High Five Recipe: Creamy Mac and Cheese

High Five Recipes 2

I’ve been searching my whole life (give or take) for a good homemade mac and cheese recipe.  The recipes I’ve come up with in the past are decent….but not great.

A couple of months ago, a friend told me how she makes it.  I adapted it a bit and now we can’t seem to get enough!  It is THE creamiest mac and cheese ever.

Here’s the secret:  Cook your pasta in MILK instead of water.  The milk makes it super creamy.  The starch from the pasta thickens the milk into a sauce.  Add your cheese after the pasta is finished cooking.

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Uh-huh…comfort food at it’s best.

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta
3 cups whole milk
1/2 t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheese (I use white cheddar)

Mix pasta, milk and salt in a large sauce pan.  Cook over medium-high heat STIRRING ALMOST CONSTANTLY until the pasta is tender (10-15 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Add cheese and stir until melted.  Serve immediately.

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You can use any shape of pasta you want.  I have found that elbow noodles cook quite a bit faster so I use those when I need a quick lunch.

Everytime I make this, we can not believe how creamy and delicious it is.  My lifelong search for awesome homemade macaroni and cheese has come to an end.  We should have some sort of mac and cheese ceremony.

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Comments

  1. JB says

    I made this virtually fat free. Delicious! The only fat comes from the whole wheat pasta. I used 2 cups fat free evaporated milk, 1 cup of water, three cups of whole wheat fusilli pasta and added a sprinkle of ground mustard while it was cooking. I cooked it from cold for 20 minutes. Then after I took it off the heat I added 3 slices of Borden sharp fat free singles. Note: use less salt in the milk/ water mixture because the cheese is really salty. I would probably add 1/4 cup more water or milk next time and cook for 2 minutes longer to make the pasta a little softer and thin the sauce a bit because the pasta really absorbs the liquid after you take it off the heat. I ate the whole thing in one sitting!

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    Michelle Reply:

    You are my hero! I ran out of milk and was still able to make this from your instructions.

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    Tim Reply:

    you are aware that fat is much better for you than carbs? Fat makes energy, carbs also make energy. The difference is, fat burns first, so you typically use it all. Carbs burn last, and if you don’t burn it all with you metabolism, it becomes body fat. Fat free diets are really bad for you. Your brain needs fats to function properly. Check out this website, it’s full of great, scientifically peer reviewed studies that are boiled down to tips, cutting edge nutrition, and other fitness and health topics. http://exrx.net/

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  2. Audra says

    Looks good! Can’t wait to try it. Do you know if it will hold up well in crockpot after cooking on stove? That is always my problem with homemaded mac-n-cheese. It separates in the crockpot!

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    Laura Reply:

    Hmm, I haven’t tried it before. I feel like this dish is served best fresh and straight off the stove!

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  3. says

    Laura,
    Your pictures brought back memories – I used to make this dish for my son when he was growing up. Yours looks so inviting, I am going to make it tonight. If you want to make even healthier, use whole grass-fed milk and grass-fed cheddar. And you’re right, this dish is best served right away – if you can get everyone to stop eating it right from the pot….

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  4. Mary Nasvik says

    Can it be baked in the oven after cooking on the stove?

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    Laura Reply:

    Yes. I find that it gets a little dry that way, but it does work decently.

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    shan Reply:

    will it get dry if i just wanted to add cheese on top so it could have
    that crisp to it in the oven

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  5. Rachele says

    I will be making this for Thanksgiving. I have two picky eaters who DO NOT like anything but turkey for thanksgiving dinner. I thought this would be perfect for them. Thank you Laura!!

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  6. Laurel says

    Okay, I myself have searched LONG and hard for a good creamy mac n’ cheese, and when I read that you cooked it in the milk, my response to myself was “DUH! cuz that makes sense!” so thank you, I have now ended my search as well=)

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  7. Staci says

    I just found another use for whey. I used it for part of the milk in this recipe.

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    karli Reply:

    Wouldn’t the heat from the stove top take away the “good” stuff from the whey? Or does it work like that?

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  8. Staci says

    It is not a cultured whey, I am not using it for those benefits. I have health conditions that are aggravated by aged cheese and cultured products. I recently learned how to make farmers cheese. I am so excited to have a cheese I can eat all I want of, but it leaves me with a lot of left over whey. I am learning it can be substituted for the milk or water in a lot of recipes and some of them come out better.

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  9. Staci says

    I love this recipe as I use the basic idea with variations. I put some water instead of some of the milk as my girls think the all milk version is too creamy. I find it cooks easier this way. I also have substituted whey. I did do all whey one time, but that came out overly sweet. Just part is better. I also keep Simply Organic Ceaser Dressing mix in my cupboard to replace some or all of the cheese. I use a tablespoon or two. This reminds me of the ease of boxed mac and cheese. I don’t always have cheese but I usually have dressing mix, milk, and pasta. It is very good with the dressing mix and some of the shredded cheese.

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  10. Jennifer Blaine says

    I have tried this 2 times now. My cheese gets a very grainey texture to it. It is not very appetizing. What am I doing wrong?

    [Reply]

    Nico Reply:

    @Jennifer — you’re cooking your cheese too fast/hot or, you have shredded cheese with a “non clumping” additive in it.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Make sure you are removing it from the heat before adding the cheese in. I hope that helps!

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  11. Lisa says

    This is soooo good! Just made it for a meatless meal on Friday. Seriously, it’s a winner, thank you for posting! I didn’t have whole milk on hand, so I threw in a little butter and it worked like a charm! I think we just permanently moved from boxed mac to homemade.

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  12. Jenni says

    Just now tried this. Problem I ran into (unfortunately while kids are waiting for lunch as we speak) is that the milk boiled away/thickened up before the noodles got cooked all the way through. How can I fix this? Tried adding a little more milk, but no luck.

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    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I would start with more milk at the beginning and see if that helps.

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  13. says

    I love this recipe! I made this yesterday and added about 1 c. steamed caulifower. The cauliflower was steamed until really soft. It was left over from something else – and boy was it a great addition! I was interrupted and came back to a cold plate and reheated it and it stated great still. I think the cauliflower held up the sauce better for a reheat. I think this might be a way for those who want to bake it to retain some moisture. I am trying it that way later. Thanks!

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  14. Morgan Gibson says

    Help!!!!! What am I doing wrong, every time I cook pasta dish in milk it tastes flourie. Am I not cooking the pasta fast or hot enough. My pasta is never done enough and I always have to add more milk. It still has to much bit to it. Love the mac and cheese recipe but I can never seem to get it right!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Start by adding more milk at the beginning and see if that helps.

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  15. says

    We were just looking for a homemade mac n cheese recipe! This looks great- how many servings does it make?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    3-4 Servings.

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  16. Jennifer says

    Mmm, this has become our favourite (although it’s a bit weird with homemade whole wheat pasta, it’s fine with everything else I’ve tried). Easy, quick and the kids love it!

    Today we took this up a notch by sauteing some garlic in butter first, then cooking as normal. Afterwards we added some smoked sausage, some extra cheese, topped it with bread crumbs, a bit of parsley, and some melted butter and broiled it for a few minutes. It was so classy! :)

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  17. Doris Graham says

    Hi, I am making a Mac and Cheese for 30 people I don’t know how much noodles and milk I will need, please help. Thank you

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    Laura Reply:

    This recipe makes enough for about 5 people. So this recipe multiplied by six. Wow, that’s a lot of mac and cheese!

    [Reply]

  18. Doris Graham says

    Thank you, yes that is a lot of mac and cheese, do you estimate that as 2 boxes you think?

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes!

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  19. Nicole says

    Does anyone know if this will work with almond milk instead? I’m afraid it will change the taste too much.

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    Alana Lepine Reply:

    I have the same question – Almond milk and goat cheese???

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  20. Naasha M says

    Oh my goodness! I made mine with parmesan cheese and whole wheat rotini pasta, added a knob of butter and a grating of nutmeg, salt and fresh ground pepper. I stirred in some leftover roast chicken, cut up. Viola! Chicken Alfredo extraordinaire!!! Thanks for the basic recipe. Its a keeper!

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  21. Luree Johnston says

    Hi Laura,
    I’m wondering if you know if this would work with GF noodles, such as corn or brown rice noodles?
    Thanks! :)

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Yes, it should work fine. Laura has used Tinkyada brand.

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  22. says

    I made this today and I am in love with it! My daughter (age 4 and pretty picky eater) said, “This is the best mac n cheese you have ever made, Mom! Can you make it again?” The milk got pretty thick early on, so I just kept adding more milk. Definitely making again. Thank you for a great recipe!

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  23. Stacy Myers says

    This was so good and so easy!!! I’ve added it to my Favorites file. I didn’t even mind that I had to scrub the pan from scorched milk because I had to run out and shoo my kids away from the chicken poop pile. Ha!

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  24. pam says

    We did not care for the texture of the noodles at all cooked this way they were soft but not bouncy like pasta should be the sauce was great but the family won’t eat it because of the texture of the noodles

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