This skillet mac and cheese is fast, easy, uses only one dish, and requires very little stovetop fussing. The pasta cooks in a creamy milk sauce in the oven, and then two (or more!) types of cheese are stirred in at the end.
Add this simple skillet mac and cheese to your dinner arsenal and you just might achieve superhero status with the kids. And with yourself since it uses the unconventional approach of not having to take the time or the extra pot to boil the pasta. Instead, you simply dump everything in the same skillet and shove it in the oven. (Yes, seriously, mac and cheese with no standing at the stovetop and stirring.) It’s better than the boxed stuff in terms of being creamy and comforting. And there’s no contest when it comes to an easy-peasy weeknight rescue that keeps everyone, including the one doing the cooking and dish washing, quite content.–Jenny Howard
This recipe calls for a high-sided skillet to accommodate the cooking liquid. Alternatively, you could use a Dutch oven, although you may need to extend the time in the oven just a little. Bonus points if your pot of choice has an oven-safe lid, although a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil works quite nicely, too.
Skillet Mac and Cheese
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 35 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 oz), cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 1/4 cups whole milk, warmed
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces small pasta, such as shells, cavatappi, or lumache
- 8 ounces firm or semi-firm cheese, coarsely grated, preferably a combination of two or more, such as aged Cheddar, Fontina, Gouda, or Monterey Jack
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180°C).
- 2. In a very large, high-sided, oven-safe skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter until foaming. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and golden, 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in the milk. Add the water, salt, and pepper, and bring just to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- 3. As soon as the mixture comes to a simmer, immediately add the pasta and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake until the pasta is just cooked, 12 to 14 minutes.
- 4. Remove the skillet from the oven, add the cheeses, and gently stir just until the cheeses melt and the sauce is smooth. Let rest, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping it onto plates.
Skillet Mac and Cheese With Bread Crumbs
- Feel free to sprinkle the top of the finished dish with panko or breadcrumbs and slide it under the broiler for a minute or two.