordable, but if putting it in your mac and cheese weirds you out, this recipe could easily use a can of lump crab meat as well.

Unicorn Salt

Salt helps enhance the flavor of your dish, and brings out the beauty of your other ingredients. One of my favorite salts to use is the Unicorn Salt from Beautiful Briny Sea. It’s packed with sea salt, smoked paprika, garlic, rosemary, and celery seed. It packs a ton of flavor that compliments this three cheese crab mac and cheese beautifully.

Reheating Three Cheese Crab Mac and Cheese

Cheesy pasta is notoriously difficult to reheat. However, I’ve seen that roux based sauces like in this recipe reheat beautifully. A minute or two in the microwave and you’ll have perfectly delicious mac and cheese. In fact, letting the ingredients mingle in the fridge overnight will give you even better mac and cheese than the day you made it.

Add a Fork

This three cheese crab mac and cheese is creamy, rich, and perfectly decadent. It comes together quickly and is perfect for date night or any time you want to feel fancy.

Three Cheese Crab Mac and Cheese

A rich, creamy mac and cheese with imitation crab for the perfect seafood component
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 6 Servings


  • 1 Cup Fratello Grated
  • 1/2 Cup Pretty boy cheddar grated
  • 1/2 Cup 8 year cheddar Grated
  • 1 Oz Cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • Unicorn Salt To taste
  • Cajun seasoning

Imitation crab

  • 8 Oz Imitation crab
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic minced


  • Melt the butter over medium heat.
  • Sauté garlic in melted butter for one minute.
  • Incorporate crab and heat until desired tenderness is reached.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions

Prepare the Sauce

  • Pre heat your milk in the microwave for 45 seconds – just enough to take the chill out of it.
  • Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat and let it heat until it becomes foamy.
  • Mix in flour. Cook it for a minute while stirring constantly
  • Slowly add warmed milk to the butter mixture 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk it continually until combined.
  • Once all of the milk is added, cook for a few minutes while whisking it. Do not let it boil. You will feel the sauce start to thicken. It’s ready for cheese when you rub a small amount between your fingers and it feels silky.
  • Remove from heat and stir in your cheese until it’s melted and mixed into the sauce.
  • Once the cheese is incorporated, use a cooked noodle to taste your sauce. If it doesn’t taste cheesy enough try adding a little more salt to bring out the flavor.
  • Combine the pasta, sauce, and crab mixture
  • Serve topped with Cajun seasoning and unicorn salt.
Keyword 8 year cheddar, cream cheese, fratello, imitation crab, pretty boy cheddar