Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

4.96 from 23 votes

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This One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is so simple that you will wonder why you haven’t always been making it this way. Ready in 15 minutes and 1 pot to clean- I’m sold!

This recipe is extra easy because you cook the macaroni right in the milk that helps to make the sauce. There’s no water to boil or noodles to rinse. You just cook it all in one pan and it’s done in about 20 minutes. And now you know how to make mac and cheese at home!

This One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is extra easy because you cook the macaroni right in the milk that helps to make the sauce. Ready in 15 minutes!
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One Pot Mac and Cheese

I have all kind of macaroni and cheese recipes on the blog, and today I have a Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese to add to the collection. This is a great recipe to make for lunch when your kids are in the mood for something simple, hot, and filling, and you need something that comes together in without any fuss. This recipe is so easy and we loved the extra creamy results.

My other stove-top macaroni and cheese recipe is still a favorite, but I don’t always have canned milk on hand. The difference between the two is that this recipes makes a really thick and sticky macaroni and cheese (it almost has the texture and taste of baked macaroni to me), and the other recipe has almost a runny sauce to it. They are both excellent but different enough that I wanted to share both recipes.

How to Make Mac and Cheese

  1. Homemade mac and cheese is something that everyone can cook! It is so quick to make and takes very little effort. Before you start cooking, you will want to get out and measure all of the ingredients (there’s only 5) so you are ready to roll. 
  2. This mac and cheese recipe is unique because you cook the noodles right in the milk. This technique creates the creamiest result. Start by using a large pot add the milk, butter, and macaroni noodles. Turn the burner on to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often. iIf the milk seems to stick to the bottom of the pan simply reduce the heat.  Stir often until the noodles are cooked, about 15-18 minutes. 
  3. Slow and low if your friend with mac and cheese. If you cook this step too fast and hot, the milk will curdle. Next, stir in the cheese and salt until everything is melted.
  4. Depending on the type and sharpness of cheese you may want to add up to another cup of cheese. Give it a little taste test.  I used a moderately sharp cheddar and liked it at about 1 and ¼ cups of cheese. If I had used something milder I think I would have used more. I’ve made this a handful of times and each time I seem to use a different amount of cheese, depending on my mood and how much cheese I have in the fridge. Mac and Cheese is best served right away, so dish up and enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What pasta is best for mac and cheese?

I prefer elbow macaroni but you can mix it up with bow tie, fusilli or penne pasta.

Do I need to drain the pasta with the one pot mac and cheese method?

You don’t need to drain the pasta in this recipe. When you cook the pasta directly in the milk it will be extra creamy and the sauce sticks to the pasta so much better.

What is the best milk to use for mac and cheese?

In order to get the full creaminess factor, I recommend using whole milk or at least 2%. 

Can you use water instead of milk for mac and cheese?

You can use water instead, but your mac n cheese will lack in creaminess.

How do you fix runny mac and cheese?

If you end up having too much liquid in your macaroni and cheese, just simply  bring the contents back to a boil. Boil the milk down to the desired level. Make sure you stir constantly or the milk or cheese will burn on the bottom of your pot.

Does mac and cheese make good leftovers?

This stuff in the blue box is not ideal for leftovers. In fact, it is the worst. The sauce gets powdery and is just a weird texture. But this one pot mac n cheese tastes SO good reheated. You still have the creamy factor and the flavors have a chance to deepen. I recommend eating the leftovers within 1-2 days and store it properly in the refrigerator. 

Title Image for Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese and a white bowl of macaroni and cheese on a blue and white plaid cloth

If you’ve tried this easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe or any other recipe on Bless this Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories AND add your photo to your comment so that other can see your creation.

4.96 from 23 votes

Creamy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese

This One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is so easy! Cook the macaroni right in the milk that's used to make the sauce. Creamy, delicious & ready in 15 minutes!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • More salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • In a large pot add the milk, butter, and macaroni noodles. Turn the burner on to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often.
  • Reduce the heat if the milk seems to stick to the bottom of the pan and stir often until the noodles are cooked though, about 15-18 minutes. Slow and low if your friend here, if you cook this step too fast and hot, the milk will curdle.
  • Stir in the cheese and salt until everything is melted.
  • Depending on the type and sharpness of cheese you may want to add up to another cup of cheese. Taste it and see. I used a moderately sharp cheddar and liked it at about 1 and 1/4 cups of cheese. If I had used something milder I think I would have used more. I’ve made this a handful of times and each time I seem to use a different amount of cheese, depending on my mood and how much cheese I have in the fridge.
  • Serve right away.

Video

Notes

  • Don’t boil the noodles, just a gentle simmer; the milk will curdle and you’ll have a gross texture to your mac and cheese. 

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcal, Carbohydrates: 39.9g, Protein: 17.2g, Fat: 18.6g, Cholesterol: 53.9mg, Sodium: 268mg, Sugar: 7.9g
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Macaroni and Cheese recipes you need to try:

Try my other pasta dishes:

One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a cinch! In just 15 minutes you will be devouring this creamy, delicious and ultimate comfort food. Enjoy!

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Recipe Rating




78 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Literally the best mac and cheese we’ve ever made. Made plenty in the past that took more work and more of a mess and didn’t taste as good as this simple recipe

  2. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve made macaroni and cheese every way you can imagine. I always come back to this one. I’m not one to follow recipes, this one I do. It’s perfect, not mushy.
    Thank you for sharing it with us, Melissa!