Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese combines two of the best comfort foods into one incredible dinner! An easy weeknight one pan meal, you’ll cook elbow macaroni in pizza sauce, herbs, and spices, and then add pepperoni and plenty of cheese to make the ooey-est, gooey-est pizza in mac and cheese form ever. Watch how fast you add this meal to your regular dinner rotation!

A wooden spoon is scooping some of the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese from the pan. There are cheese pulls stretching from the bottom of the spoon into the pan.

Back in the day, I had the luxury of having the time to make an indulgent and cheesy bechamel cream sauce on the stove and then waiting for ooey, gooey mac and cheese topped with buttered bread crumbs or crackers to emerge from the oven all hot, steamy, and utterly delicious.

Now in my Mom Era, faster meals are more my thing. And one pan dinners are most definitely a priority for me at least once a week.

A bowl of One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese is ready to eat.

I mean, how can I turn down making mac and cheese in one pan versus dirtying 3 pans and dishes (one to boil the water, one to make the sauce, and one to bake the mac and cheese)? It’s not a tough choice anymore!

So that’s where this pizza mac and cheese comes in. It’s a stove top mac and cheese recipe. You’ll make it in one pan. 

You’ll raid your pantry and fridge for pasta, sauce, leftover pepperoni, and random bits of cheese you need to use up. Who knew a pantry meal could be so simple to pull together?

Ingredients

Here’s the basic grocery list for my Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese recipe. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Ingredients list and full printable recipe card!

Ingredients for One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese are laid out on a white marble counter.
  • Jarred pizza sauce: I used Rao’s but use what you have, like, or can find. Just make sure you check the Ingredients list in the recipe card below for the amount you’ll need.
  • Herbs and spices: garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • Uncooked elbow macaroni
  • Pepperoni: Either mini pepperoni or regular-size pepperoni that you can chop up
  • Unsalted butter
  • Heavy cream
  • Good, melty cheese: I used mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, and sharp white cheddar cheese. They’re what I had in the fridge at the time I made this meal. Parmesan, asiago, and a pizza cheese or Italian cheese blend would also work. Use up what you have on hand!
A wooden spoon is scooping a big scoop of the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese from the pan. There are cheese pulls stretching from the bottom of the spoon into the pan.

How to Make this Incredible Mac and Cheese

Here are the basic steps to make the best pizza mac and cheese. Be sure to keep scrolling down to the recipe for the full Instructions list and full printable recipe card!

STEP 1: Grab a large sauté pan and heat it over medium high heat. Add the pizza sauce and water to the hot pan. Stir in all of the dried herbs and spices plus some salt.

Elbow macaroni has been added to the pan with pizza sauce and water to make One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese.

STEP 2: Bring the liquid to a boil, add the elbow pasta, stir, cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring the pasta frequently to prevent it from sticking until the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid.

Uncover the pan and allow the pasta to cook uncovered for a couple of minutes to allow the sauce to cook down a little. 

STEP 3: Stir butter into the pasta until just about melted and then add the heavy cream.

A pile of mini pepperoni is sitting on top of the cooked elbow macaroni before is has been stirred in to the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese.

STEP 4: Mix the mini pepperoni into the pasta and then gradually stir in the cheese by the handful until completely melted.

STEP 5: Stir in some extra cream to loosen the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the pepperoni. Season with salt to taste before serving.

Starting to mix the cheese in to the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese.

Variations on a Theme

Just as there are so many different pizza toppings, there are lots of different ways you can make this pizza mac and cheese too! Here are a few suggestions:

Sausage: Brown ground Italian sausage or links with the casings removed in some olive oil before adding the pizza sauce and water. 

Meatballs: Roughly chop up leftover meatballs and stir the meatball chunks into the pasta after you add the cheese.

A platter of browned beef and pork meatballs.

Green and/or red peppers: Sauté chopped bell peppers in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until softened. Then add the pizza sauce and water to the pan. 

Mushrooms: Brown sliced button or baby bella mushrooms in a dry pan until they start to glisten, brown, and soften just a little. Then add the pizza sauce and water to the pan. 

What to Serve with Pizza Mac and Cheese?

There are so many things you can serve with this mac and cheese!

A wooden spoon is scooping some of the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese out of the pan.

A classic garden or Caesar salad is always a wonderful fresh option. 

If you want to go the way of a green veggie, roasted broccoli is my go-to for a veggie side dish, and it will go great with this hearty pasta meal.

Whether you’ll be serving a crowd or a small group, more carbs is never a bad idea! I’d go with this Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread, which is like a savory monkey bread, or your favorite kind of garlic bread.

A wooden spoon is scooping some of the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese from the pan. There are cheese pulls stretching from the bottom of the spoon into the pan.

The Best Way to Reheat Mac and Cheese

Over the years, the only way I’ve reheated mac and cheese has been in the microwave. And boy, have I been making a mistake all these years!

If you haven’t tried it, you MUST reheat mac and cheese in a pan on the stove top. It’s the only way to go!

Two bowls of One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese are ready to be eaten. There are two forks on the table.

The harsh and intense kind of heat from a microwave will cause the cheese and dairy in mac and cheese to separate and become greasy. It’s pretty awful!

A slow and gentle heat in a pan, along with an extra splash of milk, half and half, or heavy cream will allow the cheese to warm gradually and keep all of the fat molecules in place. 

This will help to keep the cheese melty when it’s warm enough to eat, just the way you want it, instead of turning it oily and grainy.

A close up photograph of a wooden spoon scooping One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese out of the pan with lots of cheese pulls on the bottom of the spoon.

More Fantastic Mac and Cheese Recipes You’ll Definitely Want to Make this Week

A wooden spoon is scooping some of the One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese from the pan. There are cheese pulls stretching from the bottom of the spoon into the pan.

One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese

Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Mac and Cheese combines two of the greatest comfort foods into one incredible meal. This easy weeknight recipe (made in under 30 minutes!) boosts your regular mac and cheese into another world with the addition of pizza spices, pepperoni, and tons of mozzarella and provolone cheese.

Ingredients

  • 12.3 oz jar pizza sauce (I used Rao’s but any pizza sauce will work)
  • 2 ½ cups water, divided
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 8 oz dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 package (5 oz) mini pepperoni
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 oz provolone cheese, shredded or chopped small from slices
  • 1 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pizza sauce and 2 cups of the water to the pan. Pour the remaining ½ cup of water into the pizza sauce jar, cover, and shake to loosen up the stuck-on sauce. Pour the saucy water into the pan. Add the garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and salt; stir to combine.
  2. Bring the liquid to a boil, add the elbows, stir, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 11 to 12 minutes, stirring the pasta frequently to prevent it from sticking. At this point, the pasta should have absorbed most of the liquid. Uncover the pan and allow the pasta to cook uncovered for a minute or two.
  3. Stir the butter chunks into the pasta until just about melted and then add ¾ cup of the heavy cream in 3 (¼-cup) additions, stirring each until the cream starts to thicken a little before adding the next. Mix the mini pepperoni into the pasta.
  4. Gradually stir in the cheese by the handful until completely melted. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cream. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese and heat the pepperoni. Season with salt to taste before serving.

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