Miracle Mac and Cheese

It’s a MIRACLE. Macaroni and cheese that is smooth, creamy, and gooey, is made in one pot, with only a few ingredients, and is every bit as easy as the blue box. I’m serious. I’m Seriously serious about this Miracle Mac and Cheese.

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.

Originally posted 6-5-12, updated 10-25-18.

Miracle Mac and Cheese

A big bowl full of easy and creamy Miracle Mac and Cheese

Why this works:

If you try to melt cheese into milk, you won’t get very far. The water in the milk repels the fat in the cheese, and everything will just clump up instead of creating a creamy sauce. To get a creamy sauce you need an emulsifying agent. By simmering the pasta in milk for this recipe, you create a starchy milk slurry that helps emulsify the cheese into a smooth, creamy sauce.

Why I love Miracle Mac and Cheese

  • It’s SUPER fast. Just as fast as the blue box, in fact.
  • No unusual ingredients needed (just milk, macaroni, cheese, and whatever you want to season it with)
  • No flour-based béchamel sauce needed
  • Easy to memorize
  • Great for last minute meals, uses only pantry staples
  • The sauce is rich and creamy with less cheese than other mac and cheese recipes

Why I don’t love Miracle Mac and Cheese

  • You really need to eat this one fresh because it doesn’t stay creamy when reheated

Since first discovering this Miracle Mac and Cheese method, I’ve found a new easy mac and cheese method that I like even better. The new method uses evaporated milk to emulsify the cheese, and the creamy texture holds up much better. To check out the newer version, see the Will it Skillet Mac and Cheese recipe.

 
A forkful of rich and creamy Miracle Mac and Cheese
Print Recipe
4.29 from 74 votes

Miracle Mac and Cheese

Miracle Mac and Cheese is a quick and easy way to make creamy macaroni and cheese, in one pot, with only a few ingredients, and no processed cheese! 
Keyword: Breakfast, easy
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups milk, divided ($0.70)
  • 2 cups dry macaroni (about 1/2 lb.) ( $0.65)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($1.25)
  • 3/4 tsp salt ($0.04)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard, optional ($0.04)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika, optional ($0.02)
  • 10-15 cranks fresh cracked pepper, optional ($0.02)

Instructions

  • 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, stirring often, until the pasta is tender (about 10 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 you finish stirring to help hold in the steam.
  • 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 1/4 cup of milk.
  • Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese until melted and creamy. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adapted from Revolutionary Mac & Cheese from Macaroni & Cheesecake
Tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

A forkful of rich and creamy Miracle Mac and Cheese

Step By Step Photos

Add Milk to Macaroni
First, combine the dry macaroni noodles and 2 cups of milk in a medium pot. I prefer whole milk, but 2% also works.

Macaroni simmered in milk in the sauce pot until tender
Place a lid on the pot and bring it up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. 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 minutes), then turn the heat off. It is VERY important to stir often during this process and replace the lid as soon as possible after doing so. Once the pasta is tender, there should be a bit of starchy, milky sauce in the bottom of the pot.

Season Macaroni
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 splash more milk. 

Add Cheese to Macaroni
Add the shredded cheese and stir until it has melted in and created a smooth sauce. 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 béchamel sauce made with butter.

Finished Miracle Mac and Cheese
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.

Bowl of Miracle Mac and Cheese ready to eat
Really easy miracle mac and cheese, made with just a few ingredients.