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Ranch Mac & Cheese Recipe

Ranch Mac & Cheese Recipe

I came up with the recipe for this creamy and satisfying macaroni and cheese, which has a special twist. My husband requests it often - it's hearty enough to serve as a main dish. -Michelle Rotunno, Independence, Missouri
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. YIELD:8 servings


  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper blend
  • 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby cheese
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltines
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • 1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, combine the milk, butter, dressing mix and seasonings; heat through. Stir in Monterey Jack and Colby cheeses until melted. Stir in sour cream.
  • 2. Drain macaroni; stir into cheese sauce with the saltines. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 cup: 488 calories, 23g fat (14g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 1357mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 18g protein.

Reviews for Ranch Mac & Cheese

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MY REVIEW User ID: 3896618 247709
Reviewed May. 1, 2016

"This was easy to make and nice change from our regular Mac and cheese."

SlugRunner User ID: 8819393 246184
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2016

"Great recipe. I make plenty for potlucks, and if there are leftovers, I add some sausage for a quick meal. I don't use the saltines, and sometimes I turn it up a notch with jalapeno. That's also what is is easy to tweak to your liking!"

heatskitchen User ID: 8366358 239388
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2015

"This was fantastic! Mac and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, and this is a great new twist on it. I would definitely make it again. Here is my blog post on it:"

jillibean222 User ID: 6770008 233356
Reviewed Sep. 23, 2015

"I've made this recipe a few times and love it. The only alteration I make is that I use less crushed saltine crackers as I have found that it often soaks up too much of the cheese."

DaronB User ID: 7887362 3087
Reviewed Jul. 13, 2014

"This recipe has the potential to be great but it definitely needs some tweaking. Half an envelope of ranch, garlic powder, and no lemon pepper would fix nasty taste this dish left in my mouth. Honestly, it was gross. I should have read the reviews before making it."

doylescott User ID: 7230721 3525
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2014


suebrunette User ID: 6556125 1795
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2014

"I have had this recipe for quite a few years now and am planning to make it for this Friday's dinner. It is different than the usual mac and cheese recipes. We really like the ranch dressing taste of it. Yummy."

slocook805 User ID: 7734059 3524
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2014

"I make this on occasion and we really like it. I use garlic and onion powders instead of garlic salt. I never keep flavored salts on hand, 7/8 salt 1/8 ground celery seed, onion or garlic powder. To the sauce I do add 1 cup of shredded sharp Cheddar, we like a lot of cheese and swap out the 2% milk for half and half for extra richness and comfort factor. The lemon pepper goes so well with the ranch dressing mix. I never add saltines since we rarely eat them and don't have them on hand. Sometimes I'll add some shredded chicken and either small fresh broccoli florets or frozen peas to make it a one dish meal. It always makes enough for the 2 of us to have the next night as a left over."

KarenKeefe User ID: 2062961 6176
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2014

"It is the package ranch dressing that adds the bulk of sodium. I made this recipe and substituted 3/4 c. Ranch dressing instead of the packet. This made the sauce even creamier! Also used powder instead of salt as suggested. Left out the lemon pepper. Really good!"

pictonperth User ID: 7310598 1794
Reviewed Jun. 20, 2013

"Pleasantly surprised by this recipe. Really fast and easy and great flavor. I would highly recommend starting with about half of the called for ranch packet and then add if you want more. I think I only used about half a packet and it was perfect for us...the whole thing would have been really overwhelming and salty I think. Also, I just used regular pepper (instead of garlic pepper) and garlic powder instead of garlic salt (as others recommended)."

MY REVIEW User ID: 193450 4529
Reviewed May. 27, 2013

"Made this for a family cookout and everyone loved the "different" flavors. I used the suggestion in other reviews and switched to garlic powder. I used pepper only instead of garlic-pepper, and because I doubled the recipe, used one package of elbow mac and one of small shells."

Wieners User ID: 1845812 3205
Reviewed Jan. 16, 2013

"Made this for the first time, on a recommendation. We really liked it. It was good as leftovers. To lower the sodium I would use powders instead of salts next time and leave out the saltines. I feel they weren't needed and didn't add any flavor. I used a 8 oz. bag of shredded marble jack blend cheese. I added crab meat to it also. Definitely will be making this again."

Ashaline User ID: 1186991 4338
Reviewed Jan. 14, 2013

"It was alright. My kids did not like this, my husband said it was pretty good. I did one and half the amount of the sauce and it was a good thing I did."

hector3918 User ID: 6332820 3519
Reviewed Nov. 9, 2012

"Really nice flavor. The ranch was a nice twist to a classic dish. The mac and cheese fanatic loved the new dish!"

UpToMe123 User ID: 6133762 5064
Reviewed Oct. 3, 2012

"After the first bite, I thought - oh wow, waste of time making this. But my family was raving about it. I tried it again and they were right. The taste is kinda a ranch/garlic/alfredo mix. I think my first bite didn't taste like I thought it was going to and it threw me off......but I was told several times this recipe needs to be a keeper - and I agree."

jstolpe User ID: 6785608 4527
Reviewed Jul. 22, 2012

"Is so easy and delicious! We make at ones a week. YumYum."

KJLII User ID: 502960 199027
Reviewed Jun. 4, 2012

"It's sooo good!!! Every time I make for party or picnic and I never get to save any leftover for next day!!"

Pennan User ID: 42538 5867
Reviewed May. 1, 2012

"My family loved this new take on traditional mac & cheese"

smada3 User ID: 1478009 4336
Reviewed Oct. 30, 2011

"i have made this many times from the magazine and it always turns out great, tonight I used a store brand ranch dressing for the first time and it made it way salty...note to self get the good stuff!"

BakinGymnast User ID: 5767825 4525
Reviewed Sep. 25, 2011

"Interesting flavor, but pretty salty and not very cheesy."

BakinGymnast User ID: 5767825 5058
Reviewed Sep. 13, 2011

"This is not the same recipe that was printed in the magazine. The original recipe called for 2 envelopes of ranch salad dressing mix."

rellmac User ID: 3519421 1792
Reviewed Feb. 20, 2011

"This is an amazing dish. While it definitely doesn't "taste" like a traditional mac n cheese, it's quickly become a favorite side dish in our house. We often use whatever cheese we have and found straight cheddar also yields delicious results. It's also excellent as leftovers the next day."

mamapierce User ID: 1123813 4333
Reviewed Feb. 19, 2011

"So easy and delicious! I love the flavor and texture from the saltine crackers. Yum."

abbie23 User ID: 5762096 2867
Reviewed Jan. 14, 2011

"This recipe is a favorite in my house! I was on the search for a great mac&cheese, and I found it with this one! The best part is that it is different than your everyday mac&cheese. I chose to add crumbled crackers mixed with butter to the top and bake it for 20mins. Awsome recipe... Thanks Michelle!!"

Shawnee2020 User ID: 4936033 4523
Reviewed Nov. 20, 2010

"I get a little frustrated with people who complain about the salt content or fat content, or any other "unhealthy" ingredient. No one ever claimed this was a healthy recipe. If you are looking for that, google. Otherwise please don't complain. It's one thing to prefer less salt, it's another to have expectations that were never intended."

devilgrrl User ID: 5356323 3079
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2010

"I didn't have saltines, so i used Ritz crackers instead & also I didn't have the 2 cheeses listed so i used shredded cheddar cheese. Very different & very delicious! I can't imagine going back to the boxed mac & cheese after having this. I love it!"

pearlrvr User ID: 1256058 5088
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2010

"Wonderful robust flavor! I made several substitutions to suit our tastes and what we had on-hand, but this seems fool-proof! I omitted the garlic salt and garlic pepper and instead used 1/2tsp garlic powder and 1/2tsp of Kosher salt. I kept the 1tsp lemon-pepper as-is. I used mild cheddar and mozzarella and omitted both the saltines and parmesan. My 21/2 year old who will not sit through a meal kept his seat and devoured this one!"

KY_Cook User ID: 1619535 6876
Reviewed Sep. 10, 2010

"A little salty for my taste, so I used garlic powder as well. Otherwise, it was totally delicious and well worth serving again :)"

harleybratt User ID: 4568059 5866
Reviewed Jul. 31, 2010

"this recipe is excellent, also i used the recipe to make cheesey ranch potatoes, the same recipe just sub potatoes for the noodles and its delicious."

cookinNC User ID: 4119721 3518
Reviewed Jul. 14, 2010

"My family really loved this! I have made it twice and will probably substitute some garlic powder for the garlic salt next time. I also made it this last time with a substitution for the ranch dressing ( 2 t dried onion, 1 T dried parsley, 1/8 t garlic powder, and 1/2 t salt) which doesn't have quite the same flavor but is still good and much cheaper. Appreciate all the previous suggestions for cutting the salt down: it tastes good the way it is, but that IS a lot of salt! :)"

smada3 User ID: 1478009 4522
Reviewed Jul. 5, 2010

"p.s. i did not used the garlic salt either just used garlic powder"

smada3 User ID: 1478009 4332
Reviewed Jul. 5, 2010

"the first time i made this as is and it came out salty so the second time i left out the crackers and used bread crumbs. I also double the sauce my family loved it"

MamaJulez User ID: 4890384 6874
Reviewed May. 18, 2010

"This was a hit at my house, and I also took some to my 2 1/2 year old's play date. It was a hit with all of the kids as well. I will be making this regularly!"

MGraham6 User ID: 5093376 4778
Reviewed Apr. 26, 2010

"I loved this recipe. My sister and I couldn't get enough of it! It was a little too salty for my liking so next time I think I'll use about half the garlic salt to see if that does the trick. It was so yummy that I will be making this again."

tippelmann User ID: 2912778 1864
Reviewed Mar. 12, 2010

"This was the most excellent mac n cheese I have ever had! My kids like the boxed stuff and I have never been able to get them to eat a homemade mac n cheese. They LOVED this! It has great flavor and is so cheesy. LOVE IT!"

ohiocook User ID: 3758696 3045
Reviewed Feb. 8, 2010

"I followed the advice of other reviewers and cut down on the salt content by using garlic powder. I also cut out the garlic pepper blend and the lemon-pepper seasoning (we don't keep them on hand) but did use some black pepper and it was still full of wonderful flavor. I halved the butter and sour cream to make it a bit lighter, and the texture was perfect."

amber666 User ID: 1451389 5084
Reviewed Feb. 1, 2010

"This was a big hit with everyone in my house. I added chopped ham and frozen peas after mixing and popped it in the oven for about 10 minutes. Super easy and so yummy! I didn't think it was too salty at all."

CarCol User ID: 4315995 4521
Reviewed Jan. 29, 2010

"1,357 mg Sodium?????"

mssjnnfer User ID: 4237127 199026
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2010

"We make this all the time and it's a great way to use up cheeses in the fridge. Also, to clear up the 1 pack/2 pack confusion... This recipe has recently been changed. It WAS 2 packs, and it also had CUBED Mont. and Colby cheese, but now it says shredded."

dianehain User ID: 2727150 5081
Reviewed Jan. 14, 2010

"This makes a good sauce, and is not too salty if you use 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp salt-free lemon peper seasoning. I did not have any colby, so I used cheddar instead."

sharon ulam User ID: 2094805 4777
Reviewed Jan. 11, 2010

"I made it with provalone cheese and cheddar and sub the saltines for planko bits on top with the parmesan mixed in and the family went nuts over this. It is an awsome recipe either way."

RebekahTastet User ID: 666507 5865
Reviewed Jan. 9, 2010

"I loved this mac and cheese! :)"

Lucy4550 User ID: 2555620 4331
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"I love this recipe! I follow the instructions exactly except for substituting garlic powder for the garlic salt, and it comes out great every time. It's a wonderful side dish to go with a ham."

cynthias User ID: 1065505 199025
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"I don't understand where some people are seeing it calls for 2 pkgs ranch dressing mix. The recipe clearly says 1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix."

smarianne User ID: 2427600 4292
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"Good, used garlic power, skim milk, low fat cheese, whole wheat pasta, lower fat sour cream. Recipe only calls for 1 envelope of ranch, others are saying 2 that's not correct, recipe says 1."

grannyc6 User ID: 1137647 3144
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"This is soo easy & so good! Everyone ask for it again & again!"

MargeAZ User ID: 1297434 3773
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"This recicpe needs a major makeover - too much fat & salt! 1 cup would be side dish portion, not a meal.

You could easily cut the calories & fat by using skim milk, low fat cheese, low or fat free sour cream, and eliminating or cutting the amount of butter in half. The saltines are not necessary.
And it was very salty - 1,357 mg of sodium is more than 1/2 the recommended daily amount of salt for an adult (2,300 mg)."

hootiegal User ID: 4515210 5864
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010

"This was a very good recipe. However, my husband does not like sour cream. i solved this by substituting greek yogurt for the sour cream. It was delicious."

MY REVIEW User ID: 965382 3020
Reviewed Jan. 7, 2010


amy000311 User ID: 4430419 3017
Reviewed Oct. 27, 2009

"this recipe is a good twist on regular mack & cheese but next time I'll only use one packet of the ranch mix, two was a bit overwhelming."

cwbuff User ID: 441425 3724
Reviewed Sep. 28, 2009

"I usually dont like mac 'n cheese at all, but I loved this recipe! However, I left the garlic salt out. Maybe it didnt work out for you for that reason and also that you didnt use 2 env of the ranch dressing and the saltines. Also, I usually shred block cheese rather than buy the pre-shredded, as I have noticed the latter seem much saltier than the former. Try it again that way, because I thought it was terrific. Also, it makes enough to take to a potluck."

ehday11 User ID: 4119787 6873
Reviewed Aug. 22, 2009

"I love this recipe! not too salty or anything. make it all the time and it goes well at family functions!"

brunchtoo User ID: 3996431 6166
Reviewed Mar. 12, 2009

"Hi, found this recipe in a new booklet from T of H.

My kids wanted to try it. I only used one enevelope of Ranch, no salt, no saltines and with still way too salty. My kids didn't like it at all.
Will not make it again."

Cottage1 User ID: 1698672 5079
Reviewed Feb. 24, 2009


anonymous User ID: 5520322 4776
Reviewed Dec. 26, 2007

"This recipe was easy to make, but once I tried it, the sauce was VERY salty for me and my family. 2 packages of ranch mix, all the salty seasonings, and Parmesan cheese...I should have known by the recipe that it would not turn out well. I will not make this recipe again."

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Wine Pairings

Full-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a full-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Viognier.