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Creamy ‘One Pot’ Mac N’ Cheese

Creamy mac n cheese

I’ve searched high and low for an everyday macaroni and cheese recipe that can replace creamy Kraft Mac N’ Cheese and this is it! To boot, it only requires one pot! Score!

When I say that I’ve searched high and low for a great creamy, easy macaroni and cheese, I mean it. I’ve tried recipe after recipe after recipe (over a span of YEARS), and FINAAAALLLLLLY, this is my go to recipe! Just for clarification, I’m not talking about gourmet mac n’ cheese here because I’ve already got two recipes that I just adore for that category (Four Cheese Mac N’ Cheese and Creamy Havarti Mac N’ Cheese). I’m talking about an everyday macaroni and cheese that’s creamy, and comes together FAST for a quick supper, one that doesn’t cost $50 to make!

There’s nothing I despise more than a pile of pots and pans that need to be washed after making dinner which is why I l-o-v-e this recipe. One pot! Seriously, one pot is all you need to get some of the creamiest macaroni and cheese I’ve had to date. The same pot you cook the noodles in, is the pot you use to make the sauce. This makes the entire process so much simpler compared to boiling water in one pot for some noodles, and making a sauce in another pan.

To make the meal complete, I threw in some diced ham for a little protein, and served some green beans on the side. Feel free to leave the ham out for a vegetarian version, or you could even change up your protein source and throw in cooked shredded chicken, or even bacon. It’s best eaten fresh, there’s no doubt about that! Leftovers heat up fine, but I noticed that some of the creaminess vanishes when it’s eaten as leftovers. 

So where did I find the best recipe on earth for creamy macaroni and cheese? I slightly adapted it from America’s Test Kitchen! I turn to them quite often because they put so much work into testing their recipes. They came up with the idea of using evaporated milk to get the creamy texture and I have to tell you, it works. One of my major complaints with most of the versions I’ve tried is that I end up with a grainy texture. The evaporated milk prevents this and leaves you with the perfect, creamy consistency.This macaroni and cheese is irresistible! I don’t see myself feeling the need to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese now that I’ve got this recipe in my arsenal. It’s a winner, that’s for sure!

Notes: I do not recommend substituting fat-free evaporated milk because well, I just don’t! Try it at your own risk. I’ve got a feeling you’d lose the creamy consistency which is what makes a good mac n’ cheese. Secondly, use whatever cheese combo you’d like. I liked the combo of white and yellow sharp cheddar cheese but feel free to use whatever you have on hand!

Creamy ‘One Pot’ Mac N’ Cheese

Creamy mac n cheese 2

Prep Time: 5mn
Cook Time: 20mn
Total Time: 25mn

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni noodles (about 2 cups dry pasta)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1- 12 ounce can evaporated milk (found in the baking aisle)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard dissolved in 1 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 4 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces sharp yellow cheddar cheese
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces ham, diced
  • Salt, pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Boil 8 cups of water in a large sauce pan or stock pot.
  2. When the water is boiling, add in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  3. Add in 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni noodles and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the noodles just start to soften.
  4. While the noodles are cooking, in a medium sized bowl, combine 6 ounces evaporated milk, 2 eggs, dry mustard/water mixture, and Tabasco. Stir to combine well. Set aside.
  5. Drain the noodles and return them to the pan.
  6. Add in 4 tablespoons of butter. Allow the butter to melt over medium-low heat.
  7. When the butter has melted, slowly stir in the milk/egg mixture and 6 ounces of cheese.
  8. While you’re stirring, slowly add in remaining evaporated milk and the addition 6 ounces of cheese.
  9. Stir in diced ham, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
  10. When the macaroni and cheese has a creamy consistency, and the ham is heated through (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and serve immediately. Adjust seasonings according to your preference.

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Comments (17)

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  1. I’m so jealous! That looks amazing and I had a can of chicken & dumpling soup for dinner tonight lol

  2. This recipe is sooo soooo soooo simple. Hands-down- it’s my favorite go-to recipe for mac ‘n cheese!

  3. It all sounds a bit unusual with evaporated milk and eggs as the base for the sauce, but let me tell you, it works! No grainy mac n’ cheese here. Creamy all the way…. :)

  4. I trust you for sure on this one since we’ve both been picky about our Mac n’ cheese:)

  5. I just made this tonight! My fiance says is THE creamiest mac & cheese I’ve ever made! Thanks for sharing!

  6. So creamy and delicious! Mac n cheese is one of my favorite foods and this was so good!

  7. My grandson was just asking for some really cheesy mac & cheese but cannot have eggs so I’m going to use 2-3 Tablespoons of cream cheese…that or sour cream usually work.

  8. I’m not fond of evaporated milk in dinner recipes lol in desserts you can’t really taste, but in gravy I can taste it and its awful to me

  9. I have a better, much easier mac and cheese! Cook 2 cups of mac, 2 Tbs. butter, four slices of American cheese, 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, one cup of colby jack cheese, season salt and pepper, enough half and half to make it creamy. Put butter into hot cooked mac, add some half and half (about 1/2 cup) put the four slices of American cheese in and the other cheeses. Stir until melted, add more half and half if needed and then season. All one pot and quick!

  10. This is so great for my Grand Kiddos who would rather have boxed Mac & cheese than Oma’s home made. They will think it’s boxed! heeheehee

    • I’ll admit, sometimes I do like the boxed stuff too! Probably because I grew up on it? Despite the fact I adore homemade mac and cheese, every once in a while the blue box is comforting. :)

  11. Can’t wait to try this one!! Just put evaporated milk and sharp cheese on the grocery list! Now to get it into the rotation!

  12. Why would you search high and low for a recipe to replace Kraft macaroni and cheese when it is so easy cheap and fast? Just wondering.

    • Because while I LOVE a good dose of Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese, this is not a copycat recipe. It’s made with REAL cheese which makes a huge difference. I wanted a good easy from-scratch replacement and this is it! Hope you’ll try it :)

  13. Using real ingredients is a million times better for you, you get rid of all the weird dyes, chemicals & preservatives. This is a good winter time splurge. I also have been searching for a homemade creamy mac recipe that doesn’t use Velveeta. All the ones I’ve found get clumpy after a few minutes off the stove. I’ll give this one a try, maybe the evaporated milk is the trick. Thanx

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