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One-Skillet Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Bell Peppers

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Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Bell Peppers, smothered in marinara sauce and cream. Everything is cooked in one skillet: sausage, bell peppers, and even pasta! The clean-up after dinner is super easy! This dish will become your family’s favorite!

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I’ve made this dish a couple of weeks ago as my lunch to take to work – and IT WAS SO GOOD! AND, SO EASY TO MAKE! You start by cooking sausage on medium heat, in a large skillet until the meat is brown. Drain off fat. Then, add diced bell peppers:

cooking sausage and bell peppers for mac and cheese recipe

Next, add dried elbow macaroni, marinara sauce, and water:

add macaroni to sausage, bell peppers and tomato sauce

Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until macaroni is tender, occasionally stirring. Add half and half, sprinkle with cheese, and mix everything well. Remove from heat, cover and let it sit for about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts:

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Your pasta is ready to serve: only 45 minutes from start to finish!

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One-Skillet Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Bell Peppers

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

One-Skillet Mac and Cheese with Sausage and Bell Peppers


  • Follow Julia on Pinterest and Facebook to get more recipes and dinner ideas for your weekly meal planning!

  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1 bell red pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups dried elbow macaroni (half a package, 8 oz)
  • 18 oz marinara sauce
  • 18 oz water
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese (or increase to 1/2 cup)


  1. In a large skillet cook sausage on medium heat, until meat is brown. Drain off fat.
  2. Add diced bell peppers, dried elbow macaroni, marinara sauce, and water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to simmer. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until macaroni is tender, occasionally stirring.
  3. Add half and half, sprinkle with cheese, and mix everything well. Remove from heat, cover and let it sit for about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.



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{ 58 comments… add one }
  • Linda May 21, 2015, 11:33 am

    This sounds delish! I love 1 pot meals. My mom made this and it really stretched a pound of meat for a large family. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  • carolyn June 17, 2015, 9:55 pm

    can you use gulten free noodles the same way or cook it first to rinse the starch offf it can get thick and heavy?

  • Emily June 23, 2015, 8:07 pm

    We made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing!!!!

  • Alissa August 1, 2015, 4:11 pm

    I followed the recipe as written except I used ground beef instead of pork (we are not huge fans of pork). It was delicious and only took 45 minutes as you indicated. My whole family loved this!

  • Ashley September 10, 2015, 9:02 am

    I found this recipe on Pinterest and made it for my boyfriend. He loved it. We have never eaten pork sausage before but it was amazing! I’m not a big bell pepper fan but my plate was clean in the end. Definitely worth trying!

  • Andrea September 15, 2015, 8:12 pm

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was really good. Everyone loved it and it make plenty. My favorite part was that the pasta cooked in the same pan, no need to boil water and cook the pasta separately. Great recipe!

  • Lora September 18, 2015, 5:45 pm

    THANK YOU FOR SHARING! this was so good, i love the skillet meals

  • Cynthia October 8, 2015, 7:43 pm

    Hi! I was on pinterest looking for a quick easy meal and I found this recipe. Let me just say I NEVER comment on recipes until now. If I hate a recipe I move on and if I really like it I keep it pinned. Woman this recipe is outstanding. I honestly looked at the ingredients and thought it was going to be decent but this blew my mind. Thank you for sharing this! The only changes I made were I added mushrooms and used heavy cream (had it on hand) instead of half and half. Finding a recipe that is this quick, easy and delicious is gold!

  • Jen October 11, 2015, 5:58 pm

    Hi,I’m just wondering if I can use Italian sausage for pork sausage and heavy cream for 1/2 n 1/2?

  • Macy October 21, 2015, 11:05 am

    i made this last night it was really quick and easy thanks so much for a great meal ! Everyone said it was good even my 7 year old son who can picky at times. I added more macroni And it was still good and also some black pepper.

  • Carol Liles October 26, 2015, 8:16 am

    What kind of marinara sauce would you recommend? Would tomato sauce work? Thanks!

  • Aryana November 17, 2015, 9:49 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was quick, easy and delicious! Next time, I will add something to make it spicy but it was very good as is too! Great recipe!

  • WR Manuel November 27, 2015, 6:22 pm

    Made this tonight with some slight mods. I used mild turkey sausage, added some crushed red pepper, and omitted the bell peppers. It was quick, easy, and yummy.

  • Jenifer w. January 25, 2016, 11:04 pm

    Made this and liked how easy it was the cleanup and the preparation was easy. I used ground beef (don’t eat pork) added a few different seasonings will be on my home menu now

  • R Gordon March 9, 2016, 7:08 pm

    All I can say it was delicious. I never leave comments but this dish I’ll make again. The only thing I changed was I used chicken broth instead of water and chicken sausage instead pork. It came out PERFECT.

  • S Fears April 5, 2016, 1:26 pm

    Absolutely delicious. Everybody loved. Will definitely be a go to meal at our house. Wish I could figure out how to get the calories and nutritional info.

  • Ron April 6, 2016, 9:34 pm

    Made this tonight. It looked good but was very bland, May make again but next time use some additional spices (allot more),

  • Dave April 8, 2016, 5:03 am

    Made this tonight, it was amazing. Made it with a little extra cheese, but otherwise just as it was and it turned out great.

    • Julia June 29, 2016, 1:13 pm

      Extra cheese is always good! 🙂

  • pam summers May 26, 2016, 1:40 am

    wonderful recipe, the family enjoyed it.

    • Julia June 29, 2016, 1:12 pm

      Thank you so much!

  • Robin June 21, 2016, 7:58 am

    How would this be adapted for a crock pot?

    • Julia June 29, 2016, 1:11 pm

      Never cooked pasta in a crock pot, so would not be able to give an advice on that.

  • Karen June 26, 2016, 5:03 pm

    Simple and delicious. Had no pork so I used ground beef. Had no bell pepper so I used onion. Had no half and half so I used milk/butter combo. Still turned out great. Gotta love one-pot recipes. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julia June 29, 2016, 1:10 pm

      Thank you, Karen! 🙂

  • Simone June 27, 2016, 8:36 pm

    I was skeptical. But this turned out AMAZING!!!!! I used a box of Mac n cheese with mozzarella cheese and turkey. Thank you.

    • Julia June 29, 2016, 1:08 pm

      Thank you, Simone! Glad you liked it!

  • Lynn July 27, 2016, 1:34 am

    Just wondering how well this meal reheats? I was thinking of making it the evening before and serving to a large group the next day. Thanks!

  • Katy August 16, 2016, 7:41 pm

    I was looking for something to do with ground sausage that was different then what I normally do. I normally just make Zappa Toscana soup or a pasta sauce with it. I found this recipe and tried it tonight. I used whatever peppers I had from my garden and cooked them with garlic for a bit before I added back the browned sausage, water, marinara and macaroni. I used the whole can of marinara sauce which was 24 oz and chopped up a fresh tomato to add as we prefer it a little saucy. I also didn’t have any half and half but just used a splash of milk and some cheddar cheese instead of mozeralla. Even with the minor changes it was fantastic. My husband is a Mac and cheese lover and loved this rendition. I always prefer meat in my Mac and cheese so this was great! I really liked the one pot aspect!

  • Terry Brandau September 5, 2016, 5:54 am

    One dish wonders are right up every busy Mom’s alley! This dish sounds like it fits the bill perfectly! Thanks for sharing Julia!

  • Abby September 20, 2016, 4:40 pm

    I’m not a fan of bell peppers but in this recipe I didn’t mind it. It was Delicious. I didn’t have mozzarella cheese so I added American cheese instead and turned out perfect. I will definitely make this again.

  • Abby September 20, 2016, 4:42 pm

    What are some sides that might go with This dish ?

  • Audrey September 22, 2016, 2:31 pm

    I do not eat dairy products. Do you have any recommendations to modify this?

  • Katie October 3, 2016, 3:44 pm


    What kind of marinara sauce would you recommend for this recipie?

  • John October 23, 2016, 8:56 am

    Does “dried” macaroni mean uncooked, or does it mean cooked and dried off? The word “dried” would indicate that it was once wet, i.e. cooked and then dried out.

    • Abby September 17, 2017, 5:14 pm

      Uncooked. Straight from the box

  • Christine November 29, 2016, 12:47 am

    Ground beef with the addition of some paprika and fennel seed, makes a good stand in for the pork sausage… Such a great recipe! Thank you

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 8:07 pm

      Great suggestion – thank you!

    • Anny Rozelle January 18, 2017, 6:04 pm

      I used fennel with this recipe and it was fantastic! I love cooking and Julia and Christine, this was great!

      • Julia January 31, 2017, 2:22 am

        Thank you, Anny, so glad to hear you liked the recipe! And thank you for your time to leave a comment – I really appreciate it! Good to know fennel tastes good in this recipe. 🙂

  • Bunnie November 30, 2016, 9:00 pm

    This is a very quick and easy supper. My family loved it. I did have to improvise a bit. I was out of macaroni so I used small shell pasta, I was out of mozzarella so I used Mexican blend, and lastly of course I was out of half and half so I used butter and milk. lol thanksgiving dinner whipped out my grocery supply. I would normally have all these ingredients on hand. Next time I will try the recipe but for today my substations were perfect.

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 8:02 pm

      Thank you for taking your time and leaving such a detailed feedback! WOW, you are quite resourceful. Once, I ran out of half and half and heavy cream, and there is no way I would’ve been able to make half and half out of butter and milk. So just used cream cheese and milk instead.

  • Danielle December 2, 2016, 6:06 am

    Very easy. ..will be making again and again and again. ..lol

    • Julia December 17, 2016, 7:54 pm

      Thank you, Danielle! It is a pretty easy recipe, isn’t it! So glad you liked it.

  • Donna December 31, 2016, 9:57 am

    I made this the other night, it was delicious! Forgot the cream at the store so just added a bit of milk but didn’t really need it, would of been good either way. So easy!!

    • Julia January 2, 2017, 11:19 pm

      Thank you, Donna, so glad you liked it! Good to hear it worked even without the cream!

  • Allym January 28, 2017, 7:21 pm

    I recently made this recipe with a few edits: mixing 2 savory spaghetti sauces instead of using marinara and a pack of shredded Italian 3 cheese & sweet Italian ground sausage. I also added spices like basil near the end and grated parmesean on top. Everything else was by instruction and it was DEVINE! Such a fast and easy mid-week meal and made for great left overs. Everyone wanted more!

    • Julia January 30, 2017, 11:20 pm

      So glad you liked it! This recipe works with all kinds of red spaghetti sauces and most types of shredded cheese!

  • Terri March 1, 2017, 12:14 pm

    Made this last night. I did use mild Italian sausage. It was tasty good and easy.

    • Julia March 11, 2017, 1:29 am

      Thank you, Terri! So glad you liked it! 🙂

  • Nicole March 16, 2017, 6:05 pm

    I’ve made this dish a few times now and I love it. It’s so simple and quick. I use hot Italian ground sausage, I add onions, and I use 24 ounce garlic onion tomato sauce, with the 18 ounce water. I also add the peppers and onions in just before my sausage is finished cooking. It’s so yummy I love it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julia March 29, 2017, 1:19 am

      Nicole, I am glad you have enjoyed this recipe! 🙂

  • Angela May 9, 2017, 6:12 pm

    Yum! I made it with vegetarian sausage and it was a family hit…even with my 3 and 9 yr olds. Thanks!

  • Luke July 9, 2017, 7:39 am

    Hi,just would like to know what 1/2and 1/2 meant in this recipe??

  • PAULApaula September 5, 2017, 6:00 pm

    Lost power and had chicken sausage to cook up .so I found your recipe. Used extra green bell pepper, not having red peppers. Did not have half and half and used spaghetti sauce, stillTurned out great . Dished up to safe for next night and I may add crushed red pepper to spice it up a little. Saved this recipe. thank yOu…..

  • Abby September 17, 2017, 5:18 pm

    I’ve made this so many times. It is always perfect and its just me and my fiance eating and everytime the whole pot is gone by the end of the night. It is soooo good! I also substituted mozerella with american cheese because it was all i had on hand and it made it feel more of like cheesy mac and cheese . Thankyou for this recipe.

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