Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe

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This is the easiest mac and cheese you’ll ever make. Seriously. I think it rivals the box in both taste and simplicity.

Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe | Life as Mom

Food is a great comforter. There is just something about the connection between our taste buds and our brain that can do wonders. I don’t pretend to understand it, but the right foods can make us feel better when the rain has spoiled our parade, when the dog has eaten our homework, when no one likes us and we’re tempted to go eat worms.

There are some foods that are generally known to bring comfort, like chicken noodle soup or macaroni and cheese. Usually, “comfort foods” involve a few fattening ingredients and leave your belly feeling full. And they always taste great!

Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe | Life as Mom

One of my favorites is this Mac and Cheese recipe that FishPapa and I have been making forever. In our newlywed days, we could easily eat the whole batch ourselves. Now, we restrain ourselves and share some with the kids.

This Mac and Cheese recipe is very easy, very make-ahead, and it freezes well also. What more could you ask for?

 Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe


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close up of macaroni on plate with large bowl
Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
This is the easiest mac and cheese you'll ever make. Seriously. I think it rivals the box in both taste and simplicity.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: macaroni and cheese
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 327 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
  • 3/4 pound elbow macaroni or penne pasta cooked according to package directions and drained
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese cubed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente, according to package directions. Drain.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, in a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, cheese cubes, and salt and pepper. Stir in the drained noodles.
  4. Spoon this mixture into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly.
Recipe Notes

The dish may be frozen prior to baking. Simply chill completely in the fridge and store covered in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.

Nutrition Facts
Easiest Mac and Cheese Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 327 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 201mg9%
Potassium 163mg5%
Carbohydrates 33g11%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 461IU9%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 245mg25%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Easiest Mac and Cheese | Life as Mom

What’s YOUR favorite comfort food?

How about you? What’s your family’s favorite comfort food. There’s bound to be something you enjoy when youare sick, snowed in, or just need a little pick me up. Today’s the day to share it!

Can’t wait to see what you cook up on a rainy day!

This post was originally published on January 22, 2009.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Lynn says

    Nothing says comfort food like mac and cheese. I am posting my favorite version today. And it has sour cream in it like yours.

  2. bassackwards mom says

    I accidentally deleted your comment when I moderated… just wanted to say I hope you enjoy it!! It’s a family favorite lately!

  3. Jennifer says

    My kids don't like homemade mac & cheese either. It's not a cheese issue though – I think the powdered kind has some secret addictive ingredient.

  4. FishMama says

    My kids won’t even touch the boxed kind!

  5. Jennifer says

    I never thought to put sour cream in my mac n cheese, but I bet that makes it very smooth. I will try it next time.

  6. Andrea says

    Thanks for the swap. I am always looking for more comfort food!

    Andrea in NC

  7. Honey says

    I’m totally down with the mac and cheese. And sometimes we like to do a baked potato bar. We put the potatoes into the crock pot and leave them all day so we don’t find ourselves huddled around the oven at 6pm, starving and asking if they’re done yet! Set out REAL butter, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits or whatever suits you. MMMM
    Another thing we like is just a simple vegetable plate with 3 of the 4 following:
    1. Sweet potato with maple syrup, butter, and pecans
    2. “Hoppin’ john” (open a can of blackeyed peas and a can of diced tomatoes, add both of them to sauteed onion, green peppers, garlic, and cumin)
    3. Steamed brocolli or cabbage with butter, of course (Do you sense a butter theme here?)
    4. Spaghetti squash with pesto

  8. Melinda says

    My favorite comfort foods? Popcorn and mashed potatoes – but not eaten together! πŸ™‚ Chocolate is always a comfort as well!

  9. sally jane says

    I would like to make and freeze this dish… do I bake it before I freeze? Also – when we want to use it – do I thaw first or just bake? Could you please post "directions for dummies" πŸ™‚ I am new to this whole make ahead and freeze world – it has already really blessed my family though! Thank you!!!!!

  10. Karen from CO says

    Thank you for an alternative recipe to the boxed mac ‘n cheese! Question for you – should the cubed cheese have been more melted prior to pouring into the baking dish? This was stringier than I thought it would be. Do you have a recommendation for how to make it more creamy? Thank you for your time and your help!

    • Usually, I stir it up pretty well before serving. That seems to work. However, I noticed recently when making sandwiches, that the cheddar I bought at Sprouts melted much stringier than the Tillamook I usually buy. Has me wondering about cheeses….

  11. April Curry says

    I just found your blog(on accident) love it so much!!!!!!!!

  12. Crystal Hankey says

    Just popped Mac & Cheese into the oven!
    Easy recipe plus I made it with Gluten Free Rice Elbow Pasta I get at Winco in bulk.
    I even doubled the recipe to put some in the freezer for an easy meal later.
    One blog I also follow calls it Investment Cooking. I love that!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes. Have your cookbooks and use them all the time.

  13. Got it! Can’t wait to try it……. a few weeks from now. Whole30 should include mac and cheese right? I guess I could torture myself and show self control and make it for the kiddos. πŸ™‚

  14. Rox Anne Krakowski says

    Do you think you could use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream??? Just wondering – they always say that’s a good substitute…please let me know. Thanks!!!

    • I’m thinking you probably can. It will just be a bit tangier. Let me know if you do try it that way, so we have some personal experience documented. πŸ˜‰

  15. Money Saving Mom gave a shout out about this recipe and I’m printing it out and going to try it!

    Thank-you! I have a homemade Mac and cheese that I love that uses Velveeta. The sour cream in this intrigues me. πŸ™‚

  16. Marian says

    Can shredded cheese be used instead?

    • Sure. It will just measure slightly different than cubes. Be generous and you should be good.

  17. Kendra says

    I made this for dinner tonight and it came out quite dry. I used regular sour cream with an extra scoop of Greek yogurt. I also used sharp cheddar and whole wheat pasta. Any clue why it was so dry?

    • It’s possible it was the whole wheat pasta. I’ve never made it with that. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work well for you.

    • Kira says

      I’ve noticed that the consistency of sour cream can vary drastically from brand to brand, so that could be something to look at. I also wonder if the whole wheat pasta soaked up more of the liquid from the sour cream, leaving it too dry. Personally, I’ve found that whole wheat pasta is tough on my otherwise-healthy digestion so I opt to use high quality pasta (regular processed wheat) or brown rice pasta (usually the Tinkyada brand seems to work the best for me).

  18. Patti says

    This was absolutely delicious! However, I baked it for 15 minutes…gave it a stir…baked for another 8 minutes to achieve a good melty consistency. Loved it.

  19. Jill says

    Tried making it this week after seeing it on Money Saving Mom not too long ago. Turned out wonderful, definitely will make again! I have to eat gluten free, so used the Tinkyada brown rice macaroni, and the consistency was perfect. My mother tried it and had no idea it was brown rice macaroni I used. I opted for a package of shredded cheddar cheese, and just mixed everything up well. Turned out wonderful and reheated beautifully too.

  20. AJ says

    Oh man….this was sooo good!! Thank you for the recipe! πŸ˜€

  21. Mary says

    What do you mean salted water?

    • Pasta is best cooked in salted water. It not only helps the water boil faster, but it also seasons the noodles.

  22. Jo says

    This is my 3 year old daughter’s favorite mac and cheese. I made it yesterday with half sharp cheddar and half monterrey jack – and it is AMAZING.

  23. Emily says

    Do you happen to know a rough cup measurement of the noodles? I have a giant bag of noodles and no scale.
    Recipe looks awesome! Thanks!

  24. Marie says

    For a second I thought your name was Jessica Fletcher????…I digress…who doesn’t need another go to Mac and cheese recipe?!?! This one is easy peasy and delish… I added some sautΓ©ed onion for a little extra oomph.

  25. Britt says

    Have you ever tried this with shredded cheese?
    To be exact A brick of cheese that has been shredded. Not the pre shredded bags.

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