I figured it was time to eat some bacon. I mean it’s been a whole week.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

And what better way to eat it than with lots of cheese and Brussels sprouts?

My thoughts exactly.

I know. The Brussels thing is still weird but I am hooked. We will get over it eventually. 

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

But wait, before we get to all that, today is my dad’s birthday! It’s a big birthday too. This has been THEE year of the big birthdays. Just not mine. It’s always been fun to have our birthdays so close together, and that just means one big weekend of celebration coming on up.

p.s. he probably wouldn’t touch this trashed up mac and cheese with a ten foot pool, but I will continue to try.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

It’s actually kind of hilariously appropriate that I’m sharing this skillet o’ love today given that last night I ate some of the best Brussels sprouts of my life.  They were fried, no less.  Shocking? Nah.

I’m so gonna attempt a redo. In the meantime… we have this.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

It’s a little bit of a cop out recipe, given that it’s essentially a copy of my autumn mac and cheese from three years ago. THREE years ago? What the heck. Where is this time going. I don’t understand.  I swear I just made that yesterday.

I’m just going to stare at myself in the mirror today and shout STOP GROWING! and hope that it helps.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

This version is also made in my trusty cast iron skillet, mostly because I adore this skillet mac and four cheese recipe so incredibly much. And it’s easy. And it’s different. And it’s cute!

Things just taste better when they come out a of skillet. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Oh, um, also? Making this in a giant skillet gives more surface area for crunchy topping. You know crunchy topping. The topping that I single-handedly and selfishly consume before most people even get their first serving of pasta? Yeah. That crunchy topping.

Crunchy topping for liiiiiiiife.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com


Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac

Yield: serves 4 to 6

Total Time: 1 hour


1 pound of cooked pasta, smaller noodles desired
6 slices of bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound of brussels sprouts, stems removed and sliced/chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup half and half
8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
2 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fine breadcrumbs


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat a large, 12-inch oven-safe skillet oven medium-low heat and add bacon. Cook until the fat is just rendered, then removed about 1/4 of the bacon and set it aside in a bowl. Cook the remaining bacon until completely crispy. Add in the shallot, garlic and brussels spouts, stirring well to coat. Cook until the brussels soften, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta in with the brussels.

To make the cheese sauce. heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it's sizzling, whisk in the flour to create a roux and cook until it is golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the milk and the half and half, stirring the entire time and cook until it is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the fontina, cheddar and parm, stirring until the cheese is melted. Stir in the nutmeg. Once the cheese is melted, pour it over the pasta in the skillet and toss well to coat. Add the panko and fine breadcrumbs over top of the pasta and sprinkle on the bacon that your set aside earlier.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden and bubbly.

Cheesy Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac I howsweeteats.com

I ate all of that. No shame.

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85 Responses to “Fontina and White Cheddar Skillet Brussels Bacon Mac.”

  1. #
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen — November 8, 2013 @ 8:08 am

    OMG! I’m not a bacon fan (sorry!), but everything else about this dish looks 100% delicious!!!! :)


  2. #
    Meg Jones | The Spatularettes — November 8, 2013 @ 8:09 am

    I had some crazy good brussels in Pittsburgh last weekend too!
    http://unionpgh.com/ <–They aren't on the online menu, but they were real and oh so good. (actually, the whole menu is more extensive than that… weird). Totally worth checking out. Also totally love the idea of trashing up mac with brussels!


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2013 @ 8:15 am

      yes i love that place!


  3. #
    Simply Life — November 8, 2013 @ 8:11 am

    This finally looks like a way I could give brussels sprouts a second chance :)


    • Carmen Needham — November 9th, 2013 @ 10:03 am

      I just love Brussels- I just found a new way of cooking them- take off outer leaves, any that are yellowing or scarred up, use a cookie sheet type of pan- put a little olive oil on it, place the dried off Brussels sprouts on pan. you can roll them a bit turning them around to get a bit of the oil on them. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes on 350 oven. Some of the outer leaves will brown a tiny bit- like being toasted. We saw these in a salad, and they were wonderful. I tried baking mine- I usually steam mine- and they were so good. I love them any way- they are like little cabbages. I had a daughter that didn’t like any green vegetables, I know once I chopped Brussels sprouts and put them into either a pasta dish or soup and she loved it. I bet it was a cheesy pasta dish similar to this one. I can’t way to try this recipe.
      She loves vegetables now.


  4. #
    Jamily — November 8, 2013 @ 8:13 am

    Yum! This looks amazing. I’ve been looking of a good excuse to use my cast iron skillet for the first time. Kind of an embarrassing story, I’ve had it forever but I’m scared to use it.

    I had fried Brussels at Michael Symon’s restaurant, Roast, in Detroit. AMAZING menu all around but those babies were something else entirely.


  5. #
    Molly @ Yes to Yolks — November 8, 2013 @ 8:29 am

    Looks incredible! I will eat any kind of mac…but throwing bacon and brussels into it makes me swoon! I just made and shot a bacon and brussels dish…should be up on my site soon. Same wavelength :)


  6. #
    Ali @ Inspiralized — November 8, 2013 @ 8:39 am

    look at you, cooking veggies! This looks absolutely amazing, I can’t wait to try – I would never think to use fontina here, but what a great choice. Thanks for sharing.


  7. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 8, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    Yum! You got me in the mood for sprouts! What a fun dish that is right up my ally!! I must try this recipe!


  8. #
    Tieghan — November 8, 2013 @ 8:45 am

    My kind of mac and cheese. Made with the skillet, brussels and bacon! Ahh huh, friday food at its best!


  9. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 8, 2013 @ 8:46 am

    Brussels sprouts are one my favourite things about the fall/winter, and they’re at the top of my grocery list for after work tonight! Happy Birthday to your dad, and I hope you had a fabulous day full of super delicious things yesterday! :)


  10. #
    Liz @ Tip Top Shape — November 8, 2013 @ 8:55 am

    This is everything I could ever want in a mac and cheese. Amazing!!!


  11. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — November 8, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    Can i just say that I love that pasta shape! It is the best–and there are SO, so many nooks and crannies for sauce to jam itself into. Which is my goal with any pasta. More companies need to make that shape.

    And totally feel you on the birthday thing! My mom and I are a day apart as well–and its always fun to have multiple days of celebration going on.


  12. #
    Marygrace Taylor — November 8, 2013 @ 9:02 am

    Minus the bacon, this is exactly that my inner 5-year-old wants for dinner every night.


  13. #
    Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness — November 8, 2013 @ 9:06 am

    Bacon and brussel sprouts are the greatest together…and then you go and throw mac ‘n cheese in this? Oh my gosh, I need this in my face pronto.


  14. #
    Belinda @themoonblushbaker — November 8, 2013 @ 9:21 am

    GOSH this a beautiful thing on Friday night. The steamy melty cheese goodness is what I need on my plate right now!


  15. #
    Erin | The Law Student's Wife — November 8, 2013 @ 9:25 am

    Anything baked in a skillet just makes my heart happy, especially where copious amount of cheese, bacon, Brussels, and crunchy topping are involved. Happy birthday to your Dad too!


  16. #
    The Mrs. — November 8, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    Pinned that one! Looks insane.


  17. #
    Abby — November 8, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    I just want to point out that you made BB Mac. Which is AWESOME. I would definitely market it as BB Mac lol


  18. #
    Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate — November 8, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    Is this Friday food or what? Yay we made it to the weekend!


  19. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — November 8, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    Just fell to the ground. I’m so happy.


  20. #
    Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs — November 8, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    I gotta get myself a cast iron skillet — stat!


  21. #
    Katie Qué — November 8, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Wow, you literally read my mind. I was looking for a brussels and mac recipe earlier this week and thought to myself: I bet How Sweet It Is has one. You did not (as far as I could tell), but now you do. Thank you!


  22. #
    Samantha — November 8, 2013 @ 10:13 am

    Whoa. There is a mac and cheese place by my house that I frequent when I get a crazy mac and cheese craving (you know, like every day.) and this would be great on their menu. This makes me want to actually make it myself tonight!


  23. #
    Erin — November 8, 2013 @ 10:22 am

    What brand cast iron skillet is that? I need one!


    • Jessica — November 8th, 2013 @ 10:22 am

      it’s actually the emeril brand! it’s old though, it just happened to be what someone bought us for our wedding.


  24. #
    Katie — November 8, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    Brussels (and milk…weird) are the only thing I’ve wanted this week. This recipe makes me so happy.


  25. #
    Whitney — November 8, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    So, this is not food-related, but as a point of interest, you and my husband shared a birthday yesterday. Now your dad and his dad are sharing one today. Funny : )


  26. #
    Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen — November 8, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Holy cow, this recipe has my sister’s name written all over it. It’s basically everything she loves in a single skillet.

    Happy Birthday to your Dad!


  27. #
    Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps — November 8, 2013 @ 11:11 am

    Welp. I just ate breakfast and now I’m starving again and need mac and cheese. Goshdarnit!


  28. #
    Stephanie @ PlainChicken — November 8, 2013 @ 11:17 am

    Holy YUM! I would totally eat brussel sprouts if they were mixed in bacon and mac & cheese.


  29. #
    Anne — November 8, 2013 @ 11:34 am

    Um, I think we might be BIIFF (Best Invisible Internet Friends Forever), I just posted about a Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Pasta bake I made! I lurrvre the sauteed Brussels Sprouts and Bacon combination….real talk? It makes AMAZING hash for poached eggs too. Love love love.


  30. #
    Sues — November 8, 2013 @ 11:46 am

    Dream macaroni and cheese. DREAM!!!


  31. #
    Heather — November 8, 2013 @ 11:54 am

    Oh my gosh. I mean really, how many times have I proposed to you for making just the most incredible food ever? I lost track…


  32. #
    Lauren — November 8, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    Happy Birthday to your Dad! And I agree… Everything in a skillet tastes better because you get the crispy edges (I’m looking at you, skillet cookie) and everything is just authentic tasting.


  33. #
    DessertForTwo — November 8, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

    Oh heavens. This is exactly up my alley!


  34. #
    Lisa — November 8, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

    This looks decadent!!


  35. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — November 8, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

    I agree! A bread crumb (a.k.a crunchy) topping on mac and cheese is a must for me!


  36. #
    Natalie @ Tastes Lovely — November 8, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

    Now this looks too good! The brussel sprouts cancel out the bacon right? And the cheese? I think so : )


  37. #
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie — November 8, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

    One of the best mac and cheeses I’ve ever had was with brussels. Must try this.


  38. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 8, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

    That’s funny you mention the best brussles sprouts of your life. I have been going wild with them. TJ’s is selling these huge stalks for 2.99 covered with at least 200 sprouts, at least. I dont even know how they sell them so cheap. But I am on my 2nd stalk. In 5 days. Yeah. :)


  39. #
    Larry — November 8, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

    OHEMGEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! That looks FABULOUS! And, despite my homosexuality, I rarely use that word. FAB. ♥


  40. #
    Melanie @ Carmel Moments — November 8, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

    I can’t even put into words how delicious this looks. Pinned!


  41. #
    kelley @mountainmamacooks — November 8, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

    Brussels, bacon, cheese and pasta. Putting all of them on my birthday wish list. Hope it was a good one, lovely lady!! xoxo


  42. #
    Stephanie — November 8, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

    This looks incredible!! It is practically a vegetable…


  43. #
    Jess — November 8, 2013 @ 6:12 pm

    Love! This looks amazing.

    And random…but those are my favorite mac and cheese pasta shapes!!!!


  44. #
    ATasteOfMadness — November 8, 2013 @ 10:41 pm

    I’m also a fan of crunchy topping. This looks to DIE for!


  45. #
    Karen — November 9, 2013 @ 12:12 am

    I wonder if this might actually get my own dad to eat Brussels? Maybe I just won’t tell him……(it worked with mashed cauliflower ! He thought it was the best mashed potatoes he’d ever had!) I can’t wait it try it. There may not be any left for him!


  46. #
    Kelli — November 9, 2013 @ 12:43 am

    What type of pasta did you use?


  47. #
    Ally — November 9, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    I made this for dinner last night, it was amazing!! Thanks so much for the recipe! I’m now going to always use my cast iron skillet for mac and cheese. I have leftovers for lunch today and I’m excited!!! Have a good weekend!


  48. #
    syl — November 9, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

    looks amazing!
    anyway I can incorporate butternut squash into this?


  49. #
    Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg — November 9, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

    This makes me want to dive in!


  50. #
    Linda B — November 9, 2013 @ 4:38 pm

    Is it possible to have just a bite? I need a board for “things I would eat daily if I could” and this would be my cover. Yum.



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