Recipe: $3.10 | Per Serving: $0.78 | Yield: 4
One-Pan Broccoli Mac & Cheese is going to be your new best friend. Our go-to late dinner/easy meal tends to be mac & cheese with frozen broccoli tossed in, which is perfect for those days when dinner can’t happen until 8pm or later. Because what’s better than a quick and creamy bowl of pasta after a long day?
Or, really, anytime.
Instead of relying on Trader Joe’s or Annie’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, I’ve been wanting to make a healthier version that’s just as simple. And I have finally found the answer! Skip the cheese sauce/roux/bechamel situation and go with the one-pot method instead. One-Pan Broccoli Mac & Cheese is the answer to your midweek dinner rut, I promise!
This recipe comes together in just 10-15 minutes, and contains ingredients most people probably keep on hand, like pasta, milk, butter, cheese, and frozen broccoli. I love the creamy cheesy flavor, and highly recommend adding in your own favorite mac & cheese flavors like tomatoes, or Sriracha.
Side note, sriracha is killer here.
So simple! So delicious! Just one pot and all.the.flavors. Just look at that deliciously creamy sauce.
How to Make One-Pan Broccoli Mac & Cheese
- First, add the milk, water, butter, salt, and pasta to a large pot or skillet. I like this Tall-edged stainless steel skillet best, but a Dutch Oven works well too.
- Simmer this until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the pasta is cooked to your liking, adding additional seasonings before all the liquid is gone.
- Stir in the cheese until melted
- Finally, stir in the (preferably defrosted / room temperature) pre-cooked broccoli.
If you stir in the broccoli while it is very cold or still frozen, the temperature may shock the makeshift cheese sauce and cause it to start separating, resulting in a slightly grainy texture. If you experience this, you can add a little more milk and warm the dish again until smooth.
To prevent this, just thaw the broccoli ahead of time or you can also add the broccoli before you add the cheese. Either way works out! I rarely thaw my broccoli ahead of time.
We are recovering from Memorial Day weekend, in which we didn’t do anything crazy, but apparently one night away from home is enough to throw us off our game. So on actual Memorial Day, we ended up catching up on lots of work things and chores and adult stuff like paying bills. However, spending the majority of the day at home meant we got to enjoy this cheesy broccoli pasta dish for lunch, which was a definite win!
I have not yet tried this recipe with alternatives like gluten-free pasta or dairy-free milk, but I imagine it would only require a little bit of tweaking to get that to work.
Enjoy your creamy pasta day!
Vegetarian: You’re OK!
Paleo: …most of these ingredients are not Paleo. Try this gluten-free version instead?
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This easy one-pot broccoli mac and cheese is just as fast as the boxed stuff, but made with 100% real, recognizable ingredients!
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups dry whole wheat shells or macaroni
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups cooked or thawed frozen broccoli
- pepper & red pepper flakes to taste
- optional: 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- Add the whole milk, water, butter, salt, and pasta to a large skillet over low-medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and cook for 8 minutes (if using white pasta, cook for 6). Stir occasionally.
- When the pasta is al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed, add the garlic powder (and optional dijon mustard) and stir well, then stir in the cheese and remove the pasta from the heat. Stir well to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Add the cooked or thawed broccoli and cover for about 1 minute to warm it up. (Or heat it in the microwave instead.)
- Stir well and top with red pepper flakes and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Enjoy!
- You can use any cheese here, but extra sharp cheeses don’t melt as well and tend to leave a grainy texture. I use a mixture of mild cheddar and Unexpected Cheddar (which is a sharp cheddar-Parmesan blend), but you can go for gruyere, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or whatever cheese you prefer! Buy it in blocks and shred it yourself for the highest melting potential.
- Gluten-Free: I have made this with GF pasta, including Cybele’s Free to Eat Rotini (affiliate link) and Banza Chickpea Rotini (affiliate link)!
- Dairy-Free: I have made this with DF Elmhurst Walnut Milk (affiliate link), but I have not made it without cheese.
- Category: Pasta
- Method: One Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: mac and cheese, stovetop mac and cheese, broccoli mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, one pot mac and cheese