Ever since discovering my love of Greek food last year, I have been all about feta cheese.  I like it on salads, I love it with shrimp – I just think it’s great.  When I ran across this version of mac and cheese that featured feta, I was instantly a fan.  The combination of the shrimp, lemon zest, and fresh herbs made for a unique spin on mac and cheese that sounded just perfect.  This was just as good as I was expecting, and I think the flavors make it ideal for spring.

I made  a few small changes to suit my own preferences, including reducing the amount of milk to produce a cheesier sauce and chopping up the shrimp so there was some in almost every bite.  I also decreased the amount of lemon zest because zesting two whole lemons just seemed like overkill, and I thought the lemon was still quite prominent even with my change (but in a good way, not a pucker-your-lips way).  Delish!


1 lb. pasta shapes
1 lb. raw shrimp (31-40 ct.), peeled and deveined, cut in half (if desired)
10 oz. feta cheese, crumbled and divided
Zest of 1 lemon, divided
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped, divided
5 tbsp. butter, divided
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
8 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper


  • 01

    Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Cook the pasta until al dente according to the package directions.  Drain well; set aside.  Add the raw shrimp to the warm pasta and toss together.  The heat from the pasta will partially cook the shrimp.

  • 02

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  In a small bowl, combine a handful of the feta, a pinch of the lemon zest, the panko, 2 teaspoons of the parsley and 1 tablespoon of the butter, melted.  Toss with a fork to combine; set aside.

  • 03

    In a medium saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour  to form a paste.  Cook 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly, until light golden brown.  Whisk in the milk.  Continue to heat the mixture, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes.  As soon as the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the remaining feta, Gruyere, remaining parsley, remaining lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper.  Pour the mixture over the pasta and shrimp; toss well to coat.

  • 04

    Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 2½ or 3-quart baking dish.  Sprinkle the breadcrumb-feta mixture evenly over the top.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbling.  Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

  • I have to try this

  • Kat

    omg this looks so good!

  • Wow – what an elegant and creative take on mac & cheese! I love feta, and it pairs so beautifully with shrimp. I will definitely have to make this.

  • Holy heck! I have to make this ASAP.

  • I have awarded you the “Beautiful Blog Award” over on my blog! Have a great day!!!

    Love your blog!

  • Trying this tonight!!!

  • Sadly, I have never tried feta cheese and I am very unfamiliar with Greek food. I need to branch out a little!! This looks delicious!!

  • From one greek food lover to another, this looks AMAZING!!! Its bookmarked & will be happening SOON. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • this looks yummy!!

  • What a great combo. I could go for a big serving of this right now! If you like greek inspired dishes with feta you should try this: http://melissaheartsfood.blogspot.com/2009/10/chicken-lemon-and-dill-with-orzo.html

  • Does the panko go in with the other stuff in the second paragraph?

    As you can see, this sounds so good I have already imagined making it in my head. I just can’t find the panko in the recipe… I’m assuming it’s with the other stuff in paragraph two.

  • Annie

    Kathryn, I’ve corrected that error.

  • My word, Annie!!! This is absolutely GORGEOUS and creamily wonderful. :-)

  • I love Mac & Cheese, I haven’t made one yet. Yours looks so good!

  • Love this jazzed up mac and cheese!

  • Zeze

    Hi Annie,

    While this dish looks great, I have a question about another one of your dishes, the baked fries. (I tried to go leave a comment there but it was closed because it was a part of a contest).

    Anyways, I made the fries this weekend and followed the directions exactly, but they took FOREVER in the oven. I’m talking 45 min at 475 degrees and while they were cooked, they looked like boiled potatoes. Eventually I gave up, at 50min i took them out and we ate them limp and soft and not really as fries.

    Can you please tell me what the problem could be? My oven temp has worked fine for everything else, so I don’t think it is that.



  • That looks wonderful! You always come up with great posts.

  • Annie

    If you really followed the recipe exactly, I’m not sure what to tell you. I wasn’t there watching so I have no idea what might have gone wrong. I know a lot of other readers and friends have made them successfully and loved them.

  • Great looking pasta dish, better than just “mac n cheese” ;)

    Excellent job!

  • Aimee

    Looks great!!

  • Jessica

    Hi Annie, could I adapt this dish to use frozen shrimp (since that is what we have on hand)? I guess it probably would work well in the oven? I hope its not a “stupid” question, but I don’t eat shrimp and my husband does, so I’m trying to make him happy :)

  • Annie

    Hi Jessica,
    Not a stupid question at all! You can always use frozen shrimp, and in fact that is what I use. I suppose I meant “raw” in the sense that they have not been cooked yet. For me to get raw, good quality shrimp here in IN would cost me an arm, a leg, and a 45 minute drive one way. Just avoid the pre-cooked shrimp. In my experience, if I add them to a dish that cooks any length of time, they end up overdone and rubbery. Hope that helps!

  • I could certainly go for a shrimp and feta mac n cheese!

  • YUM! I made this last night and we LOVED it.

  • Janel

    This was AMAZING! Love your blog!

  • Sasha

    I have a question. Can you freeze these mac’n’ cheese leftovers and reheat in the oven, or will that affect the texture? I live alone, so even delicious dishes get tiresome after a week.

  • Annie

    Hi Sasha,
    I really don’t know. I am assuming that the texture would be affected a bit by freezing, judging by what I’ve heard from others about freezing mac and cheese in general, but I’ve never tried it myself so I’m not sure.

  • Diane

    Hi Annie,
    I sent my hubby out for the ingredients for this delighful dish this morning. I’m on crutches due to a dislocated knee, but I have every intention of getting up off this couch and making this tonight or by tomorrow, the latest :)
    It looks so delicious!
    I love your blog!!

  • jena

    ohhhhh twas sooo good! Thank goodness for the interweb, us new wives would really be at a loss without it!!

  • Kris

    Hi Annie:

    Are you aware of a good-tasting substitute for Gruyere cheese, particularly with regards to this dish? I’m having trouble finding Gruyere in local grocery stores, and the one specialty market that did carry it was very pricey. Any suggestions?



  • Annie

    Kris, not really. Believe me, I have some of the worst grocery stores ever in my area and all of them have gruyere. Make sure you’re looking in the area with specialty cheeses, not just the Kraft-type blocks. And it is a pricey cheese no matter where you buy it, but I think it’s totally worth the cost.

  • Kari

    Thank you SO much for posting this recipe! I admit that I’m a little addicted! I skimped a little because I’m cheap and considering I made this three times in a row, it’d get pretty expensive.
    I used the Sargento Artisan blend swiss/gruyere mix and there’s a huge difference between using that and regular swiss cheese. It’s a decent alternative to the expensive Gruyere. I also use mini shrimp because I like pieces in every bite.
    Thanks again for posting. Love this blog!

  • Kristin

    This was such an awesome variation on a classic! I liked the lemon accents but my boyfriend found them slightly over powering, I think that next time I will use a little less lemon zest. I had left overs and I think it may have even been better re heated for the second time around!

  • Ashley

    Hi Annie,

    Every time I make mac and cheese with a roux, the cheese sauce tastes like flour. I follow the instructions but it just won’t cook out the flour. Any tips?

  • Annie

    You just have to be sure you cook the roux long enough. I typically let it cook about two minutes. I never taste the flour. Good luck!

  • sherin

    This might be a stupid question…Could I do all steps prior to the breadcrumbs ahead of time and refrigerate, then bake later in the day? Do you think this would affect flavor or texture? Btw–I am a huge fan of your blog. Thanks for taking all the time that you do to share your talent…

  • Annie

    I think that would be fine. Enjoy!

  • Washy

    Hello, This looks absolutely delicious. I never cook so this will be the first dish, I’m going to surprise my husband. Thanks for the amazing & easy recipe!

  • when you say kosher salt, does that mean course or fine? I never knew there were so many salt options!

  • Annie

    There is an actual type of coarse salt called kosher salt.

  • Jen

    My husband made this last night…it was delicious. I did find the lemon a little too much…may used less next time. He also substituted fontina (I’d forgotten to buy Gruyere), which was still tasty. Thanks for a great dinner recipe!

  • Surabhi

    What an awesome recipe! I made this last night and actually forgot to put salt and pepper in. Once I tasted it though, I realized it didn’t REALLY need it (maybe just a little pepper). It tasted amazing and the flavors were delicate enough to not be overpowered by any one ingredient. YUM!

  • Sarah

    I’m going to use frozen shrimp in this. Should I defrost them first?

  • Annie

    Yes, they should be thawed.

  • Emilia

    I made this for my family last night and it was FABULOUS! A new staple for Sunday Dinners!

  • Stephanie

    Made this tonight, and omgosh Annie, this was FABULOUS! I felt like I was eating Mac and Cheese at a fancy restaurant. Thank you :)

  • Teresaswilson

    I made this last night with only a few changes and it was a hit! I used less feta only because I did not read the amount and only had about 6 ounces and I used mini penne instead of rotini just because I like it better. My twin teenage sons were not home at dinner time but both came by later in the evening with friends and all that tried it loved it. My one son works at a restaurant and can eat free but took some of these leftovers to work today and he doesn’t like leftovers. It is a little pricey due to seafood and cheeses but a great dish. I plan to make this for the next pot luck I attend. Thank you:)

  • JBliss

    Made your recipe last night, the flavor was great but turned out pretty dry- any tips or suggestions ? Not sure if I just baked it too longer what made it loose all the sauciness?


  • annieseats

    I haven’t had that problem, but you could try using more liquid with the cheese sauce.

  • Sommer

    I’ve been wanting to make this for a while and finally did for dinner tonight. It was sooo good. I had tomato basil feta on hand so I used that. I also had to use smoked gruyere because that’s all the store had (even though they had regular the week before grr), but it was still amazing! I think I’ll use regular feta and gruyere next time I make it and I bet it will be even more amazing! I also used whole wheat pasta and since the sauce is so rich and yummy you don’t even notice :) Thanks for another great recipe. You have yet to fail me :)

  • Eliza Newby

    Boyfriends LOVES this. Requests it constantly, if it were up to him we would have this every other day! Great recipe.

  • Hi, I was just wondering what cheese you could use instead of the feta?

  • annieseats

    Please see the FAQ page regarding substitutions. Thanks!

  • How was it with 6 oz of feta? That’s all I have as well. I have enough gruyere and I have other cheeses in the house (swiss, mozerella, american & cheddar) Should I add any of that?

  • Eileen Clark

    I made this last night as a side dish for a dinner party and was a big hit. The only substitution that I made was using Barilla whole grain rotini pasta and don’t think that you could even tell the difference.