This seafood mac and cheese is loaded with hunks of succulent lobster, plump shrimp and tender pasta generously coated in a creamy cheese sauce. An easy recipe made on the stovetop; no baking required!
Seafood lovers will rejoice as traditional mac gets a luxurious makeover with chunks of lobster meat and juicy shrimp. And you can serve this mac n cheese as a fancy side dish at your next dinner party or have as the main course for a special occasion. The whole family will love it!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
- Irresistibly delicious loaded with lobster and shrimp!
- Super cheesy and creamy sauce made with two cheeses.
- Made on the stove so no risk of drying out in the oven.
- You can change up the seafood and cheese.
- No heavy cream required!
See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Lobster tails
- Chicken broth
- Whole milk
- Butter and flour
- Fontina and mild or sharp cheddar cheese
- Nutmeg, salt and black pepper
- Fresh chopped parsley or chives, for garnish
- Other seafood – Lump crab meat (or imitation crab), clams, mussels and scallops are great options as well.
- Types of cheese – Additional good melting cheeses include gruyere cheese, gouda, Monterey jack cheese, cream cheese and brie with the rind removed.
- Vegetables – You can toss in caramelized onions, steamed broccoli or roasted peppers to name a few.
- Other protein – Crispy bacon, diced ham, or cooked chicken would be tasty additions.
- Spice – Change up the flavor profile or spiciness with old bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, or use pepper jack cheese.
- Texture – Even though we’re not baking the macaroni and cheese, you can still add some crunch by sprinkling toasted panko breadcrumbs on top of the mac.
Pasta: Bring a large pot of cold water to a boil. Season the water generously with salt. Add pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente according to package directions. It will finish cooking in the cheese sauce.
Reserve a mugful of the pasta water, then drain the pasta when done. Set aside covered in aluminum foil to keep warm.
Seafood: Pour chicken stock and 2 cups of water into a large pot. Bring to a boil and add lobster tails. Cook until the shells are bright red and the meat is tender, about 1 minute per ounce. With a slotted spoon remove the lobster from the pot and place in a medium bowl to cool.
Remove pot from heat, add the shrimp, cover with a lid and poach the shrimp for 2-3 minutes until plump and opaque in the center.
When cool enough to handle, chop the shrimp and lobster tails into chunks. Set aside in a medium bowl.
Cheese Sauce: Pour 2 cups whole milk into a small saucepan to warm over medium-low heat. You don’t want the milk to boil.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook a couple minutes, stirring constantly so the flour doesn’t burn.
Slowly whisk hot milk into the flour mixture in a steady stream. Cook mixture a couple more minutes until thick and bubbly, stirring frequently.
Turn heat to low and add the shredded cheese a handful at a time. Stir until melted and smooth.
The sauce should be nice and thick, but stir in reserved pasta water 1-2 tablespoons at a time until desired consistency. Season your cheesy sauce with freshly grated nutmeg, salt and black pepper, to taste.
Assembling: We’re at the final step! Fold in the cooked pasta, lobster and shrimp into the cheese mixture. Let everything warm and flavors meld for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh chives and/or parsley. Enjoy!
- Select cheeses that melt easily and shred the cheese yourself. Pre-shredded cheese will not melt smoothly due to its potato starch content.
- Use large shrimp. I like 21-25 count per pound.
- Remove tails from the shrimp so your guests don’t have to.
- If using frozen shrimp or lobster, let thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Don’t chop the cooked seafood too small. The chunkier the better!
- You can use the traditional elbow macaroni, but I think rotini’s corkscrew shape is the best pasta to hold all that cheesy goodness.
What to Serve with Seafood Mac & Cheese
This hearty recipe can certainly stand on its own, but if you’d like to round out the menu to balance the richness of the dish, here are a few ideas:
Seafood Mac and Cheese Recipe FAQs
Mac and cheese is at its creamy, cheesy best when served immediately after cooking. However, you can cook the seafood the night before and refrigerate until ready to use. You can also grate the cheese ahead and measure other ingredients to reduce prep time.
Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container up to 4 days. You can microwave or reheat in a 350-degree oven in a casserole dish covered with aluminum foil until warmed through.
Depending on how much you are reheating, add 1 tablespoon of milk for each cup or so of macaroni and cheese. If you’d like a thicker consistency, you can use half-n-half or heavy whipping cream.
When making the roux to start the cheese sauce, be sure to use equal amounts of butter and flour. If extra flour is added the sauce can become too thick and lumpy, resulting in a dry mac n cheese. Also, if you reduce the sauce too much before adding the cheese, it can turn out dry.
Seafood Mac and Cheese
- 12 ounces rotini pasta or elbow macaroni
- 4 lobster tails*, about 1 pound
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 pound large raw shrimp (21-25 count), peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley and chives for garnish
- Bring water to a boil in a large pot, add pasta and cook 1 minute less than instructed on the box. Reserve a mug of pasta water, then drain and return to pot. Cover with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Meanwhile, bring broth and water to a boil in another large pot. Add lobster tails and cook over a low boil for 4-5 minutes until the shells are bright red and the meat is tender. Remove them with a slotted spoon to a medium bowl to cool.
- Add the shrimp to the same pot that cooked the lobster. Cover pot with a lid and remove from heat. Poach shrimp 2-3 minutes until they're plump and just opaque in the center. Drain the shrimp and place in bowl with the lobster tails.
- When lobster and shrimp are cool enough to handle, remove the lobster from the shells and chop into chunks. Set aside.
- Pour milk into a small saucepan to get warm, but do not let it boil.
- Melt butter in a 5-quart, high-rimmed saucepan or heavy large pot over medium heat. Add flour and cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
- Slowly whisk in the hot milk in a steady stream. Cook mixture 2 more minutes until bubbly and thickened, stirring frequently.
- Turn heat to low and add the cheeses in a few additions. Stir until melted and smooth. Sauce will be thick at this point. Stir in reserved pasta water 1-2 tablespoons at a time until desired creamy consistency. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, to taste.
- Fold the cooked pasta, lobster and shrimp into the cheese sauce. Let mixture warm and flavors meld for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve. Garnish with parsley and chives. Enjoy!
This page contains affiliate links. Meaning, whenever you purchase an item after clicking an Amazon link through this website, we receive a small percentage from Amazon. It doesn’t cost anything extra to you! It simply helps maintain the blog. Thanks so much!