There is nothing better than a skillet of macaroni and cheese, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It’s the ultimate comfort food and many people love to add in bacon, tomatoes or even jalapenos for some extra spice. The best part about this dish is how easy it is to make-just follow these simple instructions and you’ll be on your way to a satisfying meal!
My Secret Trick For this skillet Mac & cheese
PASTA WATER! I used to drain my pasta water in the sink, dumping that precious liquid down the drain. Pasta water is great for making sauces because it has all the starchiness and salt from cooking the noodles.
In this recipe, I used pasta water in place of chicken broth or water. The nice thing is you can keep adding a little here and there to get just the right consistency you’re looking for. Using pasta water really isn’t a secret for making sauces, but it is less common with mac and cheese recipes.
You’ll notice I’m using the pasta water in tandem with milk so we’re getting the thickening from the starch (and from the roux) and the creaminess from the milk. No cream here! I have nothing against using heavy whipping cream for recipes, but I try to avoid it because I don’t ever have it on hand. Pantry/fridge meals FTW.
It is also possible to freeze leftovers. Simply put the desired amount of macaroni and cheese in a sealed container or Ziploc bag and freeze. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
How to reheat it
When reheating, I recommend heating it in the microwave for about two minutes or until it is hot. If you’d prefer to reheat it on the stovetop, I recommend using a pan and heating it over low heat until it is hot.
Skillet Mac and Cheese is the dinner of your dreams: cheesy, crunchy, and comforting. I used Banza in this recipe and loved that. This recipe for skillet mac and cheese uses simple ingredients, making it an anytime dinner staple that’s just a little fancier than the blue box.
1 T butter
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Mac and Cheese
8 oz elbow macaroni noodles (1 box banza)
3 T butter
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
1 c. pasta water
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
½ t. pepper
¼ t. salt
Dash or two of hot sauce
Breadcrumb Prep: Melt 1 T butter in a microwave safe bowl. Toss with panko breadcrumbs and set aside.
Noodles: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni according to package directions, minus 3 minutes. The pasta will sit in the pot while you make your sauce so we don’t want it to overcook.
Sauce: While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large oven safe skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add flour and whisk constantly for 2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in milk and pasta water. Whisk constantly until mixture is bubbling and thickened. Remove from heat and add shredded cheese, whisking constantly until melted. Add salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce to the cheese sauce and whisk until combined.
Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer the noodles to the cheese sauce. Toss noodles in the cheese sauce, adding more pasta water if necessary to reach the desired consistency.
Crispy Topping: Turn your oven broiler on low. While it’s heating up, sprinkle the prepared breadcrumbs over the top of the pasta. Put the pan under the broiler until the top is crispy, usually about 5-10 minutes. This varies greatly depending on your oven and broiler temperature settings so keep an eye on it!