Quick and Easy Mac and Cheese

Easy tips for making, storing, and reheating your healthy mac and cheese.
Published August 22, 2022

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food for many people and though at its core it is a simple dish – pasta and cheese sauce – there are lots of ways to make it new, exciting and healthy.

Mac and cheese can be quick, easy, and yes, healthy, if you follow this roundup of tips and tricks for making your best mac and cheese yet.

Cooking Tips

Use fresh ingredients

Bobby Pritchard, of Smokey Grill BBQ, says mac and cheese is his all-time favourite barbecue side dish.

“Cooking mac and cheese is easy,” he says, “but there are a few tips to make sure it comes out perfect every time. One of the most important tips is to use high-quality ingredients. This means using fresh milk, cheese, and pasta.”

Try this quick stovetop recipe for Easy Macaroni and Cheese – you can have it done and on the table in just 15 minutes.

And for something different, check out this WeightWatchers recipe for Silken Tofu Mac and Cheese – save on some of the dairy and up the protein content with smooth blended tofu in the sauce.

Don’t overcook your pasta

“It’s also important to cook the pasta al dente, or just slightly undercooked,” Pritchard says. “This will ensure that the pasta doesn’t get too soft when it’s baked in the oven.”

Choose the right tray

“We all know that the best part of a mac ‘n’ cheese is the crunchy melted top layer, so the best recipes will maximize this,” says Aysegul Sanford, who runs the food blog Foolproof Living. “Opt for casserole dishes which are shallow but wider so you can enjoy the same volume of cheesy pasta whilst ensuring every bite gets a taste of the best bit.”

Sneak in some veggies

Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon likes adding frozen peas, carrots, and broccoli to boxed mac and cheese for her six-year-old.

You can also try adding pureed vegetables to your sauce like Karyn Hirsch, of Karyn’s Kitchen, does with pureed squash and white beans. No one will know! For more sneaky veggie mac ideas, check out these WW recipes:

One-Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

This easy mac and cheese uses frozen pureed butternut squash to add some extra fibre and vitamins, while only dirtying one pot so cleanup is a breeze.

Super Creamy Mac and Cheese

This mac is on the lighter side but it does not skimp on flavour by any means. The added veggies, in the form of pureed cauliflower and carrots, add extra creaminess and tons of nutrients – and trust us, the kids will never know.

Vegan Mac and 'Cheese'

Who said vegans can’t enjoy mac and cheese? Squash and nutritional yeast are the stars of the show here, creating creaminess and cheesiness without the dairy.


Use an airtight container

Randhawa suggests keeping your leftover mac in an airtight container before putting it in the fridge or freezer.

Add a little liquid

“One easy way to keep it from drying out is to add a little bit of milk or cream to the mixture before storing it,” says Randhawa.


Let it defrost

If you’re freezing your mac and cheese, make sure to thaw it before reheating, says Randhawa.

Add a little more liquid

When you’re ready to eat, Randhawa says, “just add a little water or milk to the pot to rehydrate the noodles and cheese.”

Microwave like a pro

“If you are using a microwave-safe container, make sure to poke holes in the top [of your mac] so that the cheese doesn’t explode,” Pritchard says. “The second thing to consider is the power of the microwave. If you are reheating a large batch, it might be best to do it in two or three batches.”