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This is an absolute comfort food classic but made even easier. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, all in one pan, no boiling required!

This Easy Peasy Macaroni Cheese recipe is a winner any day of the week. Give yourself and your loved ones a no-fuss vegetarian family meal treat.

Big pan full of cooked simple Macaroni Cheese, topped with chives.

This creamy classic is cheesy magic perfection! Here we’re making it super simple for a quick vegetarian dinner and zero faff, because that’s how we roll.

This is the quick Mac and Cheese recipe is made in one pan and has an indulgent edge while actually being zero-fuss. 

We’re not making a cheese sauce here, nor are we cooking the pasta separately. Yes, we’re cutting a few corners for the sake of convenience (and our sanity) but take my word for it when I say – it still tastes SO GOOD.

I am always willing to forfeit maybe 10% less perfection for ease and that pays off for this recipe.


Why you’ll love this homemade Easy Macaroni Cheese

⭐️ Quick (takes about 15 minutes)

⭐️ Comforting and satisfying

⭐️ Easy and simple ingredients


Close up of a pan of simple Macaroni Cheese with cheesy pull.

Where is Macaroni Cheese From?

Mac and Cheese is famous the world over, and Americans are such big consumers of it that it’s often mistakenly believed that that’s where the dish originated.

In fact, Macaroni Cheese actually originated in Europe somewhere (some say Italy, others claim Switzerland). But it dates back centuries in some form or another, so it’s difficult to get a matching tale. Let’s just say we’re all fans.

It’s a soul-soother of a dish, and one that firmly belongs in our comfort food/easy pastas repertoire. So grab your non-stick pan and get cooking!

Easy Macaroni Cheese Ingredients

Ingredients for Simple Macaroni Cheese laid out on the counter.
  • Dry macaroni – Macaroni is the perfect pasta shape for this as it’s small, so cooks quickly, but sturdy so it’s okay with being stirred a lot.
  • Milk – Whole milk ideally, but any will be fine.
  • Onion granules – Or powder, dried.
  • Mustard – Any is fine. I use American. It does add just an edge of flavour that’s needed.
  • Gruyere cheese – This gives lots of flavour and that cheese pull!
  • Mature cheddar – Adds another layer of flavour. A sharp cheddar cheese is good.
  • Single cream – This adds richness and texture to the sauce. In testing this recipe, we did try it without but we really felt that this added a special silkiness.

How to make Easy Macaroni Cheese

Step 1 of the recipe for simple macaroni cheese.
  1. Add the first ingredients to a pan and cook on a medium low heat (macaroni, water, milk, onion granules, mustard, seasoning.)
Step 2 of the recipe for simple macaroni cheese.

2. Turn the heat down and stir in the milk and cheese until the cheese is melted. Add your chosen toppings if you’re using.

Hint: Make sure you use a non-stick pan and stir often to stop it sticking. You’ll notice from the photos above that I had to change mine for this reason!


Substitutions

  • Pasta – You can use a different type of pasta BUT it won’t be quite as reliable as macaroni and can stick/break up when cooked this way. Macaroni is particularly sturdy for cooking like this and stirring a lot.
  • Gruyere cheese – Use this for the ‘cheesy pull’ creamy cheese sauce gooeyness but it’s not vital if you don’t have it. You will need one strong cheese though (at least) for flavour.

Storing and how to reheat

In the fridge You can keep this recipe in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat fully in the microwave or in a pan before serving (you may need a little water to loosen it).

Be aware that pasta can sometimes go a little soggy and break up when reheated, and I wouldn’t freeze this for the same reason.

Top tips

What type of cheese

Other than what’s in the recipe, you can also add more cheese if you want to or use up any odds and ends you have to use up. Different flavours will only add to the richness and creaminess of the Mac and Cheese sauce.

(Psst… This is a perfect recipe for Twixmas, when you have tonnes of leftover cheese and can’t be bothered making much of an effort, but everyone still needs feeding!)

FAQs

I’ve just cooked this and it’s got no sauce – help!

This happens if the pasta is left for a while before serving, or if it’s slightly over cooked.

You can add more hot milk and/or cheese and stir well to create more ‘sauce’.

Can I add anything else to this recipe?

Sure. How about crispy bacon on top, some blue cheese crumbled in or walnuts on top? I also garnish this with chopped chives.

Can I add meat to this recipe?

Yes, you could add cooked meat, or you might prefer one of my other one pan pasta recipes like peri peri chicken pasta, sausage pasta, chorizo pasta or cajun chicken pasta.

What’s the best pan to use for this Mac and Cheese recipe?

I recently tasked myself with trying out a variety of one-pan pans in a quest to find out which ones were up to the important job of making an all-in-one meal. Read my pan review here. I hope it helps!

Let me know how you got on and what you thought of these recipes. Please rate the recipe using the ⭐️ below.

Also I’d LOVE to see your cooking creations. If you’d like to share yours with me, you can tag me on Instagram (@tamingtwins).

5 from 48 votes

Easy Macaroni Cheese {One Pan}

THIS is the EASIEST Macaroni Cheese recipe EVER! So easy, quick and straightforward to cook, with maximum flavour and satisfaction in about 20 minutes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

To cook the pasta:

  • 500 g Dry macaroni
  • 1 litre Water
  • 400 ml Milk
  • 2 tsp Onion granules
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • Salt and pepper

To finish:

  • 200 g Gruyere, Grated
  • 250 g Mature cheddar, Grated
  • 150 ml Single cream

To garnish (optional):

  • Crispy fried bacon pieces, chopped fresh chives, freshly ground black pepper or crispy fried onions

Instructions 

  • Put the first ingredients in a pan together, put the lid on and cook on medium-low for about 10-13 minutes stirring often until pasta is just cooked. (If your water/milk is absorbed already and pasta not cooked, add a splash more).
  • When it's cooked, turn heat to low, stir in the rest of the ingredients in and mix everything together until the cheese is melted and gooey.
  • Serve immediately (I like to garnish with chopped chives or crispy pieces of bacon).

Notes

Non-stick: Make sure you use a non-stick pan and stir often to make sure this doesn’t stick.
Cheese: Add more cheese if you want to and feel free to use up odds and ends of cheese in this too.
Sauce: You can add more hot milk and/or cheese and stir well to create more ‘sauce’.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 974kcalCarbohydrates: 67gProtein: 49gFat: 57gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 142mgSodium: 1799mgPotassium: 538mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 1505IUVitamin C: 0.4mgCalcium: 1290mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Family Food
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Sarah Rossi founder of TamingTwins.com and author of 'What's for Dinner?' books.

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Hi, I'm Sarah. I help busy people decide 'What's for Dinner?' Find hundreds of recipes here, and also in my bestselling recipe book. Hope my recipes make your life easier ❤️

5 from 48 votes (41 ratings without comment)

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