Light Macaroni and Cheese (America's Test Kitchen)

Total Time
Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins

America's Test Kitchen lightened the calorie and fat content of regular mac and cheese considerably but kept the flavor in this simple, stove-top recipe. Note: Don't be tempted to use either pre-shredded or nonfat cheddar cheese in this dish- the texture and flavor of the mac and cheese will suffer substantially. America's Test Kitchen used Cabot 50% Light Cheddar for this recipe. Posted for safe-keeping.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Bring 2 1/2 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan for the pasta. Add 2 teaspoons salt and the pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until the pasta is completely cooked and tender. Drain the pasta and leave it in the colander; set aside.
  2. Add the evaporated milk, 1/2 cup of the 2% milk, mustard, garlic powder (if using), cayenne, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the now-empty saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  3. Whisk the cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup milk together, then whisk it into the simmering mixture. Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until the sauce has thickened and is smooth, about 2 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cheddar until melted and smooth. Stir in the macaroni, and let the macaroni and cheese sit off the heat until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2 to 5 minutes, before serving.