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Homemade 3 ingredient mac and cheese?! It’s not too good to be true! This creamy stovetop mac and cheese is all done in one pot and can be yours in 20 minutes!

3 ingredient mac and cheese

Spring is actually on the way!! I can’t believe we’ll already be setting our clocks ahead this weekend. Although I am somewhat looking forward to some longer evenings, this whole time change thing always messes up our sleep schedules for a while. Wish us luck!

OK – let’s talk mac and cheese. Is there anything more comforting!? We probably all have good memories of devouring some creamy, dreamy macaroni and cheese as a kid! I know I loved it, and it is the one thing that my kids will all agree on, no matter the day or time! To be honest, I’m usually in the mood for it too 😉

While we always have a box of our favorite Annie’s Mac & Cheese handy for a quick lunch, I’ve lately been making my own on the stovetop. It takes almost the same amount of time and it has that wonderful homemade taste. Plus it is SO creamy and cheesy! There’s no messing around with a roux with this recipe. Read on!

3 ingredient mac and cheese

How do you make mac and cheese with 3 ingredients?

Well I’m sure you’re wondering what are the 3 magical ingredients you need for this recipe? You’ll need:

  • pasta
  • evaporated milk
  • grated cheddar cheese

My kiddos LOVE wheel-shaped noodles so this is what we often have on hand, but you can make this recipe with whatever short-cut pasta you have on hand.

3 ingredient mac and cheese

Start this recipe by adding the pasta to a medium saucepan and adding just enough water to cover the noodles. Turn the heat to max and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook until the pasta is al dente and the water is mostly absorbed. If there’s quite a bit of water left over, drain it and return the pasta back to the post. If there’s only a tablespoon or so of water left in the pot, you can keep it in the pot.

Add a cup of evaporated milk to the pot and stir for a few more minutes until it heats up. Add the grated cheese and stir continuously.

The mixture will look runny and watery at first but if you continue to stir it will thicken up nicely! Continue stirring until the pasta is thick and creamy and delicious. Serve it immediately!

Do you have to use evaporated milk in this recipe?

Evaporated milk is important in this recipe as it’s heavy enough to get that creamy pasta consistency without making a flour roux first! If you don’t have it on hand, you can also make your own! 🙂 Check out this article from Food52 on how to do that, as well for some substitution ideas.

How long does it take to make 3 ingredient mac and cheese?

From start to finish this will only take you 15-20 minutes. Which is nearly the same amount of time as it would take to make a box of that Annie’s Mac & Cheese that I mentioned earlier!

How do you reheat leftover mac and cheese?

Once the mac and cheese sits around for a bit, especially if its stored in the fridge, the cheese sauce will harden up a bit and it won’t be nearly as good if you just pop it in the microwave to heat it up. My favorite way to reheat the pasta is to put the leftovers in a pot on the stove with a little extra evaporated milk and heat everything up until smooth and creamy again. It tastes just like the first time you made it!

3 ingredient mac and cheese

3 ingredient mac and cheese

Some of my other favorite pasta dishes from the blog:

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3 Ingredient Mac and Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 6 reviews

  • Author: Katherine | Love In My Oven
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3-4 servings 1x


Homemade 3 ingredient mac and cheese?! It’s not too good to be true! This creamy stovetop mac and cheese is all done in one pot and can be yours in 20 minutes!


  • 1/2 lb (8oz) short-cut pasta
  • 1 cup (8oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 1/4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated


  1. In a medium saucepan on the stove, add the pasta. Add just enough water to the pasta so that it is barely covered. Turn the heat up to max and bring the water to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and cook until the pasta is al dente, stirring every so often.
  2. If there is a lot of water left in the bottom of the pot, drain the pasta, then add the pasta back to the pot. If there is only a tablespoon or two of water left in the pot, you can keep it in the pot and continue with the next step.
  3. Add the evaporated milk and stir for a few minutes until it heats up. Add all of the cheese, stirring to combine. The mixture will be quite runny at first, but continue stirring until things thicken up. It may take a few minutes but eventually it will keep thickening up and turn into creamy, dreamy mac and cheese!* Enjoy immediately with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. The best way to reheat the mac and cheese is to add a bit more evaporated milk and heat it up again until smooth and creamy.


*If the mac and cheese is not thickening up appropriately, you can drain a bit of the evaporated milk off and add a bit more cheese, continuing to stir until things do thicken up.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: american
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3 Ingredient Mac and Cheese3 Ingredient Mac and Cheese

About Katherine

Heeey! Thank you for stopping by! I like 30-minute dinners and giant peanut butter cups made with only 3 ingredients. I LOVE food! If you do too, you're in the right place.

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  1. We love our Annie’s mac and cheese too! But this looks even easier to make — gonna have to try this for the kiddos, they could eat mac and cheese everyday of the year if they had it their way lol!

    1. Mine seriously would too, hah! It’s their favorite thing to eat! Thank you Michelle, hope you give it a try!

  2. This looks extremely scrumptious and creamy! Pasta is my fave and 3 ingredients is so simple and easy! Pinning!! YUMMMMM!

  3. I love evaporated milk. I get cartons of it by the case from amazon. Cartons are so handy cause they have the lids on them. In any case, a perfect recipe in my book!

    1. That is so clever, Mimi!! I would much rather have it with a lid than in the can. I need to look this up!

  4. Your mac and cheese looks perfectly creamy, Katherine! Can’t believe how easy it is! Genius to use evaporated milk for speed and extra creaminess.

  5. I don’t like this time change thing either – besides messing up sleep schedules, it does not have many economical reasons as it used to have. I believe many European countries are in the process of getting rid of it (this or next year), and I’ve read some Canadian provinces are discussing this possibility as well. So fingers crossed – that’s not for a long time.
    Well, now about this pasta. What can I say? One word: DELICIOUS! Indeed, I’ve never added evaporated milk in my mac & cheese, but I think I am going to try.

    1. I’m so ready to get rid of the time change. It always makes the week after the change such a schmozzle! Thank you Ben – the evaporated milk definitely makes it nice and creamy!!!

  6. I positively despise the time change for the havoc it wrecks on the girls’ sleep schedules!! Sending you all the good vibes for an easy transition. I do love how quick this mac and cheese is though, it looks so creamy and delicious! My whole family will love it!

    1. I hate it soooo much too Tasia!!! This week has been so crazy, everyone is so tired in the morning! Thanks friend!!

  7. MMMM I love anything made in one pot because it means less dishes for me to wash! That mac and cheese is pure perfection.

    1. The cheese is more than enough salty for this dish! I would recommend a bit of pepper to finish it off 🙂