Skip to Content

Healthy Low Fat High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese

Healthy Low Fat High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese

This recipe was updated on 7/5/24 to be easier, yummier and creamier 🙂 ENJOY

Embarking on a healthy journey doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite comfort foods.  You just need to get creative with the ingredients.  This Healthy Low Fat High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese recipe requires one pot, no roux to make your cheese sauce and it’s healthier mac you’ll make again and again. 

High Protein Mac and Cheese



Healthy Low Fat High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese Tips

What I love most about this recipe is that you don’t need strange ingredients like cottage cheese or additional tools like a food processor to blend in some kind of secret ingredient.  You just need the cooked pasta (I’m recommending a high protein pasta, cheese, milk, water and some Greek Yogurt for that perfect creamy sauce.  You also only need one pan (unless you like a crispy top and choose to bake it).

My biggest tip to up the protein is to use a high protein pasta.  The one I love is Barilla Plus.  You want a pasta that can stand up to being cooked and this is the one I’ve had the best luck with.  You can go with regular pasta too just know that it won’t be as high protein.

Whole Wheat Pasta is also a fine choice, but remember the protein content won’t be the same. Whole wheat noodles cook very similar to regular noodles and bonus have extra fiber!

The roux in this recipe is reduced down a bit because the Greek yogurt provides thickness  as well as protein!


Make sure that you under cook the noodles a it.  They will soak in the cheese sauce and cook more especially if you choose to bake it! I like a sharp cheddar cheese , but you can use whatever you like!  If you like a  milder flavor adding some Monterey Jack cheese works too!

Just make sure you choose a good melting cheese like Gryuere, fontina or gouda and do remember that it will change the calorie and fat content of the recipe.  This is not the place for parmesan cheese as it will not melt like the others will.

High Protein Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese Recipe Substitutions

I have not tested this recipe with unsweetened almond milk or any dairy free milk .  Seeing how this is a recipe that is cheese based, I just didn’t feel the need.  There are plenty of vegan mac and cheese recipes out there if that is what you’re looking for!

As stated before you can use regular pasta and the high protein pasta that was tested here was Barilla Plus.  I don’t recommend gluten free pastas unless you have experience with the brand and know it will hold up to the 12 minute cook time. 

I do not recommend that you try and sub in skim milk for the 2%.  You need the creamier milk so your cheese sauce won’t be gritty or have an off texture.  Alternatively whole milk will work just fine as its extra fat content would lend well to the sauce.  Just keep in mind that you will not have the same nutritional content.  

I don’t use traditional elbow macaroni here because I find that cuts that are similar to penne and rotini just work better with this method. 

DO NOT sub in pre-shredded cheese for freshly grated.  Pre-shredded cheese has stabilizers that will change the texture of your cheese sauce!

Can I bake stove top mac and cheese?

This recipe as written is the healthier alternative to that blue box we all grew up with.  If you want to bake it though, that’s very easy.  Just get out a baking dish that is safe under a broiler and spray it with cooking spray.   I love using my 10 inch cast iron skillet for this.

Preheat your broiler and pour the mac and cheese into the dish.  Top it with panko bread crumbs crackers or simply some extra shredded cheddar and place it under the boiler for 2-3 minutes. Voila- baked mac and cheese. 

Storing Leftovers

Your leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days.  I don’t recommend freezing this recipe as anything with dairy doesn’t freeze well. 

High Protein Mac and Cheese

Tools for This Recipe

You don’t need anything too special for this recipe, but if you want to bake it, a cast iron skillet would be great.  It’s a great presentation and they are perfectly safe under a broiler.  This cast iron skillet is affordable and my favorite!  Please note that any links I share are affiliate links.  This means that I make a small commission when you purchase using my link.  It helps me continue to provide you free recipes. You get the same great price .

I am an Amazon Associate affiliate and that is often where I provide links from. 

Your Favorite Comfort Food Made Over

​I love making over my favorite comfort foods, but I’ll never change them so much that you need to use your imagination to convince yourself it’s the traditional recipe.  Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and this is low calorie mac and cheese in the sense that it’s a fraction of what your traditional recipes would be.  

This recipe is one that you can feed your whole family and not worry that your picky eaters (the kids? the husband?) are going to turn their nose up.  This is a great way to get everyone on board with healthier choices.  Notice I said healthier- not perfect!



If you make this recipe please take a picture and tag me on Instagram @freshfitkitchen. I’d also love for you to rate the recipe below!


Pin for Later!

High Protein Mac and Cheese


This post was updated on 7/5/24.

One Pot Creamy Mac and Cheese

Healthy Low Fat High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese

A super easy higher protein creamy mac and cheese with a baked option. An easy delicious recipe that doesn't sacrifice the flavor in your favorite comfort food.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 People
Calories 379 kcal


  • 8 ounces Barilla Plus Penne Pasta Or another high protein pasta of your choosing
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 5 ounces Nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup Fairlife 2% milk
  • 4 ounces Shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper


  • Boil Pasta according to package instructions for al dente. You want to leave a little bite in the pasta. Drain Pasta and Set aside. Set your pan back over low heat and melt the butter and flour together. Stir for about 30 seconds.
    8 ounces Barilla Plus Penne Pasta, 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour
  • Pour in the milk and allow the sauce to thicken. Add in salt and pepper once thickened (thickening over medium low heat should take about 5 minutes) Whisk in the Greek Yogurt.
    5 ounces Nonfat Greek yogurt, 1 cup Fairlife 2% milk, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Move the pasta off of the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Add a little more milk 2 tbsp. at a time if you need to thin it out as this mixture will thicken as it sets.
    You can also bake this mac and cheese. Simply add some panko bread crumbs and broil for about 3-5 minutes or until bubbly and delicious. Note that this will thicken it more and give it that baked macaroni and cheese texture.
    4 ounces Shredded Sharp Cheddar


I highly recommend freshly grated cheese for this recipe. Cheeses that are pre-grated have stabilizers in them that will give the sauce a more gritty texture. It's fine to use them, but don't be surprised if your cheese sauce isn't as smooth.
It's also super important to measure the ingredients for this. The reason this method works is that the pasta soaks in the water/milk mixture. You have to have the right ratios to make this happen.
I found rotini to work the best. Should you use other pasta shapes with varied cooking times know that your results may be effected.
Any combo of cheeses you like is fine, but  I recommend that one be a good melting cheese like Gouda or Fontina.


Calories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 22gFat: 12gFiber: 4g
Keyword Creamy Macaroni and Cheese, energy bites, high protein, low calorie, Low Calorie Lemon Bars, low fat
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Sunday 2nd of June 2024

Cheese didn’t mix in with pasta 🥲


Monday 3rd of June 2024

I'm sorry you had trouble with this recipe, it would definitely seem the quality of the cheese is a factor and it must not be pre-shredded which has stabilizers in it. I am retesting this one as a few readers have said this while others have great success.

Thank you!


Tuesday 21st of May 2024

This was a very delicious and quick and easy. I did use packaged non-dairy cheese Daiya Cheddar and Italian Blend. The cheese melted perfectly and still had the texture and flavor of dairy cheese. May add some tomatoes and spinach for an even healthier meal. Will definitely be making this again.


Thursday 23rd of May 2024

Awesome! I am so happy to hear that! :)


Friday 22nd of March 2024

I don’t understand! Followed the recipe, but when I combined the cheeses with the pasta and water/milk mixture, the cheese did NOT mix in with it all. It just chunked up. Nothing melted together. I shredded the cheese myself, did not buy pre-shredded.


Monday 25th of March 2024

Interesting- did you stir the cheese in at the end - and off of the heat? I have not had that problem before however if you had too hot, it may have wanted to clump together.

Francesco Gatti

Friday 8th of November 2019

Macaroni and cheese, it’s my all-time favorite recipe. And it's looking so much delicious with lots of cheese and creamy texture. Those points and notes you have mentioned in this article are very useful. Thank you so much for this lovely recipe.


Friday 8th of November 2019

You're welcome! :) Hope you love it!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.