One-Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe

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My favourite one-pot stovetop mac and cheese recipe is straightforward to make in half-hour with simply 6 predominant substances and at all times tastes completely creamy, tacky and so comforting.

I’m a agency believer that everybody wants an glorious stovetop mac and cheese recipe of their again pocket. However I’ve to say I’m particularly keen on this one as a result of — as somebody who eagerly avoids washing additional dishes in any respect prices — it comes collectively shortly and simply in only one pot! ♡

I’ve made loads of mac and cheese recipes over time that cook dinner the cheese sauce individually in an extra saucepan. However the brilliance of the one-pot methodology is that you just get the added bonus of super-concentrated starchy pasta water to work with, because you solely use about half the quantity of liquid usually used to cook dinner pasta. This does wonders with serving to the shredded cheese to soften and emulsify and cling to the pasta, creating an ultra-silky, creamy, cheese sauce. And even higher? All of it comes collectively in lower than half-hour!

We’re “plain” mac and cheese followers right here in our home, normally opting to serve this pasta with some roasted veggies and a easy inexperienced salad on the facet. However after all, the choices for stirring any of your favourite add-ins (proteins, veggies, herbs, seasonings, sauces, and so on) proper into the pot of mac and cheese listed below are limitless. I’ve included plenty of concepts and ideas under, so please be happy to take this base recipe and customise it precisely to your liking. And luxuriate in, take pleasure in!

Let’s make some macaroni and cheese!!

Macaroni and Cheese Elements

Earlier than we get to the complete mac and cheese recipe under, listed below are just a few essential notes in regards to the substances you’ll need. (This recipe was up to date barely in 2022, however for these of you searching for the unique ingredient quantities, they’re included within the notes under the recipe.)

  • Pasta: The form of pasta that you just select right here is essential, since cooking occasions can fluctuate fairly extensively between completely different pasta shapes (which may also have an effect on the quantity of liquid that they every take in). I developed this recipe utilizing cavatappi, which has a pleasant, chewy chunk and lists an roughly 8-minute cooking time on its package deal. Should you determine to make use of a special pasta form, attempt to discover one whose package deal lists the same cooking time. (Or if the cooking time varies considerably, simply word that you could be want to make use of roughly water whereas cooking.)
  • Milk + water: I like to recommend utilizing entire milk with this recipe, however nearly any plain milk (dairy or plant-based) will work right here.
  • Dijon mustard: A teaspoon of mustard helps to carry out the flavour of the cheddar on this recipe, with out making the pasta style noticeably mustardy. (Though you’re welcome so as to add extra mustard if you happen to love that taste!)
  • Nice sea salt and black pepper: We’ll cook dinner the pasta in a teaspoon of advantageous sea salt. However since completely different manufacturers of cheddar can fluctuate fairly by way of saltiness, I like to recommend giving the pasta a closing style after mixing within the cheese to see if it wants additional salt. I additionally love including a beneficiant quantity of black pepper to mac and cheese, however be happy so as to add your required quantity to style.
  • Garlic powder: I additionally like so as to add a touch of garlic powder to the combo for additional depth of taste.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: I actually suggest utilizing a good-quality sharp or extra-sharp cheddar (both yellow or white) because it supplies the principle seasoning on this dish! As at all times when making home made mac and cheese, make sure you shred the cheddar by hand too, in order that it melts nicely.
  • Parmesan cheese: Aged Parmesan cheese additionally provides some deliciously salty, nutty, umami taste to this dish and helps to carry out one of the best of the cheddar. Please make sure you freshly-grate the Parmesan too!

Do-it-yourself Mac and Cheese Suggestions

Listed below are just a few of my greatest ideas I’ve realized over time for making one-pot mac and cheese:

  • The pasta form you select makes a giant distinction. The most important grievance I hear about one-pot mac and cheese recipes is that the pasta-to-liquid ratios don’t end up fairly proper, normally leading to a very “soupy” cheese sauce. That is normally resulting from utilizing a pasta form that cooks in a short time, abandoning additional water within the pot that has not been correctly soaked up. As talked about above, I like to recommend avoiding this through the use of a pasta form that lists an 8-minute cooking time, as a way to correctly mix with the liquid and cheese ratios on this recipe. Or if not, you’re welcome to make use of no matter pasta form you want, then simply double-check that you just solely have about 1/2 cup of starchy pasta water remaining within the pot (discarding any additional) earlier than mixing within the cheese.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta. For the reason that pasta will proceed to cook dinner a bit extra within the pot if you are stirring within the cheese, it’s important that you just solely boil the pasta till it’s *simply* shy of al dente so that it’s going to not be overcooked ultimately. Should you hold an in depth eye on the pasta and provides it a style check or two close to the top of its cooking time, you’ll be good to go!
  • At all times shred the cheese by hand. Retailer-bought shredded cheeses are coated with an anti-clumping combination that stops them from melting nicely right into a easy sauce. So anytime you’re making mac and cheese, I like to recommend buying blocks of cheese and shredding them by hand.
  • Don’t overlook to season. Cheese manufacturers can fluctuate fairly dramatically by way of their saltiness, so don’t overlook to offer the pasta one closing style check after mixing within the cheese and season it with a closing spherical of salt and pepper if wanted.

Potential Recipe Variations

This mac and cheese recipe is designed to be a base recipe that you may add to and customise nonetheless you’d like, so don’t hesitate to experiment and have enjoyable with it! For instance, be happy to…

  • Use extra cheese: My unique model of this recipe known as for 4 cups (as an alternative of two cups) of cheddar, which is after all additional tacky and scrumptious! I want the lighter model, which I nonetheless discover to be a lot tacky, however be happy to make use of nonetheless a lot cheese you like.
  • Use half and half: In order for you a fair creamier mac and cheese, you’re welcome to sub in half and half instead of milk.
  • Use a special mix of cheeses: Different cheeses that may work nicely instead of (or blended with) cheddar might embrace fontina, gouda, gruyere, havarti, Monterrey Jack, or pepperjack cheese.
  • Add a protein: Hen, beef, pork, bacon (or guanciale, pancetta, prosciutto, and so on), sausage, shrimp, salmon, scallops, or plant-based “meats” would all be scrumptious choices.
  • Add veggies or greens: Asparagus, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, fennel, inexperienced beans, kale, mushrooms, onions, spinach, candy potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini or different pasta-friendly veggies can be nice.
  • Add additional seasonings: There are infinite ways in which you possibly can mess around with the seasonings on this macaroni and cheese recipe. You may add in some further recent or dried herbs (similar to basil, chives, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, and so on), different seasonings that you just take pleasure in (such Cajun seasoning, herbs de Provence, za’atar, and so on), lemon juice, or further sauces (similar to basil pesto, Mexican salsa verde, pumpkin purée, and so on). Simply make sure you thoughtfully add seasonings that can pair nicely with no matter cheese mix that you just use.

Extra Mac and Cheese Recipes

On the lookout for extra cozy home made macaroni and cheese recipes to strive? Listed below are just a few of our faves:


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My favourite one-pot stovetop mac and cheese recipe may be able to go in lower than half-hour and at all times tastes completely creamy, tacky and so comforting.

  • 1 pound raw pasta (I used cavatappi*)
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon advantageous sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 to 4 cups (8 to 16 ounces) freshly-grated sharp cheddar cheese (see word under)
  • 1 cup (1 ounce) finely-grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly-ground black pepper, to style

  1. Prepare dinner the pasta. Mix the pasta, water, milk, Dijon, sea salt and garlic powder in a big stockpot. Warmth over medium-high warmth, stirring the pasta as soon as each couple of minutes, till the water reaches a boil. Regulate warmth as wanted to keep up a rolling boil. Proceed cooking the pasta, stirring a few times per minute, till the pasta is *simply* barely al dente. (Cooking time will rely on the form of pasta that you just use, so please hold an in depth eye on it.) Take away pot from warmth.
  2. Take away extra water (if wanted). Examine to see how a lot starchy pasta water stays within the pot. If it appears that there’s greater than 1/2 cup or so, dip a heatproof measuring cup in to take away and save the surplus water, then set it to the facet. (If by probability there isn’t a starchy pasta water left, please add 1/2 cup scorching water to the pot.)
  3. Add cheese. Add the cheese to the pasta and gently stir till fully melted. If the pasta appears too dry, stir a few of the reserved starchy pasta water again in as wanted.
  4. Season. Style and season with further salt if wanted.
  5. Serve. Serve heat, garnished with just a few twists of black pepper and luxuriate in!


Sort of pasta: The pasta form that you just use right here is a vital issue, for the reason that cooking time (and thus, the quantity of water soaked up) by completely different pasta shapes can fluctuate dramatically. I like to recommend utilizing a pasta form that lists an roughly 8-minute cooking time on its package deal, similar to cavatappi, which is proven within the images above. Or in case your pasta lists a special cooking time, simply word that you could be want to make use of roughly cooking water.

Quantity of cheese: My unique model of this recipe known as for 4 cups of cheddar, which is scrumptious, but in addition felt like a bit heavy. After remaking this recipe a number of occasions over time, I want making it now with 2 cups good-quality white cheddar, which nonetheless tastes a lot tacky to me. However after all, you’re welcome to make use of whichever quantity of cheese you like.

Recipe edit: This recipe was up to date in 2022. The unique recipe known as for two tablespoons butter and a pair of tablespoons flour (sautéed collectively first to make a roux), mixed with 3 cups water, 4 cups milk, 1 pound raw pasta, 1 teaspoon advantageous sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon floor mustard (all simmered collectively till the pasta is cooked), mixed with 4 cups shredded cheddar and 1/2 cup Parmesan (stirred with the pasta till melted). I omitted the roux from the up to date model as a result of I discovered it pointless to thicken the cheese sauce and subbed Dijon for floor mustard hold it stocked of their kitchens.

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posted on September 12, 2022 by Ali

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