My wife always like to have emergency kraft mac & cheese. The only thing is that she always gets cheep box mac & cheese. We can definitely do better than that, with the same amount of effort, and prob around the same price point (possibly even cheaper).

Pots, Pans, and Utensils Used

Sauce Pan/Pot

  • Sauce Pan/Pot to cook pasta. Just make sure it is large enough to fit the water & pasta with ample space. I use a quart sauce pan.

Skillet/Saute Pan

  • Just need some sort of pan to cook the white sauce/cheese sauce. You will be adding the pasta to it as well so you do want ample room. I use a 10 1/4 inch Lodge cast iron skillet. It is a tight squeeze when mixing so feel free to use a larger pan.

Spider/Slotted Spoon

  • This is for cooking the pasta and transferring the pasta to the Skillet/Saute Pan. You can use a non-slotted spoon but it may be a little harder when straining the water from the pasta. I use a spider as it’s huge and helps me transfer the pasta quickly.

Large Spoon

  • For mixing and serving. If you want, you can use a whisk to help mix the sauce but I usually don’t want to make more dishes if I don’t need to. I like to use a wooden spoon but that is my preference.

Optional Whisk

  • If you really want you can use a whisk to help mix the white sauce before adding the pasta



  • Use whatever you like, I like using bowtie cause it attaches to the sauce well and isn’t too big.


  • I use a powdered cheddar cheese that I bought from amazon in bulk, but really you can use any cheese you like


  • I use a mix of whole milk & heavy whipping cream. If you want it more creamy use more heavy cream/ whole milk. If you like it lighter and less think you can use a lighter milk like oat/skim.


  • Any type of butter is fine. I use unsalted butter

Salt Pepper



  • Cause I’m lazy and like to keep it simple Garlic Powder is fine. If you want you can use fresh garlic.


  • Just like the garlic, I’m lazy so I just use simple Onion powder. Feel free to use fresh onion if you want.


  • I like to use a some paprika just for some color.


  • Again I’m lazy and just use dried. Feel free to use fresh, but it is mainly for color. If you use fresh it will add a little bit of fresh herb flavor.

Red/White wine Vinegar

  • I use white wine vinegar but feel free to use red as well. You can use just plain white or apple cider vinegar as well but careful as it is quite a bit stronger.


  • I sometimes like to add broccoli or some greens to add some color. You can also add some tomatoes if you would like for some acidity. Really, feel free to add whatever you want we don’t judge.


  • I personally like to add some spam, but feel free to add bacon, sausage (never tried, but does sound delicious), or any meat you want. Do note that adding meat does add a lot of salt so you can use less salt when cooking.



  • If using fresh pasta you may need to strain the pasta while making the sauce to keep it from over cooking.
  • If using fresh onion and garlic, cook in the butter before hand. (Remember cook fresh onions first then add the garlic when they are almost done. Garlic does not take long to cook.)
  • If using meats or veggies cook before hand.
  • If you find yourself waiting waiting at all feel free to clean dishes while cooking. Helps keep the kitchen clean while cooking.

Cooking Pasta

  1. Put enough water in pot to cover pasta by half an inch above
  2. Add salt to water and boil. Enough salt for flavor but not too much where it tastes like the dead sea.
  3. Once the water is boiling/hot add your pasta. Should take about ~10-12 min depending on the pasta. If you’re using fresh pasta it is even shorter, like ~5 minutes.
  4. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.

While the Pasta is cooking

  1. Start heating up your pan on medium-high heat. Add butter to the pan. Enough to grease the pan a little. You don’t want to burn the butter but you do want to melt it and get a little brown. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
  2. When the butter starts to brown a little add your milk/dairy. Enough to cover the pasta, you don’t need to much, 1 cup max. Stir a little bit.
  3. When the sauce start to bubble, lower temp to a medium, and add your dried ingredients.
  4. Add salt and pepper for taste. Stir a little bit.
  5. When the sauce reaches a creamy thickness (should be able to run a spoon through and have and the sauce should divide for a split second) add your cheese. If using a fresh shredded cheese add slowly like a quarter of a cup at a time. Stir to get any cheesy chunks. Don’t worry we will be adding some starchy water to help break those down.

After pasta is cooked

  1. Using a slotted spoon start transferring the pasta to the sauce pan. Getting water is alright as we want some of that starchy water in the sauce.
  2. Take some of the starchy water from the pasta pot and put some in the sauce pan. This will help with binding the sauce. I usually put like ~3-4 table spoons but usually eyeball it.
  3. Time to halo-halo (mix-mix) the mac and cheese using your large spoon.
  4. (Optional) If you want you can add your cooked meats/veggies.
  5. Enjoy your food! (I like to add a good hot sauce with it)


The basics of this is:

  1. Cook Pasta
  2. Make simple white sauce
  3. Halo-Halo (mix-mix)

That is basically what box mac & cheese is but with just a little more effort you can definitely make it taste way better.

The only thing about cooking like this is you make more dishes. I want to modify this in the future to only use one large sauce pan or pot, but have yet to try it that way. Maybe next time I’ll try doing a ‘one pot’ mac & cheese.



  • Pasta
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Cheese (If you want light use less cheese; if you are a cheese lover add more cheese)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Pots & Pans

  • A pot for boiling water
  • A medium to large sauce pan


  • Slotted Spoon/Spider
  • Large Spoon
  1. Boil pasta in salt water for ~10-12 minutes.
  2. While pasta is cooking throw butter in a pan on medium-high heat. Only put enough butter to lightly cover the pan.
  3. When the butter is melted or starting to slightly brown, add milk/dairy. Enough milk to lightly cover the amount of pasta. A little goes a long way.
  4. Mix in dried spices. Salt & Pepper for taste.
  5. Reduce till slightly creamy.
  6. Turn heat to low.
  7. Once pasta is cooked, add pasta using slotted spoon or spider.
  8. Take some of the starchy water from the pasta pot and add to sauce.
  9. Hala-halo (Mix-mix)
  10. Enjoy!