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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese. Serve immediately.
Step By Step Photos
First, combine the dry macaroni noodles and 2 cups of milk in a medium pot. I used 2% milk and it was quite perfect.
Place 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.
As 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.
I 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 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.
And 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.
Really easy macaroni and cheese made with REAL ingredients.