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One-Pot Wonder: Spicy sausage mac and cheese in just 30 minutes

Most mac and cheese recipes require far too many pots and pans for me to justify making it a weekly meal. Between the cheese graters, the pot to cook the pasta in and the skillet or pot to make the roux, the whole thing just doesn’t seem worth it sometimes.

This mac and cheese, however, is a one-pot wonder. Not only is it made all in one skillet, but it’s creamy, cheesy and everything you want in mac and cheese. The secret? Cream cheese. No grating required, yet the perfect ingredient to get a super-decadent and creamy pot of mac and cheese. This version uses spicy sausage and chipotle peppers, but feel free to use sweet sausage if you’re not as into spice. Either way, this is a meal everyone will love.

spicy sausage macaroni and cheese

Spicy sausage skillet mac and cheese recipe

What’s better than mac and cheese? Mac and cheese made in one skillet. This spicy sausage mac and cheese will be a dinnertime hit.

Serves 4

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 25 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, plus a spoonful of the sauce
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Chopped chives or green onions, for garnish


  1. To a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil.
  2. Add the sausage to the skillet, and cook until browned, breaking it into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks.
  3. Add the peppers to the skillet, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the macaroni, and stir to combine.
  5. Add the chicken broth, stir, cover, and lower the heat to medium. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the macaroni is al dente.
  6. To a food processor, add the cream cheese, chipotle pepper, sauce and milk, and process until smooth.
  7. Remove the cover from the skillet, add the cream cheese mixture, and stir until combined. Lower the heat to low, and cook for another minute.
  8. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the chives or green onions, and serve.

20-minute meals

one-pot wonder

More mac and cheese recipes

Hard cider bacon macaroni and cheese
Mini mac and cheese pies
Mac and cheese-stuffed shells

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