5-ingredient stovetop mac n' cheese

5-ingredient stovetop mac n' cheese

I feel like every year on Thanksgiving, I’m fighting for oven space and sink space. I end up making a mac n’ cheese that needs a large pot to boil the pasta and a pot to make the cheese sauce, and utensils and a baking dish and a bowl to mix the bread crumbs. And it goes on and on. And when the time comes to bake the thing, I’m always playing tetris with the damn oven contents. Not this year! Because this mac n’ cheese is 5 freaking ingredients, one pot, no roux making, just simplicity and ooey gooey cheesiness. This recipe is like what Kraft was aiming for, but fell short from. And not only can the recipe be doubled, tripled, to feed however many folks you need it to, it’s great for a quick recipe when you’re really just craving some mac n’ cheese. I almost always have all these ingredients in my fridge and pantry and start to finish it takes about 12 minutes. I am not even kidding.


Mac n’ cheese has always been a central dish on our turkey day, so having a mac n’ cheese I can throw together after everything has already been made is awesome. No macs drying out in the oven or sitting too long until the cheese congeals this year! Only creamy, cheesy goodness. I don’t need to say much more about the recipe, because it’s so easy, however, I will say one thing. Please do not use pre-shredded cheese. Just don’t. It takes 2 minutes to freshly grate some cheese on a box grater and this is coming from someone who LOATHES grating cheese. I usually pawn that job off on my husband, but seriously it’s something even I can do. Pre-shredded cheese is coated in cellulose (AKA freaking wood pulp, look it up) to keep it from clumping together. But cellulose can also make your sauce feel grainy and gross, so just get a small block of cheese and spend the couple minutes grating it by hand. The type of cheese you use is totally up to you! I opted for a mix to help clean out my fridge of sharp cheddar, fontina and some freshly grated parmesan. The mix is totally up to you!

Yield: 4-6 servings

5-ingredient stovetop mac n' cheese

prep time: cook time: 12 minstotal time: 12 mins


  • 12 oz macaroni pasta
  • 12 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of cheddar, fontina and freshly grated parmesan, but any freshly grated cheese will work!)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • salt and pepper


  1. Place the pasta in a large pot (for reference, I used a 4qt dutch oven). Just barely cover the pasta with cold water. All the pasta should be submerged, but that's it. 
  2. Bring the pasta to a simmer over medium heat, stirring every minute or so. Because there is less water, the pasta will stick, so stir, stir, stir. After about 6 minutes, the pasta will have absorbed most of the water and will be al dente. If the pasta is still undercooked, add a little more water and simmer until al dente. The water should be very thick.
  3. Add the evaporated milk and simmer until the pasta is cooked. Add the heavy cream and butter and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the cheese. Stir until combined and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. 


Be sure to use freshly grated cheese, not pre-shredded cheese as the pre-shredded is covered in cellulose which can make your sauce grainy. 

When selecting a cheese blend I tend to choose a cheese for flavor (usually white or yellow cheddar), a melty cheese (monterey jack or fontina), and a salty cheese (freshly grated parmesan). But any cheese will work!
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