One-pot Creamed Spinach Mac & Cheese

We’re coming to the end of 2020. 2020’s known aliases: the crappiest year in history, it was the worst of times–it was the worst of times, a test of your marriage, a test of your faith, the year of takeout cocktails.

If there were ever a time of extreme self-indulgence, this is the time. And, eh. Throw in some spinach because you should eat your vegetables or whatever. Don’t like spinach? Listen… I’m not your mom. Make it without spinach. I won’t tell her.

SHOW OF HANDS: who needs some next level mac and cheese? A smooth, creamy mac with some KAPOW?! YOU DO. Trust me. You need this in your life.

You’ll never believe how it gets your kids to eat their dang spinach. Blink and it’s instant clean-plate-club membership for your whole crew.

It’s so fabulous it belongs on a red carpet being photographed by the paparazzi.

This is a bucket of melty, ooey-gooey love. Great food is usually love, but that’s definitely true right now.

The crunchy panko topping is just the BEST. THE FLIPPING BEST.

I love it all so very much. There’s no time like 2020 to eat our feelings.

One-pot Creamed Spinach Mac & Cheese

5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 662kcal


For the mac:

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large sweet onion (finely diced)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (tested with White Lily)
  • 3 (14 oz) cans vegetable broth
  • 4 cups half and half
  • 1 pound cavatappi
  • 1 tsp garlic salt (tested with Lawry's)
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 16 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz mozzarella (freshly grated)
  • 8 oz sharp white cheddar (freshly grated)
  • 4 oz parmesan (freshly grated)

Optional topping:

  • 1 cup reserved cheese mixture
  • ½ cup panko
  • cooking spray


For the Mac:

  • In a dutch oven or a heavy bottomed stockpot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions. Add salt and pepper. Cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant, stirring often.
  • Sprinkle onion mixture with flour. Cook for 2 minutes, or until all raw flour is gone.
  • Add broth in with the half and half, stirring to remove any browned bits from the bottom.
  • Add in pasta and bring to a boil. Add in the garlic salt, cayenne, and nutmeg.
  • Cook (uncovered) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to your liking. Stir it often and make sure the pasta stays submerged.
  • When the pasta is cooked, stir in spinach, working it in batches if necessary.
  • Remove pot from heat. If topping the mac with panko, reserve 1 cup of the cheese mixture and stir in the remaining cheese. If not topping with panko, stir in all cheese and serve as soon as the cheese melts.

Optional topping:

  • Preheat broiler.
  • Pour mac into oven safe casserole dish. Top mac with the one cup reserved cheese mixture. Top the cheese with panko. Coat with a light spritz of cooking spray.
  • Place casserole dish on the upper third of the oven and broil for 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately.


Calories: 662kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 1155mg | Potassium: 591mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 5431IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 694mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @TheMessyMrs or tag #BlessThatMess!
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