Quick Mac & Cheese
Twenty minutes! Four ingredients! That’s all it takes to make this creamy, low-fat mac & cheese. Use mild or sharp cheddar but don't buy it pre-shredded - shred your own cheese. - Jenny Jones
- 2 1/2 cups milk (I use 1% or 2% low fat milk)
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 12 ounces elbows or other pasta (about 4 cups)
- 8 ounces reduced fat cheddar cheese, which you shred or thinly slice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- Cook macaroni per package directions.
- Whisk together the milk and flour and place in a large sauté pan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
- Cook & stir about 10 minutes until thickened. Keep stirring as it can easily burn.
- Remove pan from heat. Stir in cheese, salt & pepper. Do not cook the sauce once the cheese is added.
- Add cooked & drained macaroni. Done.
Want to Bake it With a Crispy Top? After step #5, transfer to a greased casserole dish, top with fresh breadcrumbs and bake, uncovered, at 375° F for about 20 minutes.
So glad to find your whole wheat bread recipe and a simpler mac and cheese recipe that my teenagers can learn. I am thrilled to find a cooking/recipe site with no ads!
Found you by accident and I am thrilled I did. I finally can get bread to turn out with your easy quick recipe. I am making it today for the third time and will be making it again for our family get together this weekend. I even bought a cast iron Dutch oven now so will be trying it in that this weekend. Thanks again there are so many recipes that I want to try on your site
This recipe is foolproof!! This time i mixed extra sharp cheddar with gruyere. Thanks for another hit in our house!
I found your recipes by accident and so happy I did. I made my first chicken pot pie and first crust and also the no knead bread so far and they came out perfect! I love to cook and enjoy cooking even more now. I look forward to trying more of your recipes including this Mac and cheese. I cannot wait! Thank you so much!
I found your recipes by accident and so happy I did. I made my first chicken pot pie and first crust and also the no knead bread so far and they came out perfect! Thank you for your simple and delicious recipes. I love to cook and enjoy cooking even more now. I look forward to trying more of your receipes including this Mac and cheese. I cannot wait! Thank you so much!
I’ve been looking for an easy, non-boxed version of Mac & Cheese and I found it right here. I just made it and it was delicious! I used 0% milk and it worked very well so if you want to cut out more fat, try the 0% milk.
I just made Mac and Cheese and then I put it in the oven. It was delicious.
Thank you for the recipe.
Wonderful basic mac n cheese recipe ~ tasty and quick to make.
I just made this dish. I took one spoonful and had to write a comment. Delicious! You make me want to cook. So far I made three of your recipes.
All great, and easy to make. Thank you so much!
I made this recipe tonight and it is another winner Jenny! I enjoyed it as well as the simplicity of just a few ingredients.
Omg! Just made this Mac n Cheese! I used regular sharp cheddar and nutmeg(a sprinkle or 2), then add a good sprinkle of garlic salt and a nosh of parsley! I also had some old croutons I crunched on top! Let just say OMG!! Oh and some fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano!
Everything you make is so easy! I make your bread every week! I also am making your chocolate cake right now! I double it in a 9”springform pan! The frosting is next!
I just can’t believe it has no cream eggs etc!
Are you sensitive to butter and not oil? Or is it just a health issue
Made this today, so darn good! Could not find my grater but I sliced that cheese so thin! Thank you Jenny!!!!!!
So easy & so good. I only had shredded cheese but a brick is on my list for next week. I used small ziti and the cheese got into all the grooves. Love your recipes, Jenny, thanks so much for sharing them!
I make your Mac & Cheese with unsweetened Almond Milk and GF macaroni. Tastes great! It has become a staple.
I wondered if almond milk would work!
I have made many different mac and cheese recipes only to find out they lack taste even with many ingredients and cheeses. Jenny, I made this last night and it was delicious and creamy, not grainy at all. This is my new go to recipe for mac and cheese. Thanks!
Made this today. The sauce had a grainy texture. It didn’t help that I burned it a little and used skim milk. The consistency was good. I used sharp cheddar and that was a little bland and did not have Momma Used to Make flavor. It is really easy to make. Just need to turn down the temperature and get some whole milk. I’d give me a D+. Jenny? A+ of course.
We have at least 2 coronavirus people in our building. They were popular people and may have infected half the building. Everyone is washing hands like crazy and staying 6 feet away from their neighbors. We will make it through this while enjoying Jenny’s Mac and Cheese.
Dennis, I am so sorry about other people in your building…keep safe! I’ve never had much time to cook before and every recipe seemed so complicated until I found Jenny. After self-isolating for two weeks I’ve made lots of recipes and find cooking the most rewarding time-filling activity. This mac and cheese turned out perfectly for me, but the only cheese I had that wasn’t pre-grated was smoked Gouda. Amazing! And Jenny’s apple pie was a total revelatory success as was the little chocolate cake! Had never made hard-boiled eggs before that didn’t end up in the trash, and her recipe is magic.
Fingers crossed for good health and happy cooking!
I made this today; absolutely creamy & delicious!! Thanks Jenny!
My hubby who never eats mac n chs was so amazed how delicious and creamy it tasted. He wants me to make this more often. Thank you for this recipe ❤
Love your channel. Thank you so much for this wonderful and super easy recipe. It is my go to recipe now for mac and cheese. My kids love it, as do I. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.
This was an easy and a delicious Mac and cheese recipe! It’s a keeper, and thank you so much for the simple and easy recipes. Also loved the chocolate cake recipe. Made the baked ziti two nights ago and my husband had three servings. We will finish it up this evening. The secret was using only the amount of pasta you said. And using the ricotta with the warm ziti to begin. Thank you sooo very much, Jenny.
Thank you, Jenny, for a delicious macaroni and cheese recipe! I’ve attempted multiple recipes and all have been thumbed down by the family until this one. My DH doesn’t even like Mac & Cheese, but he enjoyed this dish very much. I’m wondering if anyone has ever tried using turmeric with this recipe for a coloring? My daughter likes “yellow” mac and cheese. I was wondering if it might affect the taste?
On the recipe for the Mac & Cheese, regarding the macaroni, 12 oz is almost 2 cups not 4 cups as indicated. Please correct. 16 oz is two cups.
I baked the cinnamon roles, out of this world good, the choc cake, OMG, and the meatloaf was so awesome. Your recipes are easy, healthy but most of all delicious.
I measured again and my 12 ounces of Anthony’s Large Elbows still comes out at 4 cups. I looked online and the general rule there is that 12 ounces of elbows is 3 cups but different shapes measure differently in cups. It’s still best to go by weight if possible but if not, I still suggest 4 cups of standard/large elbows. (it’s hard because every shape of pasta seems to measure differently in cups!)
Here are my measurements:
12 ounces large elbows = 4 cups
12 ounces of penne = 4 cups
12 ounces mini elbows = 3 1/2 cups
12 ounces cavatappi = 5 cups
I have to admit. I started with cinnamon rolls then expanded to almost all of your recipes. Today I cooked spaghetti and meatballs. Kids were crazy.
1. All your recipes are easy to follow
2. Time saving
3. Super tasty
4. Found out I am a good cook. Lol
I made your polish cabbage roll recipe and I forgot to put in the parsley, yet it still turned out great !
Thank you very much for your website and for sharing the recipes, they are amazing!
I have learned from you how to make this simple american macaroni dish.
I’m Polish, so I didn’t know this dish until I have tried it. Now it’s even better – I know how to make it!!!
Thank you very much, Jenny, I wish you all the best!
Dinner was delicious. Thank you. So simple. I always make a rue and never thought to do it this way. The milk flour mixed ahead is a great thing to know. Also I added ham to it and well… I ate to much. Lol. Ham isn’t healthy and I rarely eat it but we had some left over so into the mac and cheese it went. Your cinnamon rolls are awsome as well. Will be trying your Haluski Cabbage & Noodles next. Love your food. Your making me a better cook all the time. Thank you so much.
Thank you Jenny!
I just made this recipe and it is sooo good. I added a big pinch (1/8 tsp) of Hungarian paprika to the cheese sauce to give it a little pzazz. I also lightly toasted baguette crumbs in the toaster oven before mixing the Cellentani pasta & sauce. I poured the mac & cheese into a deep 5 qt Pyrex casserole dish sprinkled the crunchy bread crumbs and a 1/2 oz of shredded cheese over the top and popped the whole thing back under the toaster oven broiler for about a minute. O.M.G.
I love your recipes and plan on making this mac and cheese. Can I bake it after I mix it all together? If so, for how long would you recommend I bake it? Thank you.
Other people have asked so I put that info at the bottom of the recipe.
I just made this for dinner and not only did I love it, so did my husband. He went back for more twice. Lol.
Now, I am making the English muffins. They are so simple to make. I am using a cast iron pan, butso far so good.
Made this again using thinly sliced potatoes instead of macaroni, and WOW! This makes a really easy scalloped potatoes dish as well! I just made the sauce as directed, then layered it with the potatoes in a buttered dish; baked it at 400 degrees C until the potatoes were tender…and VOILA! Such a versatile (sauce) recipe. Can’t wait to try it with veggies as well!
you mentioned a book? I figure you mean a cook book? an e-mail address
& price for Cook book. Love your show, are you married!!
Please see my FAQs.
Hi Jenny! I’m twelve and I love your recipes. I’m planning on making this for my family for dinner. However, we don’t have reduced fat cheddar cheese. Just cheddar cheese. Is that okay? Thanks so much!
Yes, you can use regular cheddar cheese. Good luck with your dinner!
Omg, I just made this for my mac n cheese kid, and I myself can’t stop eating it, I really can’t believe this is so much healthier, I’ve been looking for a heathy recipe like this forever…your amazing and thank you so much, this is now our go to mac n cheese.
OMG… my family LOVED it!! I have never made homemade mac & cheese, but I will ONLY make homemade from now on… This recipe is almost too easy for Man & Cheese that taste this good!!! Thanks Jenny!!
Hi Jenny, I just tried your recipe and worked quite well. It was the first time ever for me to create a while sauce without even using butter or any type of fat. However, I would suggest you add a couple more simple ingredients to the sauce that would enhance the cheesy taste. Such are a teaspoon of mustard, a few drips of Worcestershire and hot sauce.
Keep up to the good work
Just made this tonight and it was amazingly simple and sooo yummy! I only used 3 cups of pasta (I like to have the extra sauce) and a little over the 2 cups of cheese and it came out so creamy. I usually make the version that has butter in it, but I didn’t miss it in this recipe. Next time, I will use a sharper cheddar and try baking it – mac & cheese HAS to have that baked/burnt cheese crust ;P Thanks for the recipe! It’s a keeper!
It was very nice and easy to make thank you
How many calories per serving would this be?
I don’t know since I don’t count calories.
This recipe is a hit with my family and foolproof, it doesn’t curdle or end up too thick or too watery. Just right and simply delicious ☺
Hi Jenny! Is this recipie good for making it with your best friend for dinner at a sleepover? Because we both love to cook and bake!
Hi Jenny!! i’m 14 years old and would like to try to make this for my family tonight! for the milk and flour mixture, do i bring the heat to high until it boils first and then reduce it to low and allow it to cook for an additional 10 minutes?
That’s exactly right. Good luck!
I just went out to buy the ingredients and was only able to find sharp cheddar. They didnt have reduced fat. Will that be okay to use to melt into the milk/flour mixture?
Yes, it’s fine. It just won’t be as healthy.
This tastes amazing!!!! I added a lot more cheese though, and chili powder made it irresistible! thank you!!!!!
I tried to make mac and cheese using this recipe today. As someone mentioned before my mac and cheese turned out gritty so I was wondering if you could help me figure out what I did wrong. I used all purpose flour, Tillamook sharp cheddar full fat cheese, and 2% milk. My milk and flour started to curdle (as I see you’ve mentioned before it may have been because I cooked it too hot), but my sauce never came to a boil or thickened. (So I kept it on the stove longer than 10 minutes, but again no boil or thickened consistency.) I also added the cheese slowly at first, without heat, and halfway through added the rest. The cheese did not properly melt and as said before, the mac and cheese ended up gritty. Please let me know how I can fix this. Thank you!
Gabby, mix sure to mix the flour very thoroughly before cooking. It sounds also like you did not constantly stir the mixture. Also, you should always remove the sauce from the heat before adding the cheese. Do not cook the sauce after you have added the cheese.
Grainy mac & cheese is generally caused by too much heat. I agree that your pan needed to be removed from the burner before adding the cheese. Also, your milk and flour need to come to a boil and then keep cooking on low heat for 10 minutes. I suggest you try this recipe again, do not leave the stove, stir the milk and flour constantly, and follow every step exactly. Let me know if it turns out better.
Hi New to Baking & Jenny,
I did stir the sauce often, about every minute or so. I forgot to mention that I had let the milk and flour sit a while before I had added it to the pan, and forgot to stir it again before I started cooking it, so some of the milk and flour turned into a paste. (I then tried to stir that while it was in the pan right away.) Could this have caused the problem? I will try the recipe again. Thank you.
Hi, I’m 15 years old and love to cook. Thank you for the recipe. It tasted very good, It reminded me so much of the one my school cafeteria makes that I like. I did make a few changes though. First, I used 3 ounces of extra sharp cheddar cheese, combined with 3- 1 ounce slices of 2% milk American cheese. Second, I increased the flour to 1/3 cup. Also, I added 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard, 1 tbsp grated Parmesan-style topping, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. I also used whole wheat rotini pasta. I will definitely keep this recipe.
This tasted great but mine turned out a bit gritty…not sure what would have caused that. I followed the recipe to a T but I wonder if the milk and flour mixture didn’t cook long enough. Anyone else have this problem? I would like to know what I did wrong so I could fix it next time.
This should not happen so can you please tell me what kind of milk and what brand of cheese you used? I think I can help figure it out with this information.
Thanks for your reply. I used 2% milk and full fat cheese (I didn’t have low fat).
Your ingredients should not have caused a problem (assuming you used all purpose flour and did not use pre-shreded cheese) so all I can think of is you either cooked too fast or too hot. Keep your heat low when you cook the milk & flour and keep stirring. Make sure it’s no longer cooking when you add the cheese (preferably shredded) and add the cheese slowly, not all at once. That’s all I can think of so I hope it helps. Let me know if you try again.
Yes I did use all purpose flour and a block of cheese that I shredded myself. I did cook it fast and added the cheese all at once when I took it off the stove… that was probably the problem. I’ll be more aware next time and add it slowly. It still tastes good and is a great recipe.. thanks for sharing and for your help 🙂
Guess what I am eating?? Your Mac & Cheese!!
Loving it! Woke up this morning with a cold….WANTED Mac & Cheese
and there YOU were!!! Been Lovin’ You for years…
If you ever decide to give up that awesome BLOUSE,
Pass it My Way!!!
made it today ( I’m 16) and I loved it and so did my family thanks a lot!
Thanks for letting me know. It’s great that you’re cooking for your family at sixteen. Keep it up!!
Jenny can you make more by doing 1/2 cup flour-3 cups milk and more cheese?
If you want to make more you would need to keep the same balance of ingredients so this is too much flour for 3 cups of milk. It takes a little math but you need to increase each ingredient by the same percentage. It’s not always easy so I usually use a calculator (or I just double the recipe).
love recipe so much!
i hv question,if i want to use rice cooker, how is the recipe would be? is there any method?
I have never used a rice cooker for anything but I see there are lots of recipes online for mac & cheese in a rice cooker so a search might be helpful to you.
hi jenny im kenisha. im from the Philippines. i m 12years old.i cook mac and cheese in our home i try it my family love it so much and i love it too.tanks for the video you made i love it so much
I’m so happy to see someone your age cooking for the family. They must be so proud of you.
Hi Jenny, that’s such a great and quick recipe! Looks yummy! I want to try this recipe on the weekend, I would like to add chicken on this recipe. How do I do that?
To keep this a fast meal, I would just stir in some bite-size pieces of cooked, warm chicken at the end, when you add the macaroni.
Made this as a side for tonight’s dinner and it was great! Even my picky hubby enjoyed it. I have quite a bit leftover, so we’ll probably have some with ham, for lunch tomorrow. Thanks so much for your great recipes!
Super recipe! thanks Jenny tried with corn flour as I ran out of APF. Turned out well also added oregano and basil and paresan. A big hit with my kid.
Jenny is right that the anti-caking agents in pre-grated cheeses tend to dry them out and make them melt less well. This might not be an issue for cheddar except that Jenny has chosen to use low-fat cheese and milk to keep the calories down (not a bad idea in itself, but don’t kid yourselves: you still need to control portions even with low-calorie eats 😉 ) and so she needs all the moisture/grease she can to properly emulsify the sauce. With harder cheeses such as Parmesan, the problem becomes critical regardless of fat content (my Carbonara sauce never turns out well unless I’ve grated my own cheese or use cream, and Italian purists tell me this latter is a capital crime).
SO… always buy block cheese and take the time to grate it yourself – as Jenny demonstrates here, it doesn’t take THAT much time and it’s a good distraction while you wait for something else to finish. As an added bonus, if you leave a block of cheese in the fridge too long and part of it molds, you can cut off the moldy part, change the Saran wrap and the rest will usually still be good. For obvious reasons, you can’t necessarily do that with powdered cheese.
WOW … this is the most delicious mac n cheese I’ve ever prepared! Jenny is clear with the recipe and my son loved the tasty n creamy consistency! Thank you Jen!
Very easy & healthy… Can’t hardly wait to try it……sooon!!!!
Thanks Jenny, what a lovly share..
Regards from Indonesia 🙂
Hi Jenny Love your videos!! Can you reheat in microwave as I don’t think we could eat it all I in one sitting?Actually probably could but trying to cut back!!
I can’t say because I usually reheat mine in a 300 degree oven or on the stove top with a little added milk. I looked up some websites and they say if you microwave not to do it on full power. I hope that helps.
Yum! Made it twice and with some broccoli it’s a quick meal.
Do I have to use an all purpose flour? Is it alright if I don’t use it? As it is very hard for me to get an all purpose flour. Thanks
You can use any plain flour or white flour but I would not suggest whole wheat. This recipe does require flour for thickening so you can’t just omit it.
Hi jenny I was just wondering if it would be ok to use fat free milk as I use that in my house.
I think fat free milk would probably curdle.
Thank you very much!!
Perfect for students like me.
I’d be thankful if you could put more fast and simple recipes…
Hi jenny your mac n cheese was sooo good could I take some for lunch? I know its a dumb question but I’m only 10 plus, I remembered the milk was part of the sauce.
It’s not a dumb question at all, in fact it’s a good one. And you’re smart to realize that something made with milk might not be good to leave without refrigeration so unless you have a special container that will keep it cold, I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Ok thanks. You have some really good recipes. I think I’ll do your Christmas bread next:-)
Can this be made with mozzarella cheese?
Mozzarella does melt well but it does not have much flavor so I think your dish would be bland. You could try half mozzarella and half sharp cheddar.
Hello Jenny, may I use other milk than 1% in this recipe?
You can use whole milk or 2% but not fat-free as it would likely curdle.
Oh, you read my mind! 😀
I wanted to ask if i may use 2% instead of 1%. 🙂
Thanks for answer!
Delicious! I tried and whole family loved it! Thanks for this recipe, Jenny! 🙂
Hi Jenny this looks really good I just love all of your recipes can’t wait to try them going to the store today and make the mac n cheese and your double chocolate cookies,but one quick question can I use AP flour instead of wheat flour I don’t use wheat flour @ all and I feel that it will be a waist of buying it since I have never used it ok Thks!
Yes, you can use all purpose flour in the cookies.
looks really good jenny your the best
Made this with some smoked gouda and some reduced fat sharp cheddar and my family loved it! Thanks for the recipe. Love your channel.
Wow awesome I’m 12 and I’m defiantly going to try this.
I’m only 12 and I love to cook and I hate boxed mac and cheese because who knows what’s in it? Mine came out perfectly and its sooooo good!!
I am really looking forward to making this tomorrow. I love your videos and keep making them. I am on a big diet and i thought making this would be a great day. Thank you CYBER HUGS!!<3
Thanks for cooking this meal, my family loves it, I just started making this meal, my daughter loves making it too! Thank You. bye
Also Cook more meals please…
I love your recipes. Make this today and it was lovely.
I added egg scramble to this and its tasted great ! Thax.
Tastes great! Was quick and easy to make. Thank you!