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Iron Chef Michael Symon’s Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Roasted Garlic

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This recipe for Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese with Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Chicken Skin Bacon is the best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had! It’s savory, creamy, and tangy, with a deep herbal note from the fresh rosemary and the rich, slightly sweet complexity of roasted garlic. And let’s not forget the crispiness of the Chicken Skin Bacon.

Best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had! 

Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese?

I’ve had some good Mac and Cheese in my day. Martha Stewart’s version comes to mind. I turned Martha Stewart’s recipe for Mac and Cheese into “Clean Out the Cheese Drawer Mac and Cheese. With White Cheddar, and Smoked Gouda, and Toasted Bread Crumbs” on top, it was a real winner. Truly.

But: if I had to choose the best Mac and Cheese I’ve ever had? What we had for dinner tonight would be at the top of my list.
It would be at the top of my 14 year old daughter’s list, too. She told me tonight that THIS is the dish that she wants for her 15th birthday party, where she gets to choose any dish in the world that she’d like.

Enter Iron Chef Michael Symon

Lately, I’ve grown awfully fond of several chefs from the Food Network. There are a couple or three of them that replicate my heart’s culinary desires when they cook. In the top three, I’d place Chef Anne Burrell, Chef Bobby Flay, and Chef Michael Symon. I think I’d follow their advice into any culinary realm, no matter how odd, or unknown.
The other day I turned on the TV around lunchtime, and watched The Chew. I saw Chef Michael Symon prepare his Mac and Cheese, that he has been serving at his restaurant “Lola” for over 15 years. He mentioned that he’s grown so tired of fixing it over the past 15 years or so that he keeps hiking the price, hoping that his patrons will finally refuse to pay what he charges. But his customers keep demanding it with such persistent ardor, that he keeps serving it (at the higher price, he admitted, with a rueful grin).
Given that dish’s popularity, I was completely ready to give it a try! 

How Roasted Garlic and Roasted Chicken Showed Up

The other day, I roasted 3 heads of garlic. I only needed one for the recipe I was preparing that night, but I kept my eyes peeled in hopes that I might run into another recipe, into which I could throw another head of garlic. Chef Symon’s Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese seemed like a perfect candidate. A sweet note that would balance the tang of the goat cheese
I roasted a chicken last night, my usual standby roasted chicken recipe. I had a leftover half of a chicken, plus all the lovely pan sauce that comes from that recipe’s chicken juices and white wine.   Enormous amounts of flavor in that. And then I had the roasted garlic head to add in as well. So, these were the alterations that I made to Chef Symon’s recipe

Would Lower Fat Dairy Work?

Cream’s expensive, and I honestly don’t NEED FOUR cups of cream in any recipe I eat. I wondered if I cut the cream by half, and added 2% milk for 2 cups of the liquid, if the dish might not still taste luxurious? It did.  I couldn’t quite live with myself if I went ALL the way.
 Oh, yes. And I heard Chef Symon mention that when he made this dish at his house, that he liked to crisp the chicken skin to go on top. AS IF I could resist THAT thought. I was after all, de-flowering a half of a roast chicken that I had seasoned and roasted myself.  I knew how much flavor there was going to be in that skin, seasoned with Herbes de Provence, minced garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. I stuck the chopped up skin in a sauté pan, and it rendered out its fat, and crisped up, so much so that I’ve decided to call it
 . That got sprinkled on top.
Goat Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Roasted Garlic is the best mac and cheese I have ever had. And you won't believe the taste of the Chicken Skin Bacon!

Please: pin this on Pinterest!

Enough of telling you how great it is. Here’s my adapted version of:

The Recipe for Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

Iron Chef Michael Symon's Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Roasted Garlic

Goat Cheese Macaroni & Cheese with Roasted Chicken and Roasted Garlic

The best mac and cheese I have ever had! This goat cheese macaroni and cheese is enhanced by roast chicken, cream, rosemary, roasted garlic, and chicken skin bacon!

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 lb. dried macaroni or rigatoni
  • 1 qt. (4 cups) heavy cream (OR 2 c. cream, + 2 c. 2% milk)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 8 oz. fresh goat cheese
  • 2 c. shredded roasted chicken (about 1/2 rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 roasted head of garlic (procedure for roasting garlic in notes, below)
  • black pepper
  • any leftover chicken skin from the roasted chicken


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. I use about 3 T. salt for a large pot of water. Preheat oven to 400º to roast garlic, and when preheated, roast garlic for approximately 1 hour.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, put the cream/milk mixture, chopped rosemary, a large pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring just barely to a boil, then reduce heat to low, till you bring the cream to a simmer. Reduce the amount of liquid by half. This could take up to half an hour.
  3. Once the cream/milk is reduced, add the chicken (and the roasted garlic, if using) to the cream and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Continue cooking till the liquid coats the back of a spoon, possibly up to another 30 minutes, depending on how much milk to cream you've used.
  4. Cut the chicken skin into small pieces. Place in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Render fat until chicken skin is browned and crispy. Set aside.
  5. Add the pasta to the boiling water and boil about 1 minute less than the package directions. (You want the pasta to absorb the creamy cheese sauce as it finishes cooking.) Drain the pasta, and add it to the sauce.
  6. Add goat cheese to the pot. Toss the pasta to combine it with the sauce, and bring it just back to the simmer. Adjust seasoning to taste. Sprinkle each dish with the "chicken bacon" and a tiny bit of chopped fresh rosemary.


Pre-heat oven to 400º. Lop off about 1/2" from the top of a garlic head. (I did three, while I was at it, so I could have more for spreading on French bread, adding to mashed potatoes, and using for a steak topping with melted butter.) Spread out a sheet of foil, to wrap the garlic in for roasting. Drizzle garlic with about a tablespoon of oil. Wrap up in a foil bundle. Bake for about 1 hour. To extract the roasted garlic from its peel, turn the head of garlic upside down and squeeze. The soft, caramelized garlic will squish out, and may kind of remind you of squeezing a pimple. (This will be very satisfying for some of you! ) Roasted garlic may be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for a week.

Nutrition Information:


4 servings

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 765Total Fat: 37gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 157mgSodium: 5137mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 57g


You’ve really got to try this.
Please, feel free to pin this, or share it /like it on Facebook, or tweet it.
And if you try it, let me know.What kind of cheese do you like in your Mac and Cheese?


Wednesday 29th of October 2014

Susan, I've never liked mac and cheese, but now I'm so curious and you've convinced me that I would love this. I also love Michael Symon. Every Thanksgiving I make his cheesecloth roast turkey. He's got a lot of umph in his cooking. Chicken skins? I'll try it. My recent post Ground Beef Ideas and Ricotta Stuffed Meatballs


Thursday 17th of April 2014

Oh my. I think I need to add this to my list of recipes to shop for this next trip. Yummy!


Friday 17th of January 2014

I think you just need to come cook for me! This sounds delish!

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