Home Pasta One Pot Mac and Cheese

One Pot Mac and Cheese

by Laura

Today, I introduce you to the homemade one pot mac and cheese recipe.  In order to achieve the one pot requirement, the noodles are cooked in the milk – genius right?  The starch from the pasta helps thicken the milk. The milk works as the liquid to cook the pasta and also gets absorbed into the pasta.  Then you just add a little salt, butter and mustard powder to flavor.  Finally, it’s time for the cheese portion of this mac and cheese.  You use some Monterrey jack cheese and some cheddar cheese. That is it.

Definitely, better than the boxed mac and cheese.  Me and the hubby liked it. However, the kids were not so hot on it.  So no guarantees if you serve it to your kiddos.  My munchkins said “it’s tooooo cheesy”!  Say what? Oh well, points for a parent pleasing mac and cheese recipe, right?  I added bacon to the top of mine.  I do think you need to add something to this one pot mac and cheese to balance the cheesy aspect. Some ham would also be a great addition.

Here is what you need to make the

One Pot Mac and Cheese

  • SALT
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One Pot Mac and Cheese | realmomkitchen.com

One Pot Mac and Cheese


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or shell pasta
  • 2 cups skim milk , plus more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterrey jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese


  1. Place uncooked macaroni in a colander and rinse with water, then allow to drain.
  2. In a large sauce pan, add the macaroni, milk, butter, dried mustard, and salt.
  3. Bring to a simmer cover medium heat. Once it comes to a simmer, turn down to low.
  4. It this point you need to say right by the pot and stir. You will stir for 15-20 minutes until the milk is mostly absorbed and the pasta is tender. You can add more milk if needed. Stirring will prevent a sticky burnt mess.
  5. Add the cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat and cover with the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir and taste. Add more salt if necessary. Will serve 4.
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Recipe adapted from White On Rice Couple.

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Jeff December 23, 2016 - 4:21 pm

Could scrambled eggs (slow cooked, creamy) be somehow added to this, or would that only work with the baked type recipes?

CBird March 11, 2014 - 8:05 pm

Thank you. I agree it was very creamy even before the cheese!
I need a clarification…. Do you leave the lid on while heating to simmer AND also when you turn to low? Even on low and with me standing near-by, I found my milk frothing and boiling over if the lid was on. My milk-to-macaroni ratio was waaaay to low. I had to add an additional 2+ cups of milk well before the pasta was done, so I wondered if leaving the lid on would have helped? (I know you said \more milk if needed\ but more than double seemed excessive.)
Also, I added fresh thyme sauteed in the butter at the beginning, a little garlic powder and used shredded gruyere cheese + cheddar. Top with bacon crumbles and crushed red pepper — oh my! Delish & simple.

CBird March 11, 2014 - 8:26 pm

Okay, so I re-read again and answered my own lid question… when it said “3.Bring to a simmer cover medium heat.” I thought it was a type-o saying to cover and bring to simmer… now I get that it means “OVER” med heat. 🙂 No cover.

Michelle September 8, 2013 - 12:18 pm

This recipe is a keeper! My kids all liked it and said it tasted like it was from a restaurant. It was creamy and yummy even before I added the cheese! I only had Colby Jack cheese on hand and the flavor was still great. Thank you!!!

SheGai August 28, 2013 - 7:08 pm

My 12 yr old loved it. Thought it was Trader Joe’s. Asked was there more!

Sarah November 5, 2012 - 2:20 pm

This is so clever! I hope you’ll contributing this (or another one-pot recipe) to this month’s Shine Supper Club!

Week of food – Palette 2 (Colour and flavours of one pot cooking) | Pattern & co June 23, 2012 - 4:38 am

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Diana February 10, 2012 - 9:21 pm

I normally love homemade mac and cheese, but this one didn’t turn out for me. The only thing I did differently was that I used monterrey jack/colby cheese instead of straight monterrey jack cheese; I don’t think that’s why it didn’t taste right, though. The consistency wasn’t creamy; it was more like gloppy. And the flavor wasn’t there. I couldn’t taste the cheesiness, either. My kids didn’t like it, either.

Kim B. January 13, 2012 - 8:45 pm

LOVE this!! I have a one pot spaghetti recipe that works the same way, the spaghetti cooks in the liquid which is not only water, but chicken broth too…yum!! Quick question…why do you rinse the dry pasta in water? I’ve never heard of that & am always on the look out for some great tips 🙂

Heather of Kitchen Concoctions January 13, 2012 - 11:12 am

Brilliant! Can’t wait to try this this easy mac and cheese!

Mary Perkins January 12, 2012 - 11:57 am

sounds good to me! I have cooked pasta with tomatoes in place of water in a skillet for quick “chighetti” so I am sure it work with the milk too. I wonder if for kids , you couldnt just add some cubed velveeta and put the lid on to melt?? Anyway thanks for the recipe!


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