Quick and Easy 3-Ingredient Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Easy Homemade Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Just 3 Ingredients

Craving creamy, cheesy comfort food? This 3-ingredient stovetop mac and cheese comes together faster than boxed versions but tastes infinitely better. With just pantry staples, you can whip up a gourmet meal in minutes!

Get ready to indulge in a pot of creamy, gooey, cheesy macaroni perfection. The best part? It only requires three ingredients and about 10 minutes of your time. That’s right – fewer ingredients and just as quick as the boxed stuff, but oh-so-much more delicious.

The secret lies in the cooking method and carefully chosen ingredients. By using less water, we concentrate the starch from the pasta, creating a natural thickener for our sauce. Evaporated milk provides a rich base, while sharp cheddar cheese brings that classic mac and cheese flavor we all love.

The Magic of Minimal Ingredients

This recipe was inspired by the classic Roman dish cacio e pepe. By applying similar techniques to American flavors, we’ve created a mac and cheese that’s both simple and sophisticated. Here’s how we make the magic happen:

1. Less Water, More Flavor

We use just enough water to cover the pasta, concentrating the starch that’s crucial for a creamy sauce. This simple step prevents your cheese from turning grainy or greasy.

2. Evaporated Milk: The Secret Weapon

Evaporated milk is packed with proteins that act as powerful emulsifiers, keeping your sauce smooth and preventing separation. It’s the key to achieving that perfect, velvety texture.


  • 6 ounces (170g) elbow macaroni
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces (180ml) evaporated milk
  • 6 ounces (170g) grated mild or medium cheddar cheese (or any good melting cheese like Fontina, Gruyère, or Jack)


  1. Place macaroni in a medium saucepan or skillet and add just enough cold water to cover. Sprinkle in a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Continue cooking and stirring until the water is nearly absorbed and the macaroni is just shy of al dente, about 6 minutes.
  2. Quickly add the evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Stir in the cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts completely and the liquid reduces to a creamy sauce, about 2 minutes more. Taste and add salt if needed. Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade cheesy masterpiece!

Chef’s Tips

Want to elevate your mac and cheese even further? Try these delicious additions:

  • A dash of hot sauce for a spicy kick
  • A pinch of mustard powder for depth of flavor
  • A small knob of butter for extra richness

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This 3-ingredient stovetop mac and cheese is a game-changer. It’s faster than delivery, cheaper than eating out, and infinitely customizable. Plus, it’s made with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Whether you’re cooking for kids, entertaining friends, or just treating yourself, this recipe is sure to become a go-to favorite.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
699 Calories
37g Fat
57g Carbs
34g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving
Calories 699
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 21g 103%
Cholesterol 112mg 37%
Sodium 1238mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 9%
Total Sugars 11g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 2mg 9%
Calcium 861mg 66%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 415mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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