Skillet Mac and Cheese

Whether you’re looking for a weeknight or holiday recipe, this Skillet Mac and Cheese is sure to become a fast favorite. Creamy, flavorful cheese sauce, tender pasta and a crispy top and edges.

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Creamy, super cheesy mac and cheese gets the perfect crispy edges when baked in a cast iron skillet. I promise you’ll be addicted real quick.

This dish is simple to make so it’s perfect for weeknights. It’s also fancy enough to serve along your holiday meal.

Cast iron skillet baked macaroni and cheese. Cloth napkin and large serving spoon to the right side.

Ingredients for Skillet Mac and Cheese

This homemade macaroni and cheese is relatively easy to make. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pasta: You’ll need 12 ounces of pasta for this recipe. I like using a short cut pasta such as elbows, shells, penne or cavatappi. Use your favorite short cut pasta.
  • Butter: For flavor and the base of the sauce.
  • All-purpose flour: To make a roux which will thicken the cheese sauce and make it super creamy.
  • Whole milk: I really recommend using whole milk in this recipe. It creates a rich, silky sauce. A lower fat milk will work but it won’t be as delicious.
  • Dijon mustard: Adds an extra layer of flavor and a bit of a sharpness to the sauce.
  • Salt and pepper: For seasoning the sauce.
  • Garlic powder: This isn’t something I usually add but I like the way it combines with the Dijon mustard. It adds depth and deliciousness.
  • Sharp cheddar: Melts nicely into a creamy sauce and has lots of flavor.
  • Colby jack cheese: I like using more than one cheese in my mac and cheese recipes to add dimension. Colby jack melts perfectly.
  • Panko bread crumbs: If you love a crunch on your mac and cheese, panko bread crumbs are perfection. You could also sub in regular bread crumbs if you don’t have panko.
Small white plate filled with mac and cheese with a bite on the fork which is leaning on the plate.

Make the Cheese Sauce

Get the water boiling and cook your pasta. While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce.

Grab a 10-inch or 12-inch cast iron skillet. Either size will do for this recipe. Heat it on the stove top over medium heat.

Once hot, add butter and allow it to melt. Sprinkle in flour and whisk together. Cook for 2 minutes to cook out the flour taste.

Stir in Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add half the milk and whisk well. Allow to bubble until slightly thickened.

Add remaining milk, whisk and cook until thickened slightly. Remove from heat.

Cast iron skillet with mac and cheese in it. Servings scooped out onto two round white plates.

Assemble and Bake the Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

Set 1 cup of the shredded cheese aside. Add the remaining cheese to the skillet and stir until melted. Add the drained (but not rinsed) pasta to the skillet and carefully stir until combined well.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese then with the panko bread crumbs. Bake until golden and bubbly.

Close up of serving of skillet mac and cheese on a small white round plate.

The Perfect Texture

The sauce is perfectly thick and creamy thanks to the whole milk and mix of cheeses.

Because the mac and cheese is baked in a cast iron skillet, it gets crispy on the bottom and edges. It adds the perfect texture to the creamy, tender pasta.

The topping also adds a nice crunch on top. So much delicious crunch in this dish.

Close up of spoon scooping out a portion of mac and cheese out of the skillet.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Scoop of skillet mac and cheese on a small white round plate. Plate resting on a blue and white striped cloth napkin.
5 from 1 vote

Skillet Mac and Cheese

Whether you're looking for a weeknight or holiday recipe, this Skillet Mac and Cheese is sure to become a fast favorite. Creamy, flavorful cheese sauce, tender pasta and a crispy top and edges.
Prep Time5 minutes
Active Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: skillet mac and cheese
Yield: 8 servings
Author: Meghan Payne-Hensley


  • 12 ounces short cut pasta
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water than add the pasta. Cook 1 minute less than package directions.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a 10 or 12-inch cast iron skillet. Once melted, sprinkle in flour. Whisk and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in half the milk. Bring to a simmer and allow to thicken slightly. Add remaining milk and cook until thickened. Add Dijon mustard, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Whisk well. Remove from heat.
  • In a bowl, combine the shredded cheeses. Set one cup of cheese aside. Add remaining cheese to the cast iron skillet and stir to melt.
  • Drain pasta (don't rinse) then stir into the cheese sauce in the cast iron skillet. Top with remaining cheese and sprinkle with panko bread crumbs. Bake for 15 minutes.

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