Velveeta Shells and Cheese: Homemade Copy of a Classic

Stephie Swope | Eat Your Heart Out

This homemade Velveeta Shells and Cheese recipe is an easy twist on a classic favorite. Enjoy!

Copycat Velveeta Shells & Cheese Photo

When I was in middle school and high school, many a night was spent with my best friend, Amy.

Now, Amy’s family didn’t do a lot of cooking, so when we were at her house, I could usually count on one of two things for dinner: pizza, or Velveeta Shells and Cheese. (To be fair, when we were at my house, my mom almost always cooked dinner, so things balanced out in the end.)

I cannot tell a lie: I really enjoyed those dinners of Velveeta Shells and Cheese. I’ve always loved mac and cheese, and, primarily due to a lactose-intolerant father, didn’t get it much at my own house. But, in retrospect, I think what I really loved about those meals was the experience: eating off of paper plates in the living room, flipping through crazy reality TV shows while Amy’s dog, Penny, looked on, praying for us to drop a noodle (or two).

Copycat Velveeta Shells & Cheese Picture

But let’s face it: who really knows what is in Velveeta Shells and Cheese? I mean, a block of Velveeta can sit in your fridge for a year without ever going bad. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. But I was also skeptical: could I really recreate this childhood favorite without use of sketchy ingredients, make it just as quick and easy, and still end up with a dish that lived up to my memories?

As it turns out, I absolutely could. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that this version tastes just like this original. And, to make things even better, you only need 4 ingredients, as much time as it takes to cook your pasta, and a hearty appetite.

Now that’s a quick and easy dish that I can get behind.

    4 Servings


  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • salt, to taste


  1. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling, salted water.
  2. Once cooked, drain and return to the pot over low heat.
  3. Add the cream cheese and evaporated milk, stirring to combine.
  4. Once the cream cheese is melted, add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted and well combined.
  5. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.


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Rating: 3.2 / 5.0 (94 Votes)
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About Stephie

Stephie is all about encouraging the art of cooking in her friends and family through her blog, Eat Your Heart Out. We love that she's also encouraging classic favorites as our Copycat Recipe expert, taking back of the box favorites and updating them for the way we eat today.

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    Thanks..can't wait to try it. I especially appreciated your comments about it sitting in the fridge for a year. I had a similar experience with individually wrapped American cheese, but not sure if it was Velveeta or "the other brand". I had a non working fridge in my garage for about six months, part of the time was during the 100 plus degree heat of Southern California summers. When someone came by to pick it up, I gave it a last cleaning and found the cheese slice hidden away and thought, Oh no, it's going to be filled with mold and stinky. Well, it was perfect, as if it had never been touched. I still avoid pre wrapped American cheese, but makes you wonder.


    Can you use a reduced fat version of cream cheese? Or would that just mess it up?

    Stephie-swope @ Amy

    I haven't tried it with reduced fat cream cheese, so I can't tell you for certain, but I suspect that it would turn out fine. I rarely notice much difference between using regular and reduced fat cream cheese in most recipes.


    I'm a huge Velvetta macaroni and cheese fan, I still think it's some of the best mac and cheese you can buy (even if the ingredients are frightening). How thrilled I would be to make my own! Thanks for sharing!


    It's been far too long since I've had a good mac n cheese and I'm drooling over this recipe!


    This looks fantastic. Yes, I confess - there's always a box of this stuff in the pantry "for emergencies" but, after seeing this recipe and knowing that I have all of the ingredients (which are real food ingredients) on hand, so sorry - no more boxed M&C in the pantry - ever :) Thank you!!!

    Stephie-swope @ CookingInStilettos

    Thanks, dear! I sure hope you like it! :-)


    Are you KIDDING ME?! Velveeta shells and cheese was a staple of my childhood. (I've turned my nose up at the dry cheese packets my whole life.) I love you for this!

    Stephie-swope @ Natalie Perry

    I will and have eaten the powdery cheese, but then again, if you could technically snort it...should you be even putting the word "cheese" on it? Let's just stick with this from now on. ;-)


    This looks so good! My kids are Mac and Cheese fanatics and I am always trying to find the best and least fake version I can to make for them, seeing as how we eat it like 2x a week. At least. I will have to try your version because it looks great! And, uses real cheese? What could be better?! Thanks!!

    Stephie-swope @ Emily Caruso

    I know - real ingredients! I was excited, too. :-) I hope y'all enjoy it!