Creamy One-Pot Mac & Cheese

  • SERVES: 6–8
  • PREP: 5 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes

You’re only 15 minutes away from cheesy greatness.

Life is too short to be stuck cleaning a bunch of life needs more one-pot meals. This mac & cheese gets super creamy from cooking the pasta in milk, which turns into a sauce once you add lots of sharp cheddar—freshly shredded ONLY, because the anti-caking agents in pre-shredded cheese will make the texture gummy—and a little American cheese. There are haters out there, but American cheese is what helps make it so luscious and rich, and it helps stabilize the sauce so it doesn’t break. This is easy, fast, and makes a lot, so invite over some friends or treat it as a really decadent “meal prep” for the week.

  • 6 ½

    cups whole milk, divided

  • 1

    tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1

    pound medium shell pasta

  • 2 ½

    cups (9 ounces) freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese

  • 6

    slices (4 ounces) American cheese

  • 3

    tablespoons butter

  • 1 ½

    teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ¼

    teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste

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