One Pot Mac and Cheese

One Pot Mac and Cheese

The name says it all, and yes you are right to be dubious but hear us out! This recipe is one of the easiest Mac and Cheese recipes you can make, and it’s all done with just one pot! The recipe follows all the conventional approaches you think about with Mac and Cheese, however instead of doing those processes separately, they’re combined. We’ll go into more detail below, but we highly recommend you try this amazing One Pot Mac and Cheese recipe as it’s awesome!

All the steps you need to make this One Pot Mac and Cheese dish

To perfect this dish there are four key steps. Each requires it’s own love and attention, but at the heart of it, they’re all very easy steps to follow. For the best result and a stress-free cook, we highly recommend preparing all your ingredients in advance. So cut up the Shallot, measure out the Flour and Milk, and shred the cheese. Also, please don’t use pre-shredded cheese. Buy the big blocks and get shredding!

Ok so now to the steps. The One Pot Mac and Cheese dish follows these four steps:

  1. Make a classic Roux
  2. Step 2 – Add Milk to create a Bechamel Sauce
  3. Step 3 – Add Water and Pasta to the Sauce (yep, that’s right!)
  4. Time to Add the Cheese

So, lets dive into each step in a bit more detail

One Pot Mac and Cheese easy recipe
Follow these steps to guarantee an amazing One Pot Mac and Cheese dinner!

1. Make a classic Roux

A roux is simply a paste-like mixture of Butter and Flour. It forms the basis for the classic mother sauce called ‘Béchamel’. Roux is also commonly used in creole cooking in popular dishes such as Gumbo. It is an essential ingredient that helps to thicken and flavor sauces. Our preferred method of creating Mac and Cheese is by creating a Béchamel, which all starts with a Roux

Making a roux is very easy. Melt some Butter into a large pan and then add the Flour. You alternate the quantities of each depending on how thick or thin you want the Roux to be. We want a relatively thick roux to thicken our sauce, so we’ve opted for an equal quantity of Flour to Butter. AP flour and Unsalted Butter will do

You want to mix this through well to get the flour cooked before moving onto the next step. Raw flour has an unpleasant taste and is quite bad for you. So, mix it all through, stirring continuously for about 3 – 4 minutes over a medium heat

2. Add Milk to create a Béchamel Sauce

Béchamel Sauce is a classic French ‘mother’ sauce. It’s called a mother sauce because it can be used as a base for so many different sauces and dishes. In this case, we’re making a cheese sauce to flavor our Mac and Cheese based on the Béchamel

To make a Béchamel for our One Pot Mac and Cheese, all you need to do is add milk and stir until it starts to thicken. You want to add the milk about one third at a time and mix into the roux to incorporate it all before adding more. This process will ensure that the roux completely absorbs into the Milk and doesn’t form any lumps

You will need to continuously stir the liquid until it starts to thicken. Do so over a low heat, as you don’t want the liquid to simmer at all. This process takes about 10 – 15 minutes or so. Throw something on TV, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the stirring!

Pasta in Béchamel Sauce
It may seem a little strange, but combining the Water and Pasta with the Béchamel is how this all comes together!

3. Add Water and Pasta to the Sauce (yep, that’s right!)

Once the Béchamel Sauce has started to thicken is when this recipe takes a legitimate detour from the traditional. Usually at this point, you’d add your Cheese to create the cheese sauce. That sauce is then seasoned and then you add the cooked Pasta

Well, we’re using one pot for this recipe, so we need to mix it up. At this point, you begin to cook your pasta, and you do so in the béchamel sauce! That’s right, throw the Pasta into the Béchamel Sauce along with 2 cups of Water and cook the whole thing together for 15 minutes. Keep the heat on low and cook until the Pasta is just cooked, and the sauce is still slightly thin

The process of adding water to the Béchamel does seem a little strange, and you may think the water will dilute the flavor of the Béchamel Sauce, and ultimately the dish. Surprisingly, it doesn’t do that at all. The water will be absorbed into the Pasta, and what isn’t, will evaporate. You’re left with the exact same consistency and flavor in the sauce as it would be cooking the more traditional method. This approach just saves on some cleaning up!

One Pot Mac and Cheese in Dutch Oven
The One Pot Mac and Cheese dish comes together beautifully. It tastes great and is so easy to make

4. Time to Add the Cheese

Few would argue the most important step in making Mac and Cheese is adding the cheese! For this recipe we add no less than 4 different types of cheese. Add equal parts Cheddar (White or Yellow, just go for something Sharp) and Gruyere Cheese. If you can’t find Gruyere, good alternatives are Comte or Provolone

We then add beautiful Parmesan Cheese, about half the quantity of the other two cheese. Finally, for a lovely gooey texture and to tie it all together – throw in a couple of slices of American Cheese! Mix all of that together and the sauce will thicken up significantly. Add in some Dijon Mustard for more flavor, season with Salt then you’re then ready to devour this amazing One Pot Mac and Cheese dish!

Mac and Cheese with Panko Breadcrumbs
No baking required, but for some added texture you can add some toasted Panko Breadcrumbs for some crunch

No baking required

I know baking Mac and Cheese is a very common way to finish the dish, however it really doesn’t need to be. The dish is great as it is, and all the ingredients are perfectly cooked and flavored by being cooked on the stovetop

Purists who swear by the oven-baked approach will tell you the baking adds much needed texture. Personally, I find it the opposite. Baking the Mac and Cheese at this point will just dry everything out, and you love that gooey, creamy texture that you’ve worked so hard to create

For added texture, a great final step is to sprinkle over a generous portion of toasted Panko Breadcrumbs right before service. Toasting the Breadcrumbs is so easy too. Just melt a little butter in a pan then add the breadcrumbs. Once they’re golden brown they’re done! Plate the Mac and Cheese into individual portions and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top for the best texture

One Pot Mac and Cheese

Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time




  • ½ box / 6 oz. Pasta (such as Cavatappi, Spirals, or Macaroni)

  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

  • 2 tbsp. All Purpose Flour

  • 2 cups of Whole Milk

  • 2 cups of Water

  • 1 cup of Gruyere Cheese, shredded

  • 1 cup of Cheddar Cheese, shredded

  • ½ cup of Parmesan Cheese

  • 1 slice of American Cheese

  • 1 tsp. of Dijon Mustard

  • 1 Shallot, diced

  • ½ cup Panko Breadcrumbs (optional)

  • Salt


  • Melt the Butter in a large pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Once melted, add the Flour and mix to combine. Continue cooking for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring frequently
  • Pour in one third of the Milk and stir well to combine into the Flour and Butter mixture. Drop the heat to low and continue stirring. After a few minutes, add the second third. After a few more minutes, add the final third of Milk
  • Stir the liquid continuously for about 15 minutes from the time you added the first portion of Milk to form a Béchamel Sauce. Once the sauce starts to thicken, add two cups of Water and the Pasta to the dish. Season with 2 tsp. of Salt
  • Continue to cook the dish on a low heat, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes until the Pasta is just cooked. Add Dijon Mustard to the dish and check for seasoning. Adjust if necessary
  • Add the Gruyere, Cheddar, Parmesan, and American Cheese and stir well to combine. Turn off the heat then plate the Mac and Cheese into individual bowls
  • Optional: For some added crunch, you can melt 2 tsp. of Butter in a pot then add Panko Breadcrumbs. Toast for about 5 minutes until golden brown then sprinkle over the top of the Mac and Cheese

We’re so happy that you can make a One Pot Mac and Cheese dish that tastes as good as this one. Let us know in the comments below how it went if you’ve made this dish!

Feel free to head over to our Dutch Oven page for more great one pot dishes using the classic Dutch Oven

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *