Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

close-up photo of macaroni and cheese on a spoon
This Macaroni and Cheese recipe uses just four ingredients for a quick and easy dish to satisfy your macaroni and cheese cravings. It uses an unusual cooking technique to achieve creamy, soft noodles with much less prep time.

When I first came across this recipe for Three Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese on She Makes and Bakes, I didn’t think too much of it. After all macaroni and cheese is technically just noodles and cheese right? You could potentially even make it to be two ingredients, but all the other ingredients make it creamier, add flavor depth, etc.
a spoonful of macaroni and cheese
I became more intrigued once I read the recipe though because rather than boiling the noodles in water, you cook them in milk and then add in the melted cheese. I was really curious what cooking the noodles in milk would do to the dish. Plus not having to add all the other ingredients made this recipe seem more manageable during my busy weekend. Cooking the noodles directly in the milk also cuts down the number of steps in the typical stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe dramatically.

One thing I learned the hard way is that you really have to be at the stove the entire time because with the noodles boiling in only 2 cups of milk, it’s really easy for the noodles to stick to the bottom and burn.
a bowl of macaroni and cheese on a green napkin
Cooking the noodles in milk really did make a difference. The noodles seemed creamier, and there was another dimension to the flavor. I didn’t think that this could replace some of my favorite stovetop recipes that take a little more time and more ingredients, but it was fun to try and it would come in handy when you need some quick and simple and have a huge craving for mac and cheese.
close-up photo of 4 ingredient macaroni and cheese

Check out the rest of my macaroni and cheese recipes here!

Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2

This Macaroni and Cheese recipe uses just four ingredients for a quick and easy dish to satisfy your macaroni and cheese cravings. Instead of boiling the pasta in water, you cook the pasta in a milk making this a low-fuss way to make mac and cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp mustard powder

Directions:

  1. Bring milk. mustard powder and macaroni to a simmer/low boil in a saucepan and cook for about 20 minutes until noodles are al dente or to desired doneness. Stir constantly and make sure noodles do not stick to bottom. Remove from stove and add in cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts
Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese
Amount Per Serving (0.5 of recipe)
Calories 883 Calories from Fat 275
% Daily Value*
Fat 30.6g47%
Saturated Fat 16.5g103%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.3g
Cholesterol 88.8mg30%
Sodium 663.8mg29%
Carbohydrates 106.1g35%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 16.2g18%
Protein 43.8g88%
Vitamin A 950IU19%
Calcium 930mg93%
Iron 4.3mg24%
Net Carbs 102g204%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have. All images and content are © Kirbie's Cravings.

20 comments on “Four Ingredient Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. I’ve never tried that milk-boiling method, because i’ve been afraid that the milk proteins would all coagulate after simmering so long, but if you say it works, I’m gonna try it!

  2. What kind of cheddar did you use? I’m all too familiar with how certain cheddars have more oils etc in them, and can make all the difference.

    • I dont know what kind of cheddar I use. I just buy whatever is on sale labeled cheddar cheese. Usually the brand I buy is Sargento.

  3. So glad you liked it….yes, there is a lot of stirring involved as you don’t want the milk to boil and the noodles to stick. It’s a nice change to the normal mac and cheese. Thanks for the link to my site!

    • I did like it! Though my first attempt ended up with a burned pot because I left it alone a little too long. hehe

  4. So glad I found this! I’m going to pick up some cheese today so I can RT this for my daughter tonite. She’s super picky

  5. Hi there! May I know what is the mustard powder for in this recipe? I was thinking if there’s anything I could replace with 🙂

    • Mustard powder comes in one of those small spice containers that you can get at the grocery store along with stuff like paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, etc.

  6. Hi!
    Would it make a huge difference if I leave out the mustard powder? Or could I use mixed herbs like oregano, paprika, thyme instead?

    Thanks! 🙂

    • I really like the addition of the mustard power because it elevates the taste of the mac n cheese and most homemade mac n cheese recipes use mustard powder so you aren’t just eating melted cheese and noodles. Mixing the other spices isn’t really the same and might actually make it taste weird. You can try it without the mustard powder. It won’t be horrible, but it might taste overwhelming of just melted cheese and noodles.

  7. I didn’t have mustard powder (and I despise the flavor of mustard) so I added garlic powder and a little bit of pepper. Really enhanced the flavor. Will definitely be making this again!

  8. i did like the milk method in terms of making it creamy, but my mac n cheese turned out very very bland :/ all i could taste was the starch of the pasta. could it be the cheddar i used?

  9. Can you bake your end result before serving? If so, for how long would you recommend? I love mac and cheese crunchy, not creamy. Thanks!

  10. Is there a reason skim milk is used instead of whole milk?

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