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Comfort food at its finest, this skillet mac & cheese is so easy! Just the skillet and a pasta pot, the and a quick broil, and this is ready FAST!
Step by step photos and instructions below!
This easy Mac and Cheese recipe has a creamy texture and plenty of flavor. It is the ultimate comfort food that you need to make right now.
This is one of my favorite meals to make for my family during the week, or on the weekends for lunch. I grab my cast iron skillet and a pasta pot, and get busy.
I use my large skillet for a lot of things. I just love how it can go from stove top to oven (cuts down on dishes), as well as how well and evenly it cooks food. Plus it looks super cool and rustic. Right?
I use a mix of cheddar and monterey jack. Mainly because that is what I usually have on hand but also because I like using different cheeses in one dish – it just gives a better blend of flavors.
Feel free to use what YOU have, and play around with different combinations. I would love for you to grate your own, too (the pre shredded cheese has an additive that makes it grainy/gritty when melted).
My mum used to cook pasta for my brother and me when we were younger. Come to think of it, when we were older too. She’d have a day off work, and we’d get special permission to go home for lunch, and she’d have this macaroni and cheese ready for us.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- This recipe is great as a side dish, or a main meal.
- Very simple ingredients. Things you likely already have at home.
- Easy to make. Just a pot, a skillet and about 20 minutes total time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Anything you love! I use a mix of cheddar and monterey jack cheese, but smoked gouda, gruyere, pepper jack goes great too. Anything melty will work!
I use 2% or whole milk with very little difference in flavor. Evaporated milk can also be used, but I would probably go half evaporated milk and half regular. Evaporated milk adds creaminess and body with the fat of cream, (as well as more protein than regular milk) but it is thicker than milk, so go easy.
What to serve with Mac & Cheese
I have included step by step photos and instructions, as well as tips and tricks in the post. If you’d rather skip all that, scoot right on down to the full recipe card located at the bottom of the post.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Pasta. Obviously, this is a macaroni dish so elbow macaroni is good here, but any type of pasta will do! I regularly large or small elbows, farfalle and rotini as well as shells. You’ll cook this while you make the sauce, so keep an eye on it!
- Butter. I used salted butter in my recipes. We use 6 tablespoons, which is about 85g.
- Flour. Regular all-purpose flour. This is what is used to thicken the sauce (also known as a roux)
- Milk. 2% or whole milk is just fine. Use whatever you have!
- Salt & Pepper. As always this is to taste. I have put measurements in the recipe at 1.5 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Start with that, but always taste as you go and add more if you need it.
- Cheese. I use a mix of extra sharp cheddar cheese and monterey jack cheese. You can use either, both or any blend you like.
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- 12 inch Skillet. This recipe is made best in a cast iron skillet, because they can go from stovetop to oven with no problem. If you don’t have any suitable skillets, make the sauce and pasta separately and pour into an oven safe baking dish and broil.
- Wooden spoon. You will need a good sized spoon to mix everything together.
- Cheese grater. Always a good idea to grate your own cheese for a creamy mac sauce.
How to make this recipe
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the macaroni or other pasta til al dente according to package directions. That means when the pasta is almost done but still firm. Drain the pasta and set aside.
Make the sauce
While the pasta cooks, melt the 6 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat – don’t let it brown.
Add the flour to the butter, and whisk together over the heat.
When the mixture bubbles for 30 seconds, slowly pour in the milk, whisking as you go and cook, stirring constantly until it thickens (about 3-5 mins)
Add the salt and pepper and test for seasoning.
Keep aside a half cup each of the cheeses, and stir in the rest a handful at a time – whisking the cheese mixture and sauce until smooth and the cheese melts.
Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the pasta folding it into the cheese sauce to combine it thoroughly.
Top with remaining cheese.
Broil the top
place under a broiler until golden brown and bubbling.
Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.
This dish is great on weeknights – a great addition to the meal is adding ham and peas, leftover chicken and broccoli, whatever you have!
What to do with leftovers
Store in a covered (air-tight) container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat until it is piping hot!
Adding a little bit of Dijon mustard (about a teaspoon) into the sauce with the milk adds a great flavor to the sauce. Mustard powder can also be used.
Garlic powder and/or onion powder added with the flour to the sauce also changes it up a little.
For a crunchy topping, mix bread crumbs, a little butter and some cheese in a small bowl. Add the breadcrumb mixture to the top of your cheesy mac and broil.
A little hot sauce on this at serving time is amazing!
Want more Easy Pasta Recipes?
- Chili Mac with Turkey. We’re bringing childhood back! Lightened-up with turkey vs beef, and made in one pan – this one is a family favorite!
- Florentine Chicken Lasagna Rolls Spinach, garlic, and cheese are all winners for this weeknight dinner! Delicious homemade Alfredo sauce is the key to these!
- Ham Tetrazzini. A super-fast weeknight dinner, this Ham Tetrazzini is a spin on the traditional version and is sure to please the whole family.
Easy Skillet Mac and Cheese
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta til al dente – drain and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat – don’t let it brown.
- Add the flour to the butter, and whisk together over the heat.
- When the mixture bubbles for 30 seconds, whisk in the milk, and cook, stirring regularly until it thickens (about 3-5 mins)
- Add the salt and pepper and test for seasoning.
- Keep aside a half cup each of the cheeses, and stir in the rest – whisking until smooth.
- When the pasta is almost done but still firm, drain it.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, and add the pasta folding it to combine it thoroughly.
- Top with remaining cheese, and place under a broiler until browned and bubbling.
- Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Update: This recipe was originally published in May of 2017. It was republished with updated photos in June of 2022.