What could be easier than a ONE POT Macaroni and Cheese recipe. Not only is clean up easy but you can prepare this in TEN MINUTES. No one will ever guess what makes this easy homemade mac and cheese recipe so creamy.
I think most people consider Macaroni and Cheese to be the all time comfort food. After all, what can be more comforting than gooey cheese and pasta. All of my favorite recipes require you to cook the pasta first and then add it to a cheesy cream sauce like with Southern-style macaroni and cheese , or this creamy mac and cheese with spinach.
But this one pot macaroni and cheese recipe is completely different. It has the basics, milk, cheese and pasta and one unusual ingredient, COTTAGE CHEESE. This gives it a creamy texture along with the oooey gooey cheddar cheese.
I’ve saved the BEST for last, you don’t have to cook the pasta, just add it uncooked to the milk mixture and it cooks while it’s baking. This makes it even easier than a boxed version.
You don’t have to stand over the stove or do anything other than dump it all together in a casserole dish. You do need to stir it one time in the middle of the cooking process, but I forget half the time and it still turns out great.
Stirring, makes sure all the pasta is coated with cheese while it bakes.
Why you’ll love it
- You won’t find any mac and cheese recipe that’s easier
- A combination of three cheeses gives it a great flavor and texture
- You don’t have to cook the pasta first
- You can make it in advance
- You can freeze any left overs
What you’ll need
- Uncooked pasta – elbow shaped is the classic but any type of pasta with a spiral or curve will hold the yummy cheese filling.
- Cottage cheese – This creamy cheese adds a great texture and smoothness to dish.
- Cheddar cheese – half mild and half sharp. It will melt better if you shred it yourself, but pre-shredded is helpful on busy nights and you won’t be able to tell any difference in flavor.
- Whole milk – you need whole milk to make it creamy.
- Pantry staples – butter, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and nutmeg
How do you make One Pot Macaroni and Cheese
A food processor, blender or emersion blender is needed for this recipe. If using a food processor or blender add the cottage cheese, milk, and seasonings and process until it’s smooth. Add all but ¼ cup of the cheese and blend a little more, just to combine. If using an emersion blender, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and blend it.
Dump the cheese mixture into an oven proof casserole dish and add the UNCOOKED pasta and stir to combine.
Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover and STIR and top with a little butter and ¼ cup cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
To mix this together, you can use a food processor, blender or emersion blender. If you don’t have any of those you can use a hand mixer or in a pinch, just stir with a spoon.
So if you’re in a tiny apartment and don’t have room for a food processor or blender, it might not be quite as creamy but it will still be delicious.
What is the best cheese for mac and cheese
For the cheese combination, I like a mild and a sharp cheddar, it gives it the traditional macaroni and cheese taste. If you want it to be really melty, use American cheese that you can find at the deli in most grocery stores, not the pre-packaged slices.
This baked mac and cheese will need to cook for about an hour, but the prep time is minimal and your house/apartment will smell wonderful.
This is a great dish to serve with almost any meal but is also an easy dish to take to a potluck or holiday meal. Kids and adults will love the creamy cheddar taste.
FAQ’s and TIPS
You can use pre-shredded cheese but it doesn’t melt quite the same due to preservatives so you won’t get the stringy cheesy pull that you would otherwise.
If you don’t have a food processor or just don’t feel like pulling it out, use an emersion blender or regular blender or even a hand mixer. Don’t have any of these handy, then just mix with a spoon, still delicious!
You can easily freeze any leftovers. Just warm in oven or even in the microwave.
An elbow or shell are the traditional pastas used for macaroni and cheese but I also like the ear shaped orecchiette.
Looking for some more One Pot meals
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
One Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 8 ounces mild cheddar cheese grated
- 8 ounces elbow pasta uncooked
- Preheat oven to 375º. Butter a baking 9 inch round or square baking dish.
- In a food processor or blender, mix together 1 tablespoon butter, cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper until well blended. Once blended, add all but ¼ cup cheese and blend just a bit more.
- Pour into a large bowl and add uncooked pasta. Combine and pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and stir, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with 1 tablespoon of butter. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- Don’t forget to stir this half way through.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can mix with an emersion blender or hand mixer or just stir.
- You can freeze left-overs and reheat in microwave or oven.
- If you want it even more gooey, add some American cheese to the mix.