Swiss Alpine Skillet Mac and Cheese

6 servings
40 min

Tired of the same old macaroni and cheese? You will love this hearty Swiss Alpine Skillet Mac and Cheese!

Pasta and potatoes are cooked in a pan with cream, then mixed with caramelized onions, crispy bacon, and gooey cheese for a meal the whole family loves!

The Swiss traditionally serve it with apple sauce. If you think apple sauce with cheesy pasta is weird, think again! It's the perfect sweet balance to the salty bacon.

Of course, everything is better with bacon, but I know for a fact that this macaroni and cheese is just as yummy without it.

Its taste is very similar to Grenadir, a side dish from Central Europe.

So, if you are not Team Bacon, you can leave it out, but I will seriously have to reconsider our friendship. 😉

I haven't met a pasta dish I didn't like, but this hearty mac and cheese from Switzerland's Alpine region takes the cake. You must try this seriously tasty Älplermagronen, also called herdsman's macaroni.

For the ultimate cheese pull (stretchy cheese), never use already shredded cheese. Freshly grate a block of cheese, using the grater side with large holes!

Swiss Alpine Skillet Mac and Cheese
Recipe details
  • 6  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 40 min
Show Nutrition Info
Hide Nutrition Info

  • ▢ 4 oz. (6 strips) bacon diced
  • ▢ 1 onion thinly sliced
  • ▢ 1 clove garlic minced
  • ▢ 3 small red potatoes
  • ▢ 2 cups vegetable stock
  • ▢ 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • ▢ 8 oz. Penne pasta
  • ▢ 6 oz. grated Gruyere cheese
  • ▢ Salt and pepper to taste
  • ▢ Fresh parsley for garnish
  • ▢ Applesauce for serving

Heat a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add six strips of diced bacon, sliced onion, and minced garlic and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes or until the onions caramelize and the bacon is crispy. Transfer the mixture, including the bacon fat, to a plate and set aside.
To the skillet, add two cups of vegetable stock, a cup of heavy cream, and three diced red potatoes. Increase the heat to medium-high, bring to a gentle boil, and add 8 oz. penne pasta. Cover the pan with a lid and cook until pasta is al dente (about 12 minutes).
When all the liquid soaks into the pasta, remove from the heat and stir in the 6 oz. grated Gruyere cheese and the bacon and onion mixture.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve with applesauce.
  • You want Swiss cheese (obviously) that will give you the ooey, gooey glory. Gruyere is the perfect melting cheese. Other options are Emmental and Raclette.
  • For the ultimate cheese pull (stretchy cheese), never use already shredded cheese. Freshly grate a block of cheese, using the side with large holes!
  • Any short pasta you have on hand will work, such as Penne, Rotini, or Macaroni.
  • Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used.
All that's Jas
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!

    Decent dish , but I’d rather make a simple cream sauce to add the Swiss cheese to, before adding to the pasta. (Otherwise it runs the risk of being too “oily”. [I’ll make it that way the next time I make it.] Also the addition of a 1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg, makes any cheese dish, all the better. I’d add green onion and garlic to the onion, next time as well. I also prefer a bit of freshness to any heavy pasta dish by adding some-kind of veggies / 1/4 cup peas, or cooked broccoli would be good.

    i love trying dishes from around the world, but enjoy putting my own spin on my dish as well. Next time I’ll add the onions, garlic and peas + potatoes & bacon + pasta ( I used whole wheat pasta) to the entire dish instead of layering it. Then I’ll add a bit of extra Swiss + a bit of parmigiana, and extra bacon to the top before baking it to a golden brown.