Ready in under 20 minutes, this easy, one-pot mac n cheese recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight side dish. No need to drain the macaroni after cooking, it’s already simmering in the makings of the cheese sauce. Finished with a crispy bread crumb topping, giving some of the texture of a baked mac n cheese for a fraction of the effort.

Ingredients

  • 8oz Macaroni Noodles
  • 4oz Deli American Cheese
  • 8oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 1/2 Cups Water
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/3 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Grated parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter (divided)

Let’s begin by pouring the milk and water into a medium saucepot, and place it over medium-high heat.

Keep a sharp eye on it, the milk can cause a major boil-over situation which will flood your stovetop in hot, watery milk. Not fun!

As you can see I used blocks of cheese, you can use pre-shredded if you must, I find it never melts quite as creamy.

As for the American Cheese, I must insist you get it from the deli counter, the individually wrapped stuff can have properties that can cause a rich cheese sauce to break.

I simply asked for a 1-inch thick hunk of American Cheese.

So if your cheese needs to be shredded now is the time.

Cook The Macaroni

Once your milk and water come to a boil you can add the macaroni and cook for about 8 minutes. Check the direction’s on the box, and go with that. Be sure to stir frequently, I found the pasta had a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot.

Keep in mind sticking to the measurements matter a lot here. If you don’t have a scale to weigh the macaroni you can eyeball 1/2 a box, as most pasta is boxed in 16oz units.

The goal is to have just the right amount of liquid left in the pot when the macaroni is cooked to go straight to melting the cheese in.

Once the noodles have finished cooking you can go straight to melting the cheese in.

Drop the heat to medium-low, and add 1 tbsp butter and 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard.

Next, add the American cheese. Stir it in till it’s thoroughly melted. Next, turn the heat off completely, and blend in the cheddar cheese.

You may be thinking “wow this is a lot of cheese for this amount of pasta”. You are right! I don’t mess with no “kinda cheesy mac n cheese”. I want all the cheese, and so should you.

Breadcrumb Topping for One-pot Mac n Cheese

Melt one tbsp of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat, then add the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Toast till the mixture is golden brown, about 5 minutes

If you are up for multitasking you can start this while the noodles are cooking, this will shave a few minutes from the overall cook time.

Time to Eat!

Simply put a nice portion in a bowl, and sprinkle some of the bread crumbs topping over it. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the topping. This recipe makes plenty, so there is no need to skimp.

Easy One Pot Mac N Cheese

Chef Eric
This easy, one pot recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight side dish. No need to drain the macaroni after cooking, its already simmering in the makings of the cheese sauce. Finished with a crispy bread crumb topping, giving some of the texture of a baked Mac N Cheese for a fraction of the effort.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Melting the cheese 3 mins
Total Time 16 mins
Course Appetizer, side, Snack
Cuisine American, Comfort, Soul, Vegetarian
Servings 4

Equipment

  • Standard Stove
  • Medium Pot
  • Small Skillet
  • Slotted Spurtle
  • Measuring Cup
  • Cheese Shredder

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Macaroni Noodles
  • 4 oz Deli American Cheese shredded
  • 8 oz Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 tbsp Butter divided
  • 1/3 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Combine milk and water in a medium saucepot. Place over high heat and bring to boil.
  • Add Macaroni and cook for 8 minutes
  • Drop heat to low and add Dijon Mustard, and 1tbsp butter, and combine.
  • Add American cheese and stir till melted.
  • Turn off heat and add cheddar cheese. Stir till melted.

Bread Crumb Topping

  • Melt 1tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
  • Stir frequently and toast breadcrumb mixture till golden brown.
  • Top Macaroni and Cheese with toasted bread crumb mix, and enjoy.

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4 thoughts on “Easy One-Pot Mac N Cheese

  1. Brenda says:

    This looks good but can it be done in the Instant Pot? On this site there’s always an IP version and I didn’t see one this time. At least that’s what I have seen. I hate to use my stove top in the summertime.

  2. Chef Eric says:

    I am not a master of the instant pot. I did however speak with someone who was. They had concerns over the milk splitting under pressure. They recommended substituting a broth for the milk, but that would not lead to a creamy sauce in the end. We will try and engineer a version of this recipe in the instant pot in the future.

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