Easy Macaroni & Cheese for Measuring

As you make macaroni and cheese, use measuring cups to measure exact amounts. You can start a conversation with your child about how to use the cups and they can even help!


Activity Summary

Make your own macaroni and cheese. You have to measure out the amount of water, cheese, and pasta. The tips included with this recipe will help you to practice measuring with your child, such as having them help to put the right amount of pasta into the measuring cup. 



1½ cups whole milk

1¼ cups water

2 cups elbow macaroni 

½ teaspoon salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese (using pre-shredded cheese may affect the texture)

Possible additions: hot dog, precooked chicken, steamed or boiled broccoli, frozen peas


Measuring cup or cups that measure 1 cup, ½ cup, and ¼ cup


  1. Everyone washes their hands with soap and water while counting to 20 before starting to cook.
  2. Combine milk, water, macaroni, salt, and pepper in saucepan. 
  3. Move saucepan to stove and set to medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Once mixture beings to boil, reduce heat to low. Stir continuously for 8-10 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
  5. Remove pot from stove.
  6. Gradually stir in shredded cheese until smooth and melted.
  7. Stir in any other additions. 

Math Tips

  • Read the ingredient list with your child and talk about how many cups of cheese and macaroni are needed.
  • Talk with your child about why we need to measure while cooking. Ask your child, “What will happen if we put in too much water (the result would be more like a soup) or not enough water (the noodles would be too dry)?”
  • Show your child where the one-cup mark is on your measuring cup (if possible, make a mark using a dry erase marker on the outside of the cup.)
  • Have your child put in shredded cheese up to the one-cup line. When your child says they’re done, ask them how they know, then help them look at the line to see if they measured exactly to the one-cup mark.
  • If you have a two-cup measuring cup, show your child where two cups is on your measuring cup (if possible, make a mark using a dry erase marker on the outside of the cup.)
  • Have your child put in pasta noodles until the noodles are up to the two-cup line. If you have a one-cup measuring cup, talk about how you need to fill it twice and have your child help.
  • Ask your child, “Are we using a greater amount of noodles or cheese in this recipe?” They should be able to explain that you are using a greater amount of noodles because you measured two cups of noodles and one cup of cheese, and two is more than one.
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