Seafood gets a comforting twist in this creamy and cheesy Seafood Mac and Cheese topped with crunchy buttery panko bread crumbs. It’s a dish that’s impossible to resist for seafood lovers!
Shrimp and lump crab meat are surrounded by tender macaroni in a rich and decadent cheese sauce prepared with 3 cheeses… this is a seafood dinner of your dreams and is totally worth the effort.
What You’ll Need
- Crab meat
- Butter (unsalted)
- Elbow macaroni
- Whole Milk
- Cheeses – Cheddar, Swiss and Parmesan.
- Flour (all-purpose)
- Seasonings – Salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and ground nutmeg.
- Bread crumbs – Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs. My grocery store was out of Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs, so I added about ½ teaspoon of Italian seasoning to my plain panko bread crumbs.
How to Prepare
Following is a brief overview of how to prepare; please see the recipe card for full detailed instructions.
- Begin cooking your macaroni according to package directions (cooked 2 minutes less than al dente). Drain and rinse with cold water.
- Cook shrimp in butter until shrimp have just turned pink. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Melt butter in a 6 quart Dutch oven or large pot. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to the bread crumbs in a medium bowl and toss to combine.
- Cook diced onions and garlic in the remaining melted butter (until onions are soft) in a 6 quart Dutch oven or large pot.
- Add flour and continue to stir until a paste is formed.
- Slowly pour in milk and stir until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Old Bay.
- Remove pot from burner and stir in cheeses until smooth.
- Fold in cooked macaroni, shrimp and crab meat.
- Transfer to a 3 quart baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Sprinkle evenly with bread crumbs. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread crumbs are golden and sauce is bubbling around edges.
Serve with a garden salad for a complete meal!
How to Store
Allow to reach room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When reheating, you’ll probably need to add a couple of tablespoons of milk, as the macaroni continues to absorb the sauce.
- Swap out the shrimp or crab meat for your favorite seafood (such as cooked lobster and/or bay scallops).
- Substitute one or more of the cheeses with your favorite cheese, such as Gruyere.
5 Star Review“This has to be the best seafood Mac and cheese I have EVER made and tasted in my 69 years on this earth. Thank you for the recipe we enjoyed it very much.” ~ Terri
Seafood Mac and Cheese
- 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni cooked 2 minutes less than al dente, drained and rinsed with cold water
- 7 tablespoons butter divided
- ¾ pound medium shrimp peeled, deveined and chopped into ½ inch pieces
- ½ cup Italian seasoned panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt more or less, to taste
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper more or less, to taste
- 1 ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese 4 ounces
- 1 ⅓ cup shredded Swiss cheese 5 ⅓ ounces
- 1 ⅓ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 5 ⅓ ounces
- ½ pound cooked lump crab meat
- chopped fresh parsley optional garnish
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees . Spray a 3 quart baking dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Begin cooking your macaroni according to package directions (2 minutes less than al dente). Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water after cooking.
- While macaroni is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly, just until pink on both sides (about 3 minutes). Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
- In a 6 quart Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the melted butter to a medium bowl and toss with the panko bread crumbs.
- Add diced onions and garlic to melted butter in the pot and cook until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add flour and stir constantly until a paste is formed.
- Slowly pour in milk. Stir until smooth and there are no lumps.
- Bring to a simmer and simmer until thickened (about 1 minute), stirring constantly.
- Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Old Bay Seasoning. Stir to combine.
- Remove pot from burner. Add cheeses and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth. Fold in macaroni, shrimp and crab meat.
- Transfer to the prepared 3 quart baking dish and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle evenly with buttery panko bread crumb mixture.
- Bake (uncovered) for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bread crumb topping is golden brown and sauce is bubbling around edges.
- Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley when serving, if desired.
If provided, nutritional info is a courtesy, is not guaranteed and should only be considered as a guideline.
Originally published August 2017. Updated with new photos and helpful info December 2022.
Recipe inspired by Martha Stewart’s Emeril’s Seafood Mac and Cheese
Thanks the blond cook
Easy fast to deliver
It came out soooo good . I appreciate the recipe. After reading the instructions I did decide to season my shrimp (added crawfish) and season the milk while simmering for more of a Cajun spicy taste ( Cajun, garlic pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and paprika). Everything else was on point and perfect, panko bread crumbs was a hit . Thanks !!!!
I simply LOVE everything SEAFOOD!
This has to be the best seafood Mac and cheese I have EVER made and tasted in my 69 years on this earth. Thank you for the recipe we enjoyed it very much.
The Seafood recipe looks like a fun one to try I will have to do it for my dance party picnic that’s coming up soon in August. Thank you so much for the advice thanks again now From Susan Iseman In Upstate NY.