This is the easiest, quickest, most delicious, no-bake mac & cheese recipe ever due to one ingredient. Sour cream. We all know that sour cream makes pretty much anything more delicious, but in this case, it’s the star of the show.

This recipe was handed down from my grandmother, but as it only has three main ingredients, its hardly a recipe at all. I am a HUGE mac-a-chee fan, and while I love some restaurant mac & cheese dishes using exotic cheeses and baked to perfection, this is the best home-made stove-top version I’ve ever had.

There is also an option to make it more healthy – not by removing any delicious guilty goodness, just by adding a tasty healthy extra.

The ingredients here are not measured, because the recipe is so simple, you can mix ingredients to your taste.

  • Yields: Depends on whether it’s a side dish or main meal. Start with as much pasta you need to serve, that will determine the amount of sauce you make.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 20 minutes
  • Active: 5 minutes

Ingredients (5)

  • dry elbow macaroni or shells
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • sour cream or light sour cream
  • salt to taste
  • Optional : steamed broccoli


  1. Cook and drain the elbows/shells. Put the cooked pasta back in the pot, and the pot back on the stovetop–burner off.
  2. Put a nice heap of shredded cheddar into the pot. Mix with pasta until fairly melted. (usually no need to turn the burner back on, but if the cheese isn’t melting quickly enough, you can turn the burner on low.)
  3. Drop a large dollop of sour cream into the pasta and mix again until the melted cheese and sour cream are blended.
  4. Unlike boxed mac & cheese where the “cheese” flavoring kind of sticks to the macaroni and there is no “sauce” to speak of, the cheese/sour cream in this recipe should make a thick and creamy sauce like many baked versions. If the mixture only covers the pasta and isn’t “saucy”, add more sour cream.
  5. Add salt to taste. Depending on how sharp and distinct the cheddar is, you may have to add more salt to bring out the flavors.
  6. Give it a taste. If the mac & cheese is not cheesy enough for your liking, add more cheddar. If it’s not creamy enough for your liking, add more sour cream. After making it a couple of times, the balance between the ingredients will be second nature.
  7. Note: if you are using shells, you will likely need to use bigger portions of cheese and sour cream so it can “fill” the shells with scrumptious sauce.
  8. Somewhat Healthy Option–obviously, you can use light sour cream to make this dish healthier, but if you want another healthy kick, add cooked broccoli. Steam the broccoli, chop it into small florets, and mix right into the finished mac & cheese. Mmmm..