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Cast-Iron Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

Why This Recipe Works

While boxed or frozen mac and cheese from the supermarket can certainly be a convenient family favorite, it just doesn't hold the same allure for adults as for kids. And many “quick” homemade macaroni and cheese recipes are just as lackluster, involving a tasteless, lumpy mix of shredded cheese and mushy pasta. Our goal was to develop a skillet macaroni and cheese that the whole family would enjoy as a weeknight meal. We went for simplicity and convenience when developing our recipe, opting to keep the whole process on the stovetop to make it a quick-cooking dinner. Using evaporated milk in place of whole milk or heavy cream kept the sauce from curdling and from being too rich. A mix of mild cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses provided plenty of rich flavor and gave us the right amount of meltability, and the great heat retention of the cast-iron pan kept the cheese from congealing after it was stirred in.

Ingredients

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3 ½ cups water, plus extra as needed
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
12 ounces (3 cups) elbow macaroni
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
6 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
6 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Nutritional Information

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Per Serving (Serves 4)

  • Calories 839
  • Cholesterol 130 mg
  • Fat 43 g
  • Sodium 1106 mg
  • Saturated 26 g
  • Carbs 73 g
  • Trans 0 g
  • Dietary Fiber 3 g
  • Monounsaturated 8 g
  • Sugar 11 g
  • Polyunsaturated 1 g
  • Protein 38 g

The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Instructions

Serves 4

You can substitute small shells (3 cups) for the macaroni.

1. Bring water, 1 cup evaporated milk, macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to vigorous simmer in 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, until macaroni is tender and liquid has almost completely evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Whisk remaining 1/2 cup evaporated milk, cornstarch, mustard, and hot sauce together in bowl, then stir into skillet. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

3. Off heat, stir in cheddar and Monterey Jack, 1 handful at a time, until melted. Stir in extra hot water as needed to adjust consistency. Stir in butter and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.