Cheesy, comforting and absolutely delicious, Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect easy alternative to the boxed varieties. With just 5 ingredients, these noodles are perfectly creamy and oh, so easy to make. Best of all, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
There’s something about macaroni and cheese that always feels like a treat. It all starts with the creamy sauce, the perfectly soft and textured noodles, and of course plenty of cheese.
Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese hits the sweet spot between delicious pasta dish and pure comfort food. Plus it’s so tasty – everyone from picky eaters to full on foodies will love this flavorful meal.
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It’s quick, easy, and made with only five ingredients. Best of all, you can make it in one pot – so cleanup is even easier.
You can serve it as a main dish, which is what we do most of the time. Or, you can serve it as a delicious side dish for fish, chicken, ribs, or brisket. However you serve it, when it comes to macaroni and cheese, you can’t go wrong!
HOW TO BAKE Delicious One Pot Pasta EVERY TIME!
When it comes to making amazing, comforting pasta, the most important thing is not to over cook it. Mushy pasta never tastes good. You want your noodles to have a little texture with that rich and creamy sauce.
Here are some tips for making tasty one pot pasta:
- Choose the right noodles – The shape of the pasta can make a big difference. You want to choose a pasta that lists a cooking time for 8 minutes. If you choose a pasta that cooks faster, you may end up with a too soupy cheese sayce.
- Don’t overcook – When it comes to making stovetop pasta, you want to cook it until it is just shy of al dente (pasta with a little bite). This way, when you add the cheese the noodles, and the pasta continues to cook, the noodles will continue to soften. Keep an eye on your pasta and taste it when it is nearly finished cooking.
- Season your pasta – Before serving your macaroni and cheese, taste it first. You can always season the pasta by adding salt and pepper.
INGREDIENTS FOR Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Simple and packed with flavor, this is one easy and delicious dinner. So let’s get cooking.
- Pasta – macaroni shaped noodles are best. But you can also use cavatappi noodles, which are macaroni noodles that are longer and looks more like a corkscrew.
- Milk and Water – are the perfect base for this sauce. When they cook with the noodles, the sauce thickens, creating the perfect base. We use 1% or 2% milk, but you can use your favorite milk for this recipe.
- Dijon mustard – easily amp up the cheddar cheese flavor with just a bit of mustard. It will make the sauce chessier, without being mustardy. But, if you love mustard flavor, you can always add more to taste.
- Garlic – adds a ton of flavor and always makes dishes extra delicious.
- Cheddar cheese – you can’t have mac and cheese without the cheese flavor. Cheddar cheese is the perfect option and it gives your dish that class orange color. If you like a stronger cheddar cheese taste, choose a sharp cheedar. Otherwise, you can choose medium.
- Salt and pepper – you can adjust this seasoning to taste.
You may notice that there is more than five ingredients above. There is a little hidden math when it comes to 5 ingredients meals. There are three simple ingredients that aren’t counted – water, salt and pepper.
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Water is easily available in your kitchen from the tap. Plus, salt and pepper are flavor enhancers that you can always adjust to taste. So, if you prefer more salt, you can add it. And if pepper isn’t your thing, you can leave it out. Or, just add a little less.
HOW TO MAKE Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese
A flavor bursting pasta dish that is as easy as it is delicious. It’s made in only 4 simple steps and in no time, you have a meal that’s pure comforting goodness!
STEP 1: Cook the pasta
One of the best things about this pasta is everything is made in one pot. So, you are flavoring the noodles and creating the base of your sauce while you are cooking your noodles. Plus, as the noodles cook, the sauce thickens. The starch from the noodles are released into the sauce, making it thicker and even more delicious. It’s a real win-win!
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, add pasta, water, milk, Dijon mustard, salt and garlic powder. Stir the pasta every few minutes, until the water begins to boil. Adjust heat as needed to maintain a rolling boil. Continue, stirring once or twice per minute, until the pasta is cooked.
You’ll know that your pasta is cooked when is just less than al dente. This when is when the noodles are soft, but still have a bit of a bite. You want your noodles to still be a little firm, because they will continue to cook while the add in the cheese and it melts. If the noodles are already too soft at this stage, you mac and cheese will end up being too mushy.
STEP 2: Remove from heat
Now that your noodles are cooked, remove the stockpot from the heat. If there is any excess water, remove it and reserve 1/2 cup of starchy water.
STEP 3: Add the Cheese
Add the shredded cheese to the pasta and stir to cover the noodles. If the cheese is not melting easily, you can return the stockpot to the heat and melt the cheese over low heat. If the pasta sauce is dry, add starchy pasta water as needed.
STEP 4: Serve and Enjoy
Your macaroni and cheese is finished cooking – Woohoo! Before serving, taste the noodles to make sure that everything is perfectly flavored. You can salt and pepper to taste before serving, and then it’s everyone’s favorite part – fill up a bowl and taste a bite!
What can you serve with easy one pot macaroni and cheese?
When it comes to serving Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese, there are so many tasty options. It’s all about enhancing that cheesy goodness and making a complete meal.
To start, you can never go wrong with a simple side salad. A fresh garden salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers is a refreshing contrast to the creamy macaroni and cheese. Top it off with a dressing like Greek Yogurt French Salad Dressing, Light and Creamy Balsamic, or Greek Salad Dressing.
If you’re in the mood for roasted veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussels sprouts, are another tasty option. The caramelized edges of the roasted veggies add a delightful crunch and flavor. You can mix in the vegetables or enjoy them on the side.
So, when you’re thinking about what to serve with Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese, the options are endless. Simply choose your favorites and enjoy this tasty and comforting meal.
Jazz Up Your Pasta!
Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a perfect base recipe that you can easily add to and customize. So, feel free to experiment, jazz it up, and make it your own! You can:
- Use other cheeses – You can switch up the cheese and add gouda, havarti, or Monterrey jack. You can even add some Parmesan cheese to the cheddar to amp up the cheesy flavor.
- Add veggies/fruits – There are so many pasta veggies to choose from. So, if you want to add some veggies to your pasta dish, you can try broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, spinach, kale, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplant, or zucchini. And if you want to add a little heat, you can mix in some jalapeños.
- Add protein – Make your pasta even more satisfying with some added protein. You can add chicken, beef, bacon, sausage or plant-based meat alternatives.
- Add herbs and spices – Dried herbs are an easy way to add some extra flavor. You can try basil, chives, rosemary, or oregano. You can also add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, chili powder, or onion powder.
- Sauce it up – A little bit of extra sauce to really change the flavor. You can use a little pesto, salsa, sriracha, or hot sauce. Just make sure to add a little a time and taste as you go.
Delicious Macaroni and Cheese
There’s something about noodles and cheese that is just so delicious and comforting. If you’re looking for more cozy, feel good meals, here are a couple of our favorites!
- Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese is rich and cheesy and it bakes perfectly in your oven. Plus, if you love freezer meals, you can easily whip this one up and freeze it until you are ready to bake it.
- Avocado Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese is a fun alternative to the classic mac and cheese flavor. It is packed with creamy avocado basil sauce, which is extra cheesy with cottage cheese and cheddar cheese.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER Macaroni and cheese
If you have any leftovers, Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese can be stored in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 5 days. But, these noodles never seems to last that long in our house.
You can reheat it in a pan on the stovetop over medium-low heat until it is warmed, and heated through. You can also add a little bit of water to the saucepan to thin out the sauce. Alternatively, you can also reheat in the microwave.
What can you do with leftover Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese?
Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is a quick and tasty family-friendly meal. It’s sure to bring out the kid in all of us. But, when you make a pot of pasta, sometimes you end up with leftovers. So, what can you do with them?
Well, it’s pretty simple – you can make those leftovers into a new meal!
Here are a few tasty ways to make new delicious dishes:
- Mac and Cheese Grilled Sandwich: Sandwich leftover mac and cheese between slices of bread with extra cheese, then grill until the bread is golden and the cheese is melted. Indulge in the cheesy goodness.
- Mac and Cheese Stuffed Grilled Peppers: Cut bell peppers in half, fill them with leftover mac and cheese, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and grill until the peppers are tender and the top is crispy. It’s seriously tasty.
- Mac and Cheese Salad: Chop up your leftover mac and cheese and toss it into a salad with fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and your choice of dressing for a creamy twist. It’s the perfect combination of pasta salad and green salad.
Don’t leave those leftovers hanging out in the fridge. Give them a tasty upgrade.
HUNGRY FOR MORE Quick & Easy RECIPES?
Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese (5 Ingredients Recipe)
Cheesy, comforting and absolutely delicious, Easy One Pot Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect easy alternative the boxed varieties. With just 5 ingredients, these noodles are perfectly creamy and oh, so easy to make. Best of all, it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: American/Canadian
- 1 pound uncooked macaroni noodles (or other small noodles)
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine pasta, water, milk, Dijon, sea salt and garlic powder. Stir the pasta every few minutes, until the water begins to boil. Adjust heat as needed to maintain a rolling boil. Continue, stirring once or twice per minute, until the pasta is cooked.
- Remove pot from heat. If there is any excess water, remove it and reserve 1/2 cup of starchy water.
- Add the cheese to the pasta and stir. If the pasta sauce is dry, add starchy pasta water as needed.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Pasta – The type of pasta that you use can effect the cooking time. When you are choosing a pasta, look for one that lists the cooking time on the package at approximately 8 minutes. If your pasta lists a different cooking time, you may need to use more or less water to fully cook the noodles.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 483.89kcal
- Sugar: 6.14g
- Sodium: 681.43mg
- Fat: 16.34g
- Saturated Fat: 8.84g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4.2g
- Trans Fat: 0.35g
- Carbohydrates: 61.85g
- Fiber: 2.5g
- Protein: 21.27g
- Cholesterol: 47.1mg
Keywords: easy macaroni and cheese, stovetop macaroni and cheese
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