broccoli mac and cheese in white and colorful bowls

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Information about One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

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With a super easy method that only requires one pot, you can have this easy Broccoli Mac and Cheese ready for family dinner—or a kids meal. It cooks in about 20 minutes and has a solid dose of nutrients and deliciousness.

broccoli mac and cheese in white and colorful bowls

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

I am forever look for new pasta recipes to share with my family because while I love buttered pasta as much as the next person, I really do love a little more flavor. Enter: Broccoli Mac and Cheese!

This recipe requires minimal pots and equipment, cooks quickly, and is really versatile to help you use what you have on hand and prefer–as in fresh or frozen broccoli, added spices or simpler.

I did my best to make sure that any leftovers reheat to the same creamy consistency (thank you cream cheese!) and that you don’t have to make a roux.

We usually have this as a vegetarian dinner, but I can also attest that it’s delicious with a little ham or a fried egg on top. YUM.

Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe you’ll need:

  • Milk
  • Broth or water
  • Pasta
  • Broccoli
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Butter
  • Cream cheese
  • Optional spices

TIP: I prefer to use steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli, but you can also use fresh. See the Notes at the bottom of the recipe for the info at the end of this post.

how to make broccoli mac and cheese step by step

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at how to make this recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

  1. Add the milk and broth or water to a pot and bring to a simmer.
  2. Stir in the pasta and cook.
  3. Warm the broccoli and cut up with scissors.
  4. Stir the broccoli, cheese, butter, and cream cheese into the pasta mixture. Serve warm.

TIP: The size of the pasta you use may alter the cooking time slightly, so you can check it for doneness and cook for an additional minute or two if needed if you use a larger shape than I did.

broccoli mac and cheese in pot

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of pasta works best for this?

I prefer to use elbows or mini shells or another shape that’s a similar size. If you go much bigger or smaller, it may take more or less time to cook. (If you go with a smaller shape, it may wind up much saucier than what’s shown here.)

What kind of broccoli do you use?

I like to use steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli so that I don’t need to get out a separate pot. I steam it according to the package directions in the microwave and drain it. Then I cut it up into smaller pieces with kitchen shears. You can also steam fresh broccoli in a pot fitted with a steamer basket if you prefer.

Can I make this ahead of time?

The cheesy texture of this pasta is smoothest and best served right after cooking, but the leftovers reheat really nicely. I added in some cream cheese to the mixture to help with this and the mixture stirs up nicely when warmed from being cold. (My kids like to take the leftovers for lunch the next day!)

broccoli mac and cheese in blue kids bowl

Best Tips for Success

  • The size of the pasta you use may alter the cooking time slightly. This recipe was tested with elbow pasta, so any kind that’s a similar size should work the same.
  • I prefer to use steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli to cut down on pots, but you can also steam fresh broccoli in a pot fitted with a steamer basket.
  • You can make this ahead and reheat to serve. Store it in the fridge for 3-5 days and reheat to serve.
  • I don’t often call for a half of pound of pasta, but this is very filling so I went with a smaller amount here to avoid a ton of leftovers. But if you want to use a full pound, you can click the “2x” in the recipe card to adjust it up.
  • Add the optional spices to add more flavor as desired.
  • You may also like Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese, Avocado Pasta, and Creamy Broccoli Pasta.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it, so please comment and rate the recipe below!

servings-of-broccoli-mac-and-cheese-for-family

One-Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Amy Palanjian

The method on this recipe is streamlined to cut down on dish washing. Add the optional spices for more flavor if you like! Double it to make more.

Prep Time 5 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Total Time 25 mins

Course Dinner

Cuisine American

Servings 4 -6

Calories 475 kcal

Ingredients 

 

  • 2 cups milk (I use whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
  • 8 ounces elbow or mini shell pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces frozen broccoli (I use the steam-in-the-bag kind)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (feel free to double this!)
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

Instructions 

  • Add the broth and milk to a large pot set over high heat. Bring just to a boil, then reduce to medium-high.

  • Stir in the pasta and salt, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally or until the pasta is just soft. (The liquid will not be totally absorbed and that Is okay—It will be by the end of the process!)

  • Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in the bag (or steam it on the stovetop if using fresh broccoli). Drain the broccoli and cut it up roughly with kitchen scissors.

  • Turn the heat off and stir the cheese, broccoli. butter, cream cheese, and salt into the pasta mixture. Taste and season with additional salt as needed. Serve.

Notes

  • The size of the pasta you use may alter the cooking time slightly. This recipe was tested with elbow pasta, so any kind that’s a similar size should work the same.
  • I prefer to use steam-in-the-bag frozen broccoli to cut down on pots, but you can also steam fresh broccoli in a pot fitted with a steamer basket.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. Warm for 30-60 seconds, or until warmed through.
  • I don’t often call for a half of pound of pasta, but this is very filling so I went with a smaller amount here to avoid a ton of leftovers. But if you want to use a full pound, you can click the “2x” in the recipe card to adjust it up.
  • Add the optional spices to add more flavor as desired.

Nutrition

Calories: 475kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 22gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 584mgPotassium: 622mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 1058IUVitamin C: 63mgCalcium: 395mgIron: 2mg

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