Skillet Mac and Cheese

Gooey skillet mac and cheese is rich, cheesy and oh so comforting. This cozy dish is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!

This mac and cheese goes great with just about anything. We generally eat it with BBQ chicken, grilled chicken, pork tenderloin, or pulled pork. It’s always a hit.

A serving spoon scooping Skillet Mac and Cheese

I know, another mac and cheese recipe!

I promise this is one you need in your arsenal! It’s dangerously cheesy and crazy addictive. We devoured this dish like there was no tomorrow!

If you’ve peeked at my recipe index you’ve probably noticed that I have quite a few macaroni and cheese recipes here on LMS. What can I say? Our family loves a good gooey pasta dish. This was one we really fell hard for. While it may be slightly more work than I’d like for a weeknight side, it’s totally worth it. 

When choosing the type of noodle for this recipe, make sure you for something with a hole or crevice for the sauce to hide in. I prefer using small elbows or small shells. Another great option would be rotini.

When choosing what type of non-cheddar cheese to use, go for something buttery, creamy and mild. I love Havarti, Gruyere or Muenster.

A measuring cup of dried elbow noodles for Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.

Making skillet mac and cheese

PREP. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

PASTA. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, cook pasta until al dente, drain and transfer to a large bowl.

BREAD CRUMBS. Meanwhile, in a small skillet set over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons butter. Once the butter has melted, add the breadcrumbs and toast until they become lightly golden in color. Remove from heat and stir in paprika, cayenne, salt and parsley. Set aside.

SAUCE. Return pot or Dutch oven to the stovetop, set over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons butter. Once the butter has melted, add flour and cook, whisking continuously for 1 minute, taking care not to burn. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk and whole milk, whisking until a smooth sauce forms. Season with mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Bring mixture to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

BAKE. Gradually stir in the cheeses, return pot to heat and stir in cooked noodles. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top, then cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove lid or foil and bake uncovered for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Note. Take care not to overcook your noodles or the final dish. You want the macaroni to be creamy, not dry. Make sure to serve it straight from the oven for the ultimate cheesy experience! 

Cooking macaroni and cheese in a skillet

Tips, Variations + Storing Info

How to make it extra creamy:

  • Use heavy cream instead of whole milk
  • Use high quality cheese

Variations:

  • Add chopped bacon
  • Add steamed peas and carrots
  • Add a bit of a kick by upping the amount of cayenne pepper!

STORE leftover mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for about a week Reheat individual servings in the microwave until warmed through.

To FREEZE:

  • Baked: Let the mac and cheese cool completely before placing it in a freezer safe container. Keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Then let it thaw overnight in the fridge and rewarm covered in the oven.
  • Unbaked: Assemble the mac and cheese like normal, cover it tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake as normal.

Make this mac and cheese 24 hours ahead of time, without the topping. Keep it covered in the fridge then before baking sprinkle the topping on the top and bake as normal.

Skillet Mac and Cheese with a serving spoon

For more must-make side dishes, try:

Skillet Mac and Cheese | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Skillet Mac and Cheese Recipe

Gooey skillet mac and cheese is rich, cheesy and oh so comforting. This cozy dish is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike!
5 from 3 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 483kcal
Print Recipe

Ingredients

For the Topping
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • tsp paprika
  • pinch cayenne
  • pinch kosher sea salt
  • 2 tsp parsley - freshly chopped
For the Macaroni
  • 1 lb elbow noodles - OR shells
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp kosher sea salt
  • tsp ground black pepper
  • tsp paprika
  • tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cup muenster cheese - OR Havarti OR gruyere cheese, grated
  • 2 cup mild cheddar cheese - grated
  • 2 cup medium cheddar cheese - grated

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large stock pot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, cook pasta until al dente, drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Meanwhile, in a small skillet set over medium heat, add 3 tablespoons butter. Once the butter has melted, add the breadcrumbs and toast until they become lightly golden in color. Remove from heat and stir in paprika, cayenne, salt and parsley. Set aside.
  • Return pot or Dutch oven to the stovetop, set over medium heat, add 4 tablespoons butter. Once the butter has melted, add flour and cook, whisking continuously for 1 minute, taking care not to burn. Slowly pour in the evaporated milk and whole milk, whisking until a smooth sauce forms. Season with mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Bring mixture to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
  • Gradually stir in the cheeses, return pot to heat and stir in cooked noodles.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over top, then cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove lid or foil and bake uncovered for an additional 6-8 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Use the largest holes on your cheese grater.
  • I used Muenster for this particular recipe, however, I’ve used Gruyere and Havarti in my other mac and cheese recipes.

Nutrition

Serving: 6g | Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 603mg | Potassium: 242mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 494mg | Iron: 1mg

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About the Author

Natalie

Wife, mother, baker and photographer. Recipe developer & author of Life Made Simple. A self-professed peanut butter lover and fond of anything that involves pumpkin, cookie dough, or sprinkles

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    Mac and Cheese is always on our dinner rotation! This recipe was so delicious! Making it again next week!