"Instant" Mac and Cheese Recipe

"No-boil, no-bake, one-pan mac and cheese is not just possibly simple, but simply possible! On top of producing awesome taste and texture, the whole procedure only took a few minutes longer than the boxed stuff; not to mention we avoided about a dozen ingredients we probably shouldn’t be eating. Just make sure to grate your own (high-quality) Cheddar and turn off the heat as soon as the cheese melts, and the process should go smoothly."


  • Adjust
  • US
  • Metric
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch dried mustard (optional)
  • 1 very small pinch ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • Directions

  • Prep
  • Cook
  • Ready In
    1. Bring milk, salt, cayenne, mustard, nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon butter to a simmer in a pot over medium heat. Stir in macaroni. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until firm yet tender to the bite, about 8 minutes. Do not undercook.
    2. Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add bread crumbs and toast until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
    3. Stir cheeses into the cooked macaroni. Reduce heat to low and stir just until melted. Turn off heat, cover, and let sit for 3 minutes. Uncover, stir, and season to taste.
    4. Spoon mac and cheese into warm serving bowls; sprinkle toasted breadcrumbs on top.


    • Chef’s Notes:
    • If replacing kosher with fine salt, use 1/2 teaspoon.
    • Use 2 packed cups of any variety of Cheddar you prefer.

    Nutrition Facts

    Per Serving: 505 calories;34.2 g fat;26.4 g carbohydrates;23.2 g protein;101 mg cholesterol;921 mg sodium.Full nutrition
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