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.


Print Shopping List

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


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.

From Our Shop

From Our Sponsors


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.