miracle mac n’ cheese

$2.72 recipe / $0.68 serving

It’s a miracle. Macaroni and cheese that is smooth, creamy, and gooey, is made in one pot, requires only a few ingredients, and is every bit as easy as the blue box. I’m serious. Seriously serious.

I’ve seen versions of this recipe around the internet for a while and I really don’t know what took me so long to try it out, but thank god I finally did. This is going to be a new staple in my house and if you’re a fan of mac n’ cheese then you MUST try this today.

Why does it work? Well, if you’re familiar with regular macaroni and cheese recipes, then you know you have to go through the whole bechamel sauce process, which can be tedious and absolutely terrifying to new cooks. The roux in the bechamel sauce is what helps the cheese melt into the sauce rather than sticking together in one big, melted clump. It’s those tiny flour particles that keep everything uniform and smooth. Wellll, this recipe has a short cut version of that. By simmering the pasta in the milk, all of those little starch particles that usually make your pasta water cloudy are in the milk acting just like the flour in the bechamel sauce!! It’s a one step process! BINGO!

Anyway, when I came across this recipe on pinterest and saw the process for the 100th time, I finally decided to give it a try. …and I hope I’ve convinced you to do the same today.

I used sharp cheddar and I’ve found that cheddar melts in better than other cheeses. I seasoned with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and a bit of dijon, but you can use your own blend. Onion or garlic powder would make a nice, subtle mac n’ cheese and a dash of hot sauce will add a zing. Use your taste buds to make it your own!

Miracle Mac n’ Cheese

miracle mac n' cheese

4.5 from 19 reviews
miracle mac n' cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 2¼ cups milk $0.70
  • 2 cups (1/2 lb.) dry macaroni $0.65
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese $1.25
  • ¾ tsp salt $0.04
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard (optional) $0.04
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika (optional) $0.02
  • 10-15 cranks fresh cracked pepper (optional) $0.02
  1. Combine the dry macaroni and 2 cups of milk in a medium pot. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over medium/high heat while occasionally stirring.
  2. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the pasta is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Make sure to stir often during this process to keep the pasta from clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Promptly replace the lid each time to help hold in the moisture.
  3. Once the pasta is soft and has absorbed most of the milk, season with salt, pepper, paprika, and dijon, or the spices of your choice. If the mixture begins to look dry, add the remaining ¼ cup of milk.
  4. Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Revolutionary Mac & Cheese from Macaroni & Cheesecake

miracle mac n' cheese

Step By Step Photos

dry macaroni and milkFirst, combine the dry macaroni noodles and 2 cups of milk in a medium pot. I used 2% milk and it was quite perfect.

bring to boilPlace a lid on top to help hold in moisture and heat. Bring the pot up to a boil over medium/high heat, stirring every few minutes or so. I wouldn’t suggest turning the heat all the way up to high because milk can be delicate and may scorch.

simmerAs soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer until the noodles are soft and have absorbed most of the milk (about 10-15 minutes). It is VERY important to stir often during this process and replace the lid as soon as possible after doing so.

seasonI like to season the mixture before adding the cheese because I feel like it dissolves in easier. Season with whatever you like. A little bit of salt (.5 to 1 tsp) is pretty necessary, but after that just go with it. Even just a touch of onion powder would be great. The type of cheese you’re using will also dictate what seasonings to use. If the mixture begins to look dry here, add a little bit more milk. Turn the heat off at this point.

add cheeseAdd the shredded cheese and stir it in. The residual heat should be enough to melt it into the seasoned milk mixture. I love that this recipe only needs 1 cup of cheese… most macaroni recipes require 2 cups, plus a bechamel sauce made with butter.

smooth, creamy, mac and cheeseAnd then, like magic, you have a smooth, creamy, super cheesy macaroni and cheese! In less than 30 minutes! And no more steps required than with a box mix… it’s a miracle.

miracle macaroni and cheeseReally easy macaroni and cheese made with REAL ingredients.


  1. I used extra-sharp cheddar and it was still kind of blande for my taste. I think I will use more cheese next time. And my pot still dried up a little even with all the milk, so less pasta. Maybe my pot let’s off more steam than yours :)

  2. Instead of smoked paprika and dijon, I used regular paprika and spicy mustard. I used Mexican blend shredded cheese for the cheese. Threw in a whole cup of milk at the end and some flour to thicken it up, and a little butter for flavor (so bad, but so good). Followed the directions otherwise. It came out super tasty. The cheese melted just fine, so I’m not sure what other commenters meant about shredded cheese not working. Maybe it depends on brand?

  3. Sweetjanetoo says:

    First time I made it, was a bit grainy as it cooled. Fixed that, this time, by adding MORE MILK (like 1/2 cup) at the end so that the noodles can absorb it and it doesn’t dry out.

    Also, this time, stirred in 1 cup of thawed peas (for color) at the end. It’s January in the Midwest and we’re longing for color.

    Another hit out of the ballpark. THANK YOU!

  4. awesome GF cooker says:

    This recipe is great! But I do have a suggestion, add different cheeses to the recipe to make the cheese sauce thicker.

  5. Christine J says:

    You’re seriously missing out if you omit the Dijon and smoked paprika. Very easy if you’re vigilant about not letting it boil over.

  6. Edee Lemonier says:

    This was so good and so easy it borders on ridiculous! My store was out of elbows (what the what?) so I used Rotini. I don’t think it matters, as long as it has good surface and nooks and crannies for the cheese sauce. Shells would probably be great, too.

    If you are getting a grainy texture, please make sure you’re not using pre-shredded. They have something added to keep the shreds from sticking together in the bag (something akin to sawdust) and it affects both melting and texture. I used extra sharp cheddar and grated it on my box grater on the side with the teeny holes. It’s super fine, almost like hair, and it melts almost instantly. Ooey Gooey!

    Also, you have to watch it like a hawk!! I have a bit of a mess on my stove because it boiled over. Oops!

    Hands down, one of the best recipes I’ve ever gotten from the Internet – comfort food that’s easier than the fancy schmancy stuff but just as easy (if not easier) and healthier than that crap in the blue box!!! Wahoo!!

  7. Judy says:

    This was really good and cheap to make. I googled “cheap mac n cheese” and this came up. So many of the mac n cheese recipes are expensive to make. Thank you!

  8. Theresa says:

    OMG!! Miracle Mac n cheese, indeed! My family loved this! Wasn’t grainy at all. To others that want to try this recipe, watch it like a hawk and it will turn out perfect (literally only took 10-15 mins). Shamefully, we did double the amount of cheese. Thank you for such a wonderful recipe.

  9. Kalee says:

    I’ve just finished eating this – YUM! I made a few alterations – halved the recipe to make 2 portions (but instead made 1 greedy portion!) swapped macaroni for spaghetti as that’s all I had in the house, added some crispy smoked bacon and raw spinach at the end. I added a bit of water while it was cooking to loosen it up a bit. Incredibly sticky and gooey, perfect winter comfort food!

  10. Waste of cheese. Much simpler to make a basic cheese sauce and turns out way better. Made it and threw it out. Didn’t even eat it.

    • Veronica says:

      What is a “basic cheese sauce”? The one made here seems pretty simple to me.

      • A real cheese sauce, I guess I should say. :) It starts with a flour-butter roux, then milk, then cheese. This one is MUCH easier.

  11. Monica says:

    I made this today, totally craving. Came out well. Used soy milk and it was great! You need to watch the pot because it will overflow, so keep stirring! I love this site, every time I need something quick and inexpensive to eat I come here and type an ingredient I have in my apt, never disappoints. Thank you again for helping a NYC gal eat more than just cereal all day!

  12. Estelle says:

    I was craving some comfort food the other day and Mac & Cheese strongly appealed to me only I didn’t have the boxed kind and didn’t feel like making a roux. So I did a little research and found this recipe. Made it at ounce. It was very good although it had to be eaten very quickly (not a problem!) because it hardened up pretty fast. Then 2 days later, I was feeling like Mac & Cheese again but had no milk left in the fridge. I thought about the way this recipe come together and improvised. Came up with the most simple thing ever: adding 2 TBS of cream cheese (the softer kind) and all the seasonings to the barely drained pasta (so that there’s a tiny bit of water left to amp up the creaminess factor) and then stirring in the cheese. The texture wasn’t 100% the same as M&C but it was a pretty good dupe and so easy to make :)

  13. Lakey says:

    I have made this many times, it always comes out so creamy and everyone loves it. We double the recipe and it only serves 6 here!

    The only change I make is I use evaporated milk, and a few drops of tobacco.

    • Lakey says:

      Oh and for those who find it grainy, if you are using pre-shredded cheese the cellulose (the anti-caking agent, which is made of wood pulp) adds to that.

  14. Chloe says:

    Since I have found this recipe I make it all the time when my friend comes over. She is a lover of cheese and yes, this recipe is ridiculously easy.
    I love the paprika and dijon. Just. Wow. I also love to add onions and garlic, because they may or may not be my favorite foods (I do like 4x the garlic you usually do in your recipes and onions are the best) :P
    Lastly, I just wanted to share that I love making this recipe with almond milk. It adds this nuttiness that is so subtle and delicious. Also, I usually use this recipe as guidelines. My friend and I usually add a lot more milk and cheese, oops :)

  15. Keri says:

    Omg. This is delicious. I made this recipe for myself, and it turned out wonderful. :] I didn’t use the paprika or the mustard. Super delicious, and full of comfort. Thank you!

  16. Made this as a comfort food brunch. It will never serve 4 in this house :-) But that’s okay. I was over-generous with my “cup” of cheese, as I am wont to do with cheese in general.

    Had to add more milk, and it was a bit grainy, but still stellar. I find most homemade mac’n’cheese will get grainy, so it doesn’t bother me and it’s not just this recipe that does it.

  17. This is probably the only recipe of yours that I’ve tried that really didn’t work for me. :( I found that the cheese sauce was very sticky/clumpy and not creamy at all, even after I added more milk and even a little butter to try to loosen it up. It was edible, but not at all what I was looking for in a mac and cheese. I’ve had better success with this recipe (http://www.thekitchn.com/weeknight-recipe-easy-homemade-82588), which requires a bit more work but gave me better results.

  18. johnny108 says:

    Made two batches tonight. By the book is amazing with tuna fish.
    With pizza cheese blend?
    Add diced tomatoes, and pepperoni….pizza mac n’ cheese!

  19. Helen S. says:

    So good, but so far I haven’t been able to pull off the perfect texture. Gotta keep practicing with this one.

  20. EMILY says:

    I’ve made this with almond milk! and it still turned out great, highly recommend it to lessen the fat content. I’ve yet to try it vegan cheese

  21. Christina says:

    I tried this and our whole family loves it! Even my husband who is very picky keeps asking for this. I did add in some additions to make it even better.

    I added bacon and onions. In the same pot (dutch oven I used) I fried the onion with the bacon, took it out but didn’t remove the fat. then I stuck to this recipe and added in the bacon and onion along with the cheese.

    Thanks again for your awesome site!

  22. the only problem is i am eating the whole pot of mac and cheese. Better only make 1/4 of this recipe next time.

  23. awesome. awesome awesome. I love mac and cheese. I used a little salt and pepper and garlic and paprika. The best mac and cheese i have ever had.
    Thanks beth for your recipes.

  24. Jenni says:

    Has any one tried this with gluten free pasta?

  25. I made this with Mexican Blend cheese and it came out good for a quick mac and cheese. Mine was also on the sweet side and a bit grainy. Either way, it will be good for an emergency mac and cheese for the kiddos. Thanks!

  26. Rashonda says:

    I love this recipe! I’ve made it many times as it is a regular go to in my house when feeding my two year old daughter. Thank you for sharing!

  27. Lyndsay says:

    This is a great, simple recipe. I wonder how horseradish mustard would work instead of dijon?

  28. Natascha says:

    Totally loved the recipe. Just added salt pepper and bacon. Must eat while hot though. Gets tough when cold

  29. Audrey says:

    A friend of mine made mac and cheese recently with poblano peppers and a dollop of greek yogurt on top. It was out of this world! I think I’ll give this recipe a kick by adding peppers :)

  30. Sarah says:

    This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try it. I have been looking everywhere for a good pumpkin mac and cheese, but I haven’t found one yet. Do you think I could add pumpkin to this? What would you change if you were going to add in some pumpkin puree? Thanks Beth, your site is amazing! Can’t wait for the book.

    • I think I would try whisking the pumpkin into the milk before combining it with the pasta. That way it will all sort of cook together. I’ve never tried it, though, so I’m not 100% sure it would work! :)

  31. Melissa says:

    Just finished making this recipe (currently eating it) and I absolutely love it!!

    Okay, well I did find it to be too salty for my taste, but that is so easily fixed (next time I make it)

    It was so easy, so creamy and way better than the box! I am always looking for things I can make in 1 pot because I loathe having to both cook AND wash dishes.

    Awesome site!

  32. This was so easy and amazing! I used 2% organic milk and think it was only a little tiny bit grainy. That may just be the pasta starch rolling into the milk??? Anyway it isn’t the best meal I’ve ever had, or the best mac & cheese, but it was the easiest and best we’ve ever had at home and I am craving it as I write this. THANK YOU for this website. I am obsessed. Thank you for all the veggie options. Keep em coming.

    P.S. I’ve had problems with your website about every other time I try to access it. Some kind of DNS error. But the stuff on here is so damn brilliant that I’ll keep trying until I get it. :)

  33. Crystal says:

    I used 2% organic milk, and my sauce also turned out grainy. I’m guessing that conventional milk would be better. I’ll try that next time, because the flavor was delicious and the simplicity can’t be beat!

    • I used skim milk and added 2-3 Tbl butter as the pasta boils. I tried adding the butter after, when I added the cheese, but it wasn’t as creamy a final product. Adding it during the cooking stage was perfect!

  34. I made this for dinner last night and it was really awful. I don’t know what I did wrong. The milk made it taste too sweet and the sauce was pasty and grainy. Not good at all.

    • It might have just needed more salt to counteract the sweetness of the milk (the level of salt in cheese is quite variable, so it’s always best to customize the added salt). I’m not sure about the graininess, though. I have yet to experience that, although it seems a few other readers have. This recipe does not produce results that are exactly like regular mac n’ cheese, but it’s good in a pinch (at least to me). I think it might just be one of those recipes that some people like and others don’t.

  35. I made this last night…it is as good as promised. I fear how much mac n cheese I may end up eating as a result. YUM.

  36. Nicci says:

    I gave this a try last night and it certainly pulled together quickly, which was a blessing since my *original* dinner plan was taking MUCH longer than anticipated.

    I used elbows, skim milk and a cup of mexican blend shredded cheese. I loved the speed with which I was able to make this, but I felt that the milk created such a sweet flavor in the pasta that it overwhelmed the cheese and seasonings. Kiddo enjoyed it and said he’d eat again, but still prefers the traditional method. All in all, I’d make it again for a quickie meal. Thanks!

  37. It was good. Addmittedly (and expectedly) not as good as a more time consuming mac, but it is quick and easy. But BOY do you have to pretty much constantly stir when simmering.

  38. I used farfalle, and instead of cheddar I did a mixture of shredded mexican style cheese and shredded jalepeno jack. The texture is perfect.

  39. I used farfalle, and instead of cheddar I did a mixture of shredded mexican style cheese and shredded jalepeno jack. The texture is perfect.

  40. Janine says:

    This was good but I should have read the instructions more carefully. I’ll be more careful not to boil the milk too much next time. I waited for the milk to boil before adding the noodles.

    Next time I’ll read the instructions more carefully!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the awesome recipe – I made this two nights ago, and then tonight decided to experiment – I used shells instead of elbows, only added salt and pepper for spices, 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and approximately 2oz worth of frozen spinach (defrosted and added to the pasta about half way through the simmer).

  42. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone tried freezing portions of this?

  43. Yummy! I have a killer Mac and cheese recipe I should share sometime. Thanks for linking up at on the menu Monday Pinteresting ideas edition. :)

  44. Anonymous says:

    This looks so easy! I don’t eat mac n cheese but Dru loves it and the recipe I usually makes takes forever. Especially for something I don’t really eat so I’m totally trying this. Although it seems a little too easy to be true. Anyway glad I found this one.


  45. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe! Just made it last night and added some steamed broccoli (you know, to be healthy haha). It was perfect!

    Thank you again!!

  46. This is amazing! I’m going to be making this from now on for my girls!! Move over ghetto processed mac and cheese! Miracle mac & cheese to the rescue!! Thank you! You’re an amazing lady! I can’t wait for your book!!

    • Why does it have to be “ghetto?” Why can’t it be trailer park? Or why do you have to use any kind of racial insult at all? Just wondering.

  47. Thank you, this was awesome!!!:)

  48. Anonymous says:

    I made it with Whole Wheat pasta and low fat cheese. It was STILL good!
    I quickly scanned the ingredients and when it was done thought you has sirracha sauce in it -you didn’t, but I tried it, and that was good too!
    Perfect meal for when I am to tired to cook my darlings a meal at night. Thanks!

  49. Delicious!!! Easy!!!! I used penne, that’s what I had. Extra sharp cheddar, 2% milk. A little prepared Dijon. Pepper, no salt. No salt needed. However, it doesn’t serve 4! I gobbled up half and looked longingly at the other half…decided to post while I let my conscience take hold:-) A terrific single gal recipe. Will definitely be making again.

  50. Thanks for a great recipe! I don’t know why, but I never would have thought to cook it in milk! One of those “DUH!!!” moments!!!!!

  51. Melanie :) says:

    Hi Beth,

    What a wonderful recipe! I have celiac and it came out just perfect with brown rice macaroni noodles. Made it exactly as written and just like the other Canadian poster Autumn, I did use the additional .25 of a cup just like you suggested.

    The sauce was just a creamy dream, and my husband gobbled it up saying ‘that was the easiest comfort food you have ever made’. He sits in our kitchen to keep me company and he was just getting settled in when it was already done lol.

  52. Toni H. says:

    Made this for the second time this morning when I woke up with a craving for mac and cheese. This time I added dry mustard instead of the dijon and frozen peas. Excellent!

  53. I made this tonight because I had a serious craving for some comfort food and it was awesome! I didn’t have any cheddar but a mix of left over cheeses (M. Jack slices, mozzarella and parm) but it turned out yummy and I used some things up. The only thing I think I’d change next time is the paprika, didn’t really suit my palette but that’s just me. Thank you for this great recipe!!! :)

  54. Leighanne says:

    Love this recipe!!! I am a horrible cook and I was able to easily make this!!!! I also tried using half pepperjack cheese and half chedder and it turned out AMAZING!! Cheesey with a little kick!
    Keep up the good work Beth!!!!

  55. This is such a miracle that I even halved it to make a tiny pot, wandered away, ended up with milk all over my stove and it STILL came out delicious. I’m going to make this so many more times.

  56. I just finished up eating a bowl of this. So yummy! Thanks again for another great recipe. I can’t wait to try this with a bunch of different cheeses. I always make the mac and cheese for the holidays. I thought I had found the perfect mac and cheese recipe, but this one beats it out for ease of cooking and real ingredients (the other used condensed cheese soup). Once again, thank you so much for posting this.

  57. This recipe was so tasty!

  58. I wonder if having to add a lot more milk is due to the heat being too high. It sounds like maybe the milk is boiling away before it has a chance to soften the noodles. Try turning the heat down to the lowest point that still has the milk bubbling (a very gentle simmer) and keep the lid on as much as possible between stirs. I’m not sure if that will help with the graininess, but hopefully!

  59. Mine ended up being a little grainy… also, I had to add milk throughout the process because my noodles didn’t seem to cook sufficiently with the written amount. Perhaps they were too dry near the end to get a smooth texture? I added a lot already, though :\

  60. Hmm, that’s strange. Are you using regular pasta? Did you keep the lid on between stirs?

  61. Whoa, I had to add upwards for 4 cups of milk to this recipe. My noodles still aren’t done where I like them. I also added butter….

  62. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for another great recipe. I made it with half and half since I had some left over from another recipe and I used some Dubliner Irish Cheddar and it turned out wonderful. I also added a little water to it when I reheated it the next day since it was not as saucy the following day but the splash of water did the trick.

  63. as above it is really tasty if you eat it later on or reheat it, but it isn’t very saucy. The boy loved it though, couldn’t get enough of it :)

  64. Anonymous says:

    Just made for the family, makes a very dense creamy mac and cheese. Using sharp cheddar definitely adds flavor and leave room to play around with the seasonings as suggested. If it’s coming out bland then you’re not adding enough flavor or your using bland cheese. Serve it up quick, it’s better fresh and just melted hot!

  65. Just made this with penne as I had no macaroni, I used 2.5 cups of pasta. I didn’t keep the lid on as it just kept boiling and I was worried it would scorch. The pasta was firm but it was tasty :) I added a little water rather than more milk. I also added a good grind of black pepper and a squeeze of garlic paste. I topped it with a little grated cheddar an
    d some parmesan and popped it in the oven for ten mins. This was really tasty and ill make it again :-)

    Oh yeah I added cut up hotdogs too :-)

  66. Anonymous says:

    I hate wasting money, it irritates me to no end. And not even edible.

  67. Anonymous says:

    Horrible. I fixed it exactly as written with good ingredients and it had NO taste whatsoever. Heating up frozen dinner as I write this. Not only a wasteof money (I’m on a budget), but a waste of time also.

  68. I made this tonight, used shells and doubled the recipe. Awesomesauce!

  69. Jennifer – It might be because the heat is too high? I would suggest turning the heat off as soon as it’s done boiling and before you stir in the seasonings. That way it will have a minute or two to cool off just enough so the cheese doesn’t separate. Hopefully that helps!

    Carol – Cute blog! Especially the name. Next time we have a NOLA blogger meet up, I’ll let you know!

    Kchamp7 – Sure, I’d be flattered! Thanks!

  70. Hi, my boyfriend and I run a blog at whatcanwecook.wordpress.com, and we’re both trying to learn to cook. We’re about to add a page about blogs we love, and I thought I would give a heads up about putting yours up there. Let me know if this isn’t okay with you! Love your recipes!!!

  71. I can’t wait to try this – I hope it works with Lactaid milk!

    Fellow New Orleanian,


  72. I think what the other commenter meant when they said “fuzzy” is what happened to me too. It was sort of grainy like what can happen when you make a regular mac n cheese recipe and the dairy/roux sort of “breaks”.

    I used skim milk and followed the directions. Not sure what to try next. I wonder if the preshredded cheese I used had too much non clumping agnet. Any suggestions to keep from getting that grainy texture?

  73. I absolutely love your website. I have made this dish several times. I love how you break everything down by cost. You are speaking my love languages!!!

  74. Anonymous says:

    This was fantastic!!! I added extra paprika, garlic powder, dry mustard powder, and onion powder. My one recommendation is to go EASY on the onion – I was a little heavy handed and it was a bit overpowering. That said I still loved this and will definitely make it again!! Second recipe I’ve tried from here and it was a winner, just like the first (chili cheese beef and mac)!

  75. Anonymous says:

    Made this a second time and used Diana’s tip of adding a cup Of water and cooking with the lid off. This worked perfect for me. I commented above that when I made it the first time it was a little dry. Yummy!!

  76. Anonymous says:

    Very easy. I found it needed more milk as mine turned out a little dry. Very good. Thank you!!

  77. It is Food on Friday time at Carole’s Chatter. This week it is all about cheese. It would be great if you would link this post in to Food on Friday

  78. Anonymous says:

    The recipe certainly was easy, but mine ended up tasting rather starchy.

  79. Thanks for the recipe! Love your quick, cheap, simple recipes.

  80. I will always try a new recipe for mac and cheese! Yum!

  81. Anonymous says:

    this is revolutionary….. mac and cheese that’s not horrible for you?? you’re a goddess. I made mine with sauteed onions and mushrooms. yum!

  82. Hi Beth,

    I tried this over the weekend and it worked really well. I can’t believe this method hasn’t been covered more!

    I have a few recommended changes you may want to consider trying:

    The first is to add 2 tbsp of butter. It not only adds flavour, but it will help contribute to the “roux”.

    The second is to add about a cup or so of water, and then just leave the lid off. This way, you can stir more frequently and you don’t accidentally get pasta stuck to the bottom of the pot.

  83. This recipe is genius. I’ve made it twice now, the first time with crumbled bacon & asparagus, and just now again, with some garlic and sriracha to make spicy mac! Both times I found the recipe very forgiving as long as I heeded your advice to stir often and keep the lid on so too much liquid doesn’t evaporate. Oh, and I also took leftovers to work for lunch the next day and they reheated surprisingly well with no weird changes in texture. Thanks, Beth!!

  84. This comment has been removed by the author.

  85. I used skim milk like several other posters, and it worked out just fine. I also crumbled a little goat cheese on top just before serving. It was awesome! I suppose you could have mixed the goat cheese in also; I just thought of it at the last minute. Thanks for the great recipe, Beth!

  86. Just made this, and its both super simple, and super tasty! The key is your cheese. Use a good quality cheddar cheese. And I agree, don’t skimp on the smoked paprika! It adds that something special. My husband threw in a can of tuna to make it more of a complete meal. Great on its own, or with some protein thrown in.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Too bad, all we have other than that is chocolate soy milk. Maybe I will make this for myself some night when he’s not around ;). Thanks!

  88. Hmm, I really don’t know about coconut milk. Someone else already said that almond milk doesn’t work, so I would guess probably not.

  89. Anonymous says:

    Do you know if it would work with coconut milk? My bf is mildly lactose intolerant (mostly milk and cream affects him).

  90. So glad you enjoyed it! Yours looks fantastic!

  91. Anon – Hmm, I guess I don’t understand what you mean by a “fuzzy” texture.

  92. Just found your excellent blog and I have only read a few recipes but can tell you are a good cook and that this is going to be somewhere i come back to again. Thank you. Like the succinct recipes too.

    Aine (in Scotland, UK)

  93. Anonymous says:

    Mine had a fuzzy texture, very creamy but fuzzy, no matter how much more milk I added. I resorted to trying to fix it with butter with no luck either. Any idea where I went wrong :(

  94. This was AMAZING. I used whole wheat elbows, skim milk, and regular sharp cheddar cheese, and it tasted very much like my beloved Kraft version. Thank you so much!

  95. Anon – From what I’ve tried so far, cheddar definitely melts in the best. Mild or sharp, doesn’t matter. It melts in nice and smooth :)

  96. Anonymous says:

    I tried this with an Italian cheese blend too (it was all that was in the house) and it didn’t work very well. It started to separate, but it was still creamier than I expected. Is there a particular type of cheese that seems to work best?

  97. This is the best homemade mac n cheese I have ever had! Shhhh… don’t tell Grandma!

  98. Anon – I haven’t heard any reviews about soy milk, but a reviewer yesterday said that almond milk definitely doesn’t work… so I’d proceed with caution!

  99. Anonymous says:

    Do you think this would work with soy milk? I never buy regular milk, but I might have to for this recipe.

  100. Jasmine Tan says:

    I wonder how this work with Lactaid milk; we had to switch recently for my daughter. I’m going to try it tonight. And we tried another of your recipe; the chilli cheese beef mac and my husband LOVED it; his comment “better than Hamburger Helper any day.”

  101. I would just like to say that this is brilliant. And no mess!

  102. AndiNeil – Woah, you’re right! My calculation was way off for the milk :P I’ll have to fix that when I get home from work today. Thanks!!

  103. For anyone who uses almond milk? TOTALLY doesn’t work in this recipe.

    I’ve switched to Trader Joe’s almond milk (from the frig section) about 18 months ago. This is the only thing it hasn’t worked with.

  104. Wow, Beth, so much WIN!!

    I doubled the recipe so my husband and I would have leftovers for lunches this week. I snuck a few bites of the finished Mac and Cheese and it was incredible!! Then, I added a little bit more milk and cheese, two drained cans of chunk light tuna and about a cup of frozen peas. I sprinkled some Italian seasoned bread crumbs on top and baked it for 30 minutes. My husband took one bite and said “Yes, I’m a fan. You can make this again any time!”

    Thanks for yet another new favorite recipe that is quick, easy and oh-so-delicious!

  105. I have a question… what kind of milk are you using? Because $1.40 seems awfully high for just over 2 cups of milk. We pay like $3.86 a gallon in Houston.

  106. Ashlee – Depending on how much tuna and peas you add, you probably will need some more milk/cheese… but you may need to just experiment with it. I added about a half pound of chopped broccoli to my last batch and it was just on the verge of needing more cheese sauce :)

  107. Beth, if I were to throw the finished product in a baking dish with some tuna, peas, and panko bread crumbs on top and bake it for a bit, do you think I’d need to add any extra milk or cheese?

  108. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Anon! I love mac ‘n cheese but I don’t buy milk.

    I tried googling the answer to see if soymilk would work and a couple of people on other sites said that sweetened soymilk (the stuff I typically drink) makes the mac ‘n cheese too sweet or gives it an odd flavor.

    But I’ll give it a try nevertheless! :) Thank you for your input!

  109. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous– I was just shy of 2 cups of milk so I added a quarter cup of unsweetened almond milk and it turned out fine. I’m not sure how it would work if they whole thing were almond milk. I read on the blog that the recipe is adapted from that several readers had success using soy milk and soy cheese.

  110. I’ve done this before and it is **awesome** if you get it right. Be sure to hover over the stove the entire time!

    Ive tried it using whole milk and skim milk and the skim is way way way less heavy and more delicious. Enjoy!

  111. Anonymous says:

    Do you know if this process would work with unsweetened almond milk?

  112. I thought I would take this to another level by using an Italian cheese blend…WRONG! Main cheese is mozzarella and mozzarella=stringy. Had to do quite a bit to save it including a pat of butter and a spoonful of cream cheese. Also added peas, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Don’t do what I did.

  113. Beth, this is great! I added frozen spinach and used whole wheat pasta, to up the nutrition content even more. Thanks!

  114. Anonymous says:

    Made this last night. I doubled the recipe and served it to my husband and I, our daughter and two of her friends. I served it alongside a simple tomato salad of chopped tomatoes and basil drizzled with olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. Only one serving of leftovers at the end of the feeding frenzy. It was delicious and easy. I think next time I’m going to experiment with adding broccoli, chopped green onions, peas. The spinach is a good idea, too.

  115. YESSS I’m so happy! I literally made your mac n cheese with broccoli yesterday and while it was delicious and I have plently of time to cook, I love ‘simple’. Totally doing this method with the leftovers are gone. (i too love that this uses half the cheese! its expensive, and fatty)

  116. Jennifer Nobles says:

    I was a little skeptical about this (due to my abilities, not yours!) but it turned out perfect. I will say that I wasn’t initially going to add paprika but realized in the end that it is key!

    I am thinking next time I make this I will add peas or tuna (or both). Grape tomatoes might be good too. The possibilities are endless. It really turned out wonderfully and thanks to you I think I have another easy meal in my arsenal. My boyfriend will be delighted.

  117. I really like the simplicity of this recipe. And, you managed to both simplify the recipe and make it less expensive. When I did my “Cheap Bastid” version of it, I didn’t come close to your price although I since have managed to get it down to about $4. Good job.

  118. Anonymous says:

    This. Is. Genius.

    Add in a tin of tuna, along with some chopped onion, frozen peas and sweetcorn, and it’s a one-pot wonder meal that’s healthy to boot.

    Top Tip: try adding a bit of old-fashioned curry powder when you add the spices (a teaspoon or so, keep it subtle). You won’t be sorry.

  119. Andria – Thanks for the typo alert! And I love that you added extra veggies and lentils for your little one :D

    Cortney – Genius! I’m definitely going to try to make an alfredo this way!

  120. Cortney says:

    I wonder…do you think this would work as an alfredo sauce, too? It would certainly cut down on the calories usually in an alfredo sauce…

  121. Andria says:

    First time commenter, long time follower and I’ve made tons of your recipes and have never been disappointed. This one was AMAAAAAHHHZING and super easy. Also all of the ingredients are almost always on hand. Gonna wear this one out, I can already tell! Thank you! For my one year old son, I mixed in spinach, green peas and leftover lentils (from your lentil taco recipe my family had yesterday) and he went berserk over it! (Also, typo alert I think in step two, it says 10-2 minutes, I’m assuming it was meant to say 10-12 minutes).

  122. Cortney says:

    As soon as I saw this post, I was off to the kitchen. Made it exactly as written (well, without the extra spices…I’m kind of a mac n cheese purist–lol) and it’s quite good. I did have to add some extra milk at the end to make it creamier, and I’m a butter fiend, so a little of that went in, too. Very, very good recipe. Thanks!

  123. oh yes, this is the only way i cook mac and cheese now. it’s so good!!!!!

  124. i don’t always comment, but i pin and try (eventually)!! so many of your recipes!! also, i have almost used a bottle of srichacha sauce since february!! so awesome! thank you, thank you, thank you!

  125. Autumn says:

    Made this tonight and it was fantastic. I only had 2 cups of milk (between homo/skim/cream) and it definitely could have used another 1/4 to 1/2 a cup. But the flavour was amazing. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks so much – perfect for the rainy Canadian day we had today.

  126. oh man, so brilliant and so easy!!! i have to try this soon, even though i technically shouldn’t have too much dairy..

  127. You’ve convinced me, I’m off to make this for dinner tonight!

  128. Anonymous says:

    If you’re using pre-shredded cheddar, that will likely also add to the creaminess, because the pre-shredded cheddar is coated with a cornstarch so that the shreds don’t clump.

  129. Anonymous says:

    I just made this for lunch for myself, my mother, and my niece. Had to scale up the milk significantly, used a total of about three cups and my mum still said the pasta was too firm (but she likes hers mushy, so I ignored her). My niece and I loved it! I made it with cheddar and parmesan, but will skip the parm next time unless I can get fresh, because the green can stuff doesn’t mix in well.

  130. Anonymous says:

    Will skim or lowfat milk work?

  131. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have any shredded cheese. Do you think regular sliced cheese would work if I tear it into tiny pieces?

  132. Oh boy! I hope you’re right, this sounds awesome!!

  133. Jenn says:

    I despise roux (can’t stand the flour-y taste) so I’m excited to try this!

    • Sounds like you need to cook the flour and butter longer before adding the milk. If you cook it for several minutes, it will not taste like flour. :)

  134. This looks much, much better than a one-pot mac and cheese recipe i tried recently. it used the same method – cooking the pasta in the milk – but turned out much less creamy than i had hoped and how yours seems to have come out. once i added the cheese, the moisture seemed to disappear and i was left with pasta that just tasted like cheese…had i known to add a little extra milk, i probably could have saved the dish. can’t wait to try this recipe out!

  135. Anonymous says:

    Wow I’ll totally be trying this! I just made my first pot of homemade mac n cheese last week with bechamel method. My son loves mac n cheese. Now if only I could locate some wholegrain Spiderman pasta. Lol…

  136. I recently tried 2 different crock pot recipes for mac and cheese to blog about in the future, as I’d had always done the stove top bechamel method, but this looks even better & quicker – so will try this and include a mention. I agree a tad of hot sauce is good, and I always, also add a tad of nutmeg.

  137. Fewer steps than the box, even….because you don’t have to Dig out the colander and drain the water off! We will be trying this SOON!

  138. Yum! The macaroni and cheese recipes I’ve seen often require condensed milk, which I don’t often have around and leads to another trip to the grocery store (more impulse buys), so I’m pleased to see that this has simple staple ingredients. In fact I might go make it right now…

  139. Yum Beth, you’ve done it again! Can’t wait to try this!

  140. Genius!

  141. Anonymous says:

    This looks delicious. Also, added plus is it is way healthier than and bechamel sauce recipe I’ve tried- only milk, no butter, less cheese, even less flour. Hmmm… If I use whole wheat pasta I could almost call this health food! :D

    • If you use veggie pasta (Barilla has three great veggie blends) it can be even healthier :)

      • I’ve wanted to try that product!

        • They are delicious and the texture is very similar to regular pasta, I highly recommend them.

          • Sylvia says:

            See now…that is exactly what I did, Barilla veggie rotini – before even reading the comments! I got so excited when I read the recipe that I didn’t get that far down the page lol. :) I can’t figure out why mine got kinda gritty…it started out super creamy and awesome but as it cooled just a little (enough to eat it!), it started getting gritty and clumpy! :( Help me, Beth! Where did I go wrong? (sigh) Definitely need to know how to get this recipe right next batch…can’t afford to give up on a cheap AND healthy mac’n’cheese recipe!

          • I think it does just naturally get a little clumpy as it cools. You pretty much have to eat it straight away when it’s done. :P

          • Sylvia says:

            Awwww :( Guess that means next time I won’t double the batch to save some for later lol! Lesson learned – but at least it reheated pretty well with some extra milk added in! Thanks Beth :)

  142. Dominique Montgomery says:

    WOW This is definitely a miracle!!!!! so easy! Thanks Beth!

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