Quick 15 Minute Mac and Cheese

15 minute mac and cheese
15 minute mac and cheese

Quick 15 minute Mac and cheese featured heavily in our pantry staples when we were growing up. The familiar blue box was always in the pantry ready to help yourself to a quick snack.

Our palates have changed considerably since our teenager years…

This adult version of quick 15 minute mac and cheese is  nothing like the Kraft Mac and cheese of yesteryear. It’s creamy, without cream, smacks of cheesy deliciousness and rounded out with the addition of loads of freshly milled black pepper, al denté pasta and smothered in Parmesan and butter that coats the pasta and delivers spoonfuls of comforting cheesy coated pasta. You just want to keep tucking in!

One pot and quick 15 minute mac and cheese

There’s no making of a béchamel sauce or baking in the oven. Everything is made in a pan within 15 minutes, go to whoa.
The result is creamy, cheesy , peppery and completely delicious spoonfuls of pure comfort food.
Hop into your tracky dacks or pj’s and spoon this comfort food right into your mouth. Mmmm! Absolutely delicious, warming and comforting in the same mouthful.

Just 5 simple ingredients for 15 minute mac and cheese


The butter needs to be cold (not room temperature) and added piece by piece so it emulsifies. This is how you get a thick, creamy sauce versus a broken, oily sauce where the butter hasn’t emulsified. Margarine just won’t cut it here, or anywhere else, for that matter.

emulsifying the butter into the sauce for 15 minute Mac and Cheese
emulsifying the butter into the sauce

Black pepper 

Your pepper absolutely needs to be freshly ground to release the fabulous aromas. Blooming gently in the butter releases the peppers flavour….please don’t even think of making this pasta with pre ground pepper as the simple ingredients need to be first rate.

adding pepper to the pot with butter to gently fry while making 15 Minute Mac and Cheese
gently fry butter and pepper for around a minute until pepper is fragrant


Your pasta needs to be made from strong durum wheat. Any small shape will work. Think elbows, cavatelli, cavatappi or orecchiette.

Pasta water

Pasta water with its residual starch and salt helps to amalgamate this simple sauce. The starchy pasta water helps to bind and thicken the buttery sauce and emulsifies it into a creamy, non-greasy coating.

The cheese

You can use Parmesan, grana, pecorino or any full flavoured cheese. It needs to be finely grated as you want the cheese to melt evenly.


Your milk needs to be full fat for the best flavour.

Adult Mac and cheese

This deliciously quick recipe comes courtesy of Molly Baz from the talented team at Bon Appetit kitchen. It’s simple,  easy and has great reviews on their site.

Scroll down below for 15 minute Mac and cheese recipe

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What’s your favourite mac and cheese recipe?

We would love to hear from you in the comments below when you make this delicious quick 15 minute mac and cheese.

15 minute mac and cheese
Yield: 4-6 serves

15 Minute Mac and Cheese

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

15 minute Mac and cheese is the adult version loaded with freshly ground black pepper. You'd think the pepper would be too much but it isn't.


  • 110g (4 ounces) cold butter cut into 8 even sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons freshly milled black pepper
  • 1 cup full cream milk
  • 150g (5 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 500g small shell pasta or other small shaped pasta
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups of reserved pasta water before draining pasta


  • bring a large pot of water to the boil and add salt
  • cook pasta according to manufacturers instructions till al dente
  • while pasta is cooking gently melt 2 pieces of the butter in a large heavy based pot
  • add pepper to butter and cook stirring for a minute until pepper is fragrant
  • add the milk to the butter and bring pot to a simmer
  • whisk in remaining butter one piece at a time, allowing each piece to fully melt before adding the next piece ( doing this gradually is important - it helps to emulsify your sauce)
  • strain cooked pasta reserving 2 cups of the cooking liquid (you probably won't need all of the water)
  • add drained pasta to the milk mixture and stir to coat all of the pasta
  • add 1/3 of the parmesan stirring vigorously to melt the cheese
  • continue to stir until combined
  • add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and stir well
  • repeat this process 2 more times with parmesan and water (you may not need all of the water so add 1/2 a cup at a time
  • pasta should be very creamy and well coated
  • taste and add a little salt if needed
  • serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 0Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 0mgCarbohydrates 0gFiber 0gSugar 0gProtein 0g

Cooper surveying his kingdom

As the seasons change, so too does the view into the valley. Most mornings in autumn and winter the valley below is filled with mist and as the sun rises and kisses the mist the vista changes yet again, appearing to be a glorious lake with the sun shining across it.

Cooper the golden retriever on the deck
Cooper surveying his kingdom

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