Small Batch Macaroni and Cheese

This recipe is for “small batch” macaroni and cheese or enough to serve 2 to 3 people as an entree or 4 as sides. I love it, but don’t make it very often because Todd’s not a cheese fan and until recently Fuzz has always preferred the box type. Over the past 2 years she’s been warming up to scratch macaroni – even critiquing it and giving tips. She likes the creamy type best, doesn’t care for crumbs or any sort of crunchy bits on top, and prefers a combination of cheddar, American and cottage cheese. This one was a big hit.

Small Batch Macaroni and Cheese

I adapted the recipe from an old New York Times article and it’s the easiest scratch macaroni and cheese I’ve ever made. The milk mixture does involve a quick spin in the blender, but the rest of the recipe is assembled right in the pan. You don’t even have to boil the macaroni!

The batch from last night was very good. It wasn’t as creamy as saucepan macaroni and it did clump a little, but it retained enough sauce so you get best of both worlds. Below is how I made it, but there’s room for improvisation with the spices and types of cheese. I used what I had on hand which was a combination of sharp cheddar and some process American slices I had bought with a coupon. Say what you will about process cheese slices, but they melt really well.

Small Batch Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Small Batch Baked Macaroni and Cheese is baked in a loaf pan. The macaroni is not boiled so it's very easy to throw together, though you do need to have a blender or food processor handy to puree the cottage cheese.
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3
  • Some butter for greasing the pan
  • 2/3 cup cottage cheese – low fat works, but regular is better
  • 1 cup whole milk**
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 oz (2 cups) shredded or grated cheese – I used a combination of cheddar and American
  • 1/4 pound elbow pasta, uncooked.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a blender or food processor, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper.
  3. Put the dry macaroni in the loaf pan. Set aside 1/4 cup of the shredded cheese, then toss the remaining cheese in the loaf pan with the dry macaroni. Pour the milk mixture over the top and stir it all together in the loaf pan. Cover loaf pan tightly with foil.
  4. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Remove foil, stir well, bake for another 30 minutes. About 15 minutes before macaroni is ready, sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Total cook-time is 1 hour. Let sit for about 8-10 minutes before serving.
  5. Makes 3 or 4 side dish servings
  6. **If you don’t have any whole milk you can use a cup of 2% minus 1 tablespoon, then add in 1 tablespoon cream. That is, if you have cream in the house.


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  1. Tina from PA says

    This is perfect for my husband and me. When I make Mac& Cheese we get stuck eating it for 4-5 days.

  2. says

    Tina, that’s an issue for us too. I hope you like this one. If you try it, let me know what you think.

  3. says

    making a small batch would be hard, very hard. i do nnot make mac & cheese here because i just eat it all up. hubby does not like mac & cheese…i know, go figure.

  4. Louise says

    I’ve been using this recipe for a couple of years. I do the wet mix with an infusion blender and add the milk last as as it seems to give a nicer mix. My oven’s temperature is correct, but I bake it about 10 minutes less than the recipe calls for and get a creamier result. I usually add 1/4 cup of Cabot’s Cheddar Shake to the wet mix. And sometimes I add a little panko to the reserved cheese at the end. I confess I make the full recipe for the two of us, but we always have ample leftovers. I’m still a fan of one of Emeril’s Mac & Cheese recipes, but the Goodness To Work Ratio on this recipe is very high.

  5. Hilary Purcell says

    Anna: My macaroni and cheese recipe won the Houston Chronicle Mac & Cheese contest this past March, 2010, out of 100 recipes submitted. It is delicious. If you would like the recipe send me your email and I am happy to share it with you and your devoted followers! Hilary Purcell

  6. says

    My kids would only eat a homemade stove top version of macaroni and cheese, so I have very little oven style mac and cheese experience. This looks good!

    Hilary, I’m glad you mentioned your win in the Houston Chronicle. I googled it and the article and the recipes are on line.

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