Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Jump to Recipe

This Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese recipe is made in ONE pot with just SIX ingredients! Ready in 30 minutes or less, this stovetop mac is a family favorite.

blue skillet of mac and cheese on marble background with wooden spoon

Happy October!

A new month of 6 Ingredient Suppers is here and I am SO excited for what this month has in store!

October is all about 6 ingredient skillet meals, and we’re kicking it off with everyone’s favorite comfort food: easy mac and cheese.

This one pot mac and cheese is made with just a few simple ingredients, and has a rich and creamy cheese sauce.

This Mac and Cheese recipe is perfect for those days when you need something easy and comforting! This year, I feel like we have plenty of those days in store.

It’s also one of my kids favorite dinner recipes, along with this Easy Homemade Hamburger Helper, this The BEST Oven-Fried Chicken and these Sweet and Sour Meatballs!

very close image of macaroni and cheese with wooden spoon

Ingredients needed:

You’ll find the detailed recipe down in the recipe card.

  • Chicken broth: I always use low sodium chicken broth so that I can control the added salt. If you only have regular chicken broth, you will want to reduce the added salt and adjust as needed.
  • Whole milk or cream: High fat milk or cream will not curdle as it cooks, so low fat milk is not a great option.
  • Butter: A little butter makes the sauce smoother and keeps the pasta from sticking.
  • Salt and black pepper: simple seasonings!
  • Dry elbow macaroni: for this macaroni and cheese, the uncooked pasta cooks right in the sauce.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: gives that classic orange color and the best flavor. Avoid using pre-shredded cheese as it has an anti-caking agent added in that will prevent it from melting smoothly. Grab a block of cheese and get shredding your own cheese!
  • Gruyere cheese: is the best cheese for an ultra creamy mac and cheese. If you can’t find gruyere or are looking for a more affordable option, try Swiss cheese.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox. You’ll also get new recipes and a free monthly menu plan!

How to make Mac and Cheese in one pot:

There are a few tips and tricks for making a one pot mac and cheese that is different from the traditional way. Here are some pointers for best results!

  • Use a combination of broth and whole milk or light cream: this is the best way to get a creamy sauce that is still smooth. Since the sauce will simmer for quite a while, you need a higher fat dairy (whole milk or cream) that won’t curdle. If it does heat too quickly and curdles, just keep cooking and stirring over medium heat and it will smooth out.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta: it’s important to stir every few minutes and cook the past just to al dente!
  • Be a little flexible with your liquid: different liquids and different pastas will cook differently, so if you find that your liquid has mostly absorbed and your pasta is not cooked through, add a splash of broth of cream! Add it slowly and gradually and you can’t really go wrong. Learn to go with your gut — if you think it needs more, add a bit more.
  • Keep in mind that the cheese will thicken the sauce considerably, so you want quite a bit of liquid remaining after the pasta is cooked. If you need to, add a bit more when you add the cheese to make the sauce come together. You can also add a spoonful of sour cream for a tangy, creamy sauce.

Variations on this skillet Mac and Cheese:

This is a great recipe to make your own! Here are a few ideas:

  • Add different seasonings: hot sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, cayenne, paprika, cayenne pepper, and Italian seasoning are all popular additions, but feel free to get a little crazy and see what’s in your spice cupboard that would give it that extra little something.
  • Salt and pepper to taste: I generally err on the side of less salty if possible, because it’s easy to add salt later. Taste once it’s cooked and adjust as necessary.
  • Choose a different pasta: macaroni noodles (elbow pasta) are the classic but any short pasta will work great!
  • Use a combination of cheeses: cheddar cheese gives that classic color and flavor, but feel free to experiment with the cheese your family enjoys! Monterey jack, pepper jack, white cheddar, colby jack and havarti cheese are great choices.
  • Add in vegetables: if you want them cooked, or slightly cooked, add during the cooking process with the pasta. Vegetables like spinach that will soften quickly can be stirred in with the cheese.
  • Add in cooked meats. This recipe is a great side dish or main dish, but you can add in this Shredded Chicken or Instant Pot Chicken Taco meat or saute meat in the same pan before adding the liquid and pasta. This is a great way to add additional protein!
  • If you’re looking for a Baked Macaroni recipe, try this one here.
close up image of mac and cheese in a blue braiser

How to make Mac and Cheese ahead:

Pasta can be an easy recipe to prep ahead with a few tips to get it just right!

Store it in the refrigerator:

To make ahead and serve later, ensure that your pasta isn’t overcooked. Err on the side of a little firm rather than too soft, as it will continue to absorb some of the cheesy sauce in the fridge.

Store up to 4 days in the refrigerator, tightly covered.

To reheat, add a big splash of water, milk or broth and place, covered, over low heat on the stove. Stir occasionally. If it is still thick and not saucy and creamy, add in another splash of liquid.

blue bowl with macaroni and cheese topped with fresh parsley and a fork

How to freeze Mac and Cheese:

If you know you want to freeze your mac and cheese, make sure that you quit cooking while your pasta is still slightly firm — a couple minutes before you would want to eat it.

Let cool slightly before covering tightly and placing in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To serve, I recommend thawing at room temperature for several hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

Then you can add a big splash of water, broth or milk, and reheat in the oven or on the stove top until heated through. Stir at least a couple times once the pasta starts to warm up.

ashley avatar

Pin this recipe to save for later

Pin this recipe to your favorite board

Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese

4.79 from 42 votes
This Easy Mac and Cheese recipe is made in ONE pot with just SIX ingredients! Ready in 30 minutes or less
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
Calories 541cal


  • 2-2.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2-2.5 cups whole milk or light cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups dry macaroni (I use white with fiber)
  • 1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese (NOT pre-shredded)
  • 1.5 cups shredded gruyere cheese


  • In a large skillet, stir together 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups milk or cream, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir in macaroni. Cover and cook, stirring every 4-5 minutes until al dente (about 10-12 minutes total), adding more liquid gradually if needed.
  • Stir in cheese until melted — if necessary, cover and let rest a few minutes off the heat to melt the cheese and then stir. If sauce is took thick, gradually stir in additional broth or milk until it comes together.


*If you don’t have gruyere cheese, feel free to substitute with additional cheddar cheese or another cheese you have on hand.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 541cal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 672mg | Potassium: 347mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 844IU | Calcium: 643mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords homemade mac and cheese, mac and cheese

Want to save this recipe?

Create an account easily save your favorite content, so you never forget a recipe again.

Register Now

Tried this recipe?

Tag @thereciperebel or hashtag #thereciperebel —
I love to see what you’re making!

Tag @thereciperebel

Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

Read More

You May Also Like

Reader Interactions


  1. Andrea says

    I only had pre-shredded cheese and used almond milk in place of whole milk, but it still turned out great! It came together quickly and easily when I was short on time and ingredients. I will use this recipe again.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe Ema. Sometimes adding the cheese to the sauce when the heat is too high will cause it to curdle and have a grainy texture. Best way to get a nice thick sauce is low and slow.

  2. Jj says

    I’d much rather read recipes from Melissa, Jam or MK because they gave real suggestions?? There are also literal spelling errors throughout this page.

    • Vanessa says

      Apparently, you do not recognize your own mistakes just others by the way your response has a mistake as well.

    • Donna says

      Everyone loved it. I used 1/2 Velveeta and half mild cheddar. This was a favorite at our family swim party and more than enough for 8 adults and 6 kids! Very easy as well.

    • D. says

      This was a huge hit! Started with the 2 cups, didn’t have to add any more. We used all sharp cheddar cheese. It was not runny or lumpy, it was perfect with amazing flavor! If you gave this one star, I’m guessing you didn’t read the directions, because its delish.

  3. GlobalGal724@gmail.com says

    1/2/21 – Quick and easy to throw together, it gets the job done. My sauce wasn’t 100% smooth but the taste was good, considering how fast it comes together. Only made a half recipe so I was guessing on the liquid amounts but this all came together nicely.

  4. CF says

    Am I reading this correctly that I am to put the macaroni in DRY when adding it to the broth/cream mixture? It doesn’t say in the steps anywhere to cook the pasta first. But I’ve never done a Mac n cheese putting dry pasta in a sauce.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Kim! It sounds like you may have used pre-shredded cheese and not freshly grated, as that is a common problem with bagged shredded cheeses. They have stabilizers in them which prevent them from melting smoothly.

      • Ashley Fehr says

        I’ve honestly never had a grainy mac and cheese so I’m not sure what to say. There are lots of different cheese brands, with different levels of fat, so maybe that could be the problem? I would stir in the cheese, then remove from the heat and cover to let melt, then stir again.

  5. Samantha Will says

    I made this in a sauce pan and it turned out amazing. I added quite a bit more milk and I also added a few slices of white amercian cheese once it was done to make it a little more creamy b/c alot of the liquid got soaked up or boiled out b/c of it being in a sauce pan but I accounted for it. I also cooked up some ground turkey with with some taco seasoning and mixed it altogether. It turned out delicious. My own version of hamburger helper thanks to your mac n cheese recipe.

  6. Meg says

    One of the best mac and cheese recipes I have tried. Swapped the gruyere for comté and used a whole wheat macaroni noodle. Looking forward to the leftovers!

  7. Stephanie says

    You need to talk to the advertiser on your site, I couldn’t see the recipe because their ads covered the recipe and I couldn’t play the video because the ad covering the recipe covered the video play button. I’m going to have to stop following your emails cause this happens EVERY SINGLE TIME!

    • Jan says

      Strange, doesn’t happen on my PC. Came in nice and clear with no ads popping up. Could be your phone, or computer. It’s a shame you will have to stop following her e-mails. I love her recipes.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Stephanie. You are welcome to try another site if you think that will be better. Advertisements are what pays for the entirely free recipes you receive, on every web site, on the entire internet.

      • Jamie says

        Hi Ashley,

        The commenter Stephanie had a specific problem and you shamed her and made it seem like she’s a troll. Yep, ads are a thing, nice!

        If they are stopping people from viewing your content and those people are kind enough to let you know in the comments, you should be listen to them✨

4.79 from 42 votes (30 ratings without comment)

Leave A Reply

Have you tried this recipe? Leave a rating