This Best Simple Mac and Cheese Recipe is a cinch to whip up in 30 minutes or less, and makes for a delicious and satisfying meal for the whole family. This no bake mac and cheese packs all the same comforting flavors of traditional mac and cheese in just a few easy steps.
Why This Recipe Works
Delicious & Nutritious: I could honestly go on and on about how delicious my Best Simple Mac and Cheese recipe is. It is filling and satisfying for the whole family, and even picky eaters will love this creamy mac and cheese! Some macaroni and cheese recipes can be very high in fat due to all of the dairy, so I used whole milk instead of heavy cream in this recipe. That keeps this recipe a bit lower in fat without sacrificing flavor! Plus, it is high in calcium which is especially good for little ones.
Simple to Make: After boiling the pasta, all of the ingredients will be mixed in just one pot! You don’t have to transfer this to a baking dish to bake in the oven like many other mac & cheese recipes. Once all of the ingredients cook together and the cheese gets nice and melty, you can serve and enjoy! After making this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, you’ll never buy the boxed stuff again.
Ingredients for the Best Simple Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Small Pasta Noodles- You can use your favorite small pasta noodles for this recipe. Try elbows, shells, or even ditalini.
- Butter– Butter is important to use in order to cook the flour prior to adding the milk. You can use either salted or unsalted butter in this recipe.
- Flour– Flour is cooked in butter before adding the liquid in order to thicken the mac & cheese sauce.
- Whole Milk- It is important to use whole milk in this recipe as opposed to 2% or low-fat milk. You need some fat in this recipe for a smooth and silky texture.
- Garlic Powder– Garlic powder adds a depth of flavor to the mac and cheese.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese– I find that sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite to use in this recipe. You must use a block of cheese and shred it yourself, instead of using pre-shredded cheese.
Here’s How You Make It
Step by Step Instructions
- Cook your pasta by boiling a pot of salted water and boil the pasta until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and toss in a little bit of olive oil. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Stir in flour. Very gradually whisk in 2 cups of milk until smooth and creamy. Stir in garlic powder.
- Stir in cheese until completely melted and fully incorporated. Add a little milk to thin the sauce if needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in cooked pasta and serve. Garnish your macaroni and cheese with cracked pepper and parsley if desired and enjoy!
- This best simple mac and cheese recipe can be even more decadent by added a variety of cheeses like white cheddar, gruyere or gouda! Go crazy and see which cheeses you like best in your homemade mac and cheese.
- Butter + Flour = Creamy, dreamy sauce. Classically, the butter and flour combination is called a roux. Roux is used to thicken sauces in a variety of dishes. Let the flour cook in the butter for a few minutes while stirring in order to cook out that flour-like taste.
- To make this recipe healthier and more colorful, add in some steamed broccoli, carrots and peas at the end! There is no better way to eat your veggies than covered in a cheese sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ll want a noodle that can hold onto that dreamy cheesy sauce, so something that has nooks or holes. I like shells, classic elbow noodles, Orecchiette, Penne, Rigatoni, Rotini, or Farfalle. Really, any noodle would work but the small ones are usually the best!
I would avoid using packaged shredded cheese in any mac and cheese recipe. Shredded cheese contains ingredients which are meant to keep the cheese in shredded form, and therefore it does not melt as well as block cheese. Shred your own cheese from a block for the best results in this recipe!