Stovetop Mac and Cheese-Easy to make from scratch and so much better than boxed! You only need 20 minutes to make this macaroni and cheese! Everyone’s favorite comfort food!
Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
I love a good macaroni and cheese! Have you tried our Baked Mac and Cheese? It is off the charts delicious! But sometimes we need a super quick meal and that is when we turn to Stovetop Mac and Cheese.
Making it on the stovetop creates a quick and easy dinner for weeknights. It doesn’t take much more time than the boxed mac and cheese, but it tastes so much better! Your whole family will love it. In fact, prepare to have this as a most-requested dish. Our boys LOVE it!
Best Cheese to Use
I like to keep it classic with sharp cheddar cheese! It’s delicious and we usually have it on hand. You can use traditional orange sharp cheddar cheese or white cheddar cheese, both work great. If you use white, obviously the mac and cheese won’t be orange:)
You can mix up the cheese with any of your favorite varieties! Gouda, monterey jack, mozzarella, parmesan, havarti, colby jack…you can even mix varieties! So many possibilities!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese Ingredients
This is a super simple ingredient list! It’s a basic mac and cheese that you can turn whenever you are craving comfort food!
- Large elbow macaroni– Large elbow macaroni works best. Shells are also a good option.
- Butter– Bring on the butter!
- Flour– All-purpose flour is needed for making a roux.
- Ground mustard– It adds a little something something!
- Whole milk– Make sure you use whole milk for super creamy mac and cheese!
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese– Use freshly grated for best results, not already shredded from the store. It has a powdery coating and doesn’t get as creamy.
- Salt and pepper– Season to taste!
If you want to make gluten-free mac and cheese, use gluten-free pasta and all-purpose gluten-free flour!
How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese
It’s even faster than you might think! Just right for busy weeknights or even lunch.
- Start by making the pasta according to the package instructions! Cook it in a large pot of salty water until it’s al dente, then drain the water and set the pasta aside.
- While the pasta cooks, get a large pot heating over medium heat. Melt the butter, then turn the heat to low and whisk in flour and ground mustard. This will create a paste!
- Next whisk in the milk until it’s smooth. Turn the heat up a bit and keep whisking! The sauce will start to thicken, which should take about 2 minutes.
- Add in the shredded cheese and stir until it’s all melted and smooth. So cheesy and delicious!
- Mix in the drained pasta and stir until it’s well coated with the cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper to your preference.
- I like to garnish with a little extra shredded cheese and the boys always beg for crushed saltine crackers on top for some crunch. SO good!
- You can serve mac and cheese as a main dish or side dish! It is good both ways!
Add-Ins for Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is delicious on its own, but I love adding a few extras to make it even more exciting! This is also an awesome way to spice up leftovers. A few favorite add-ins to take your macaroni and cheese to the next level:
- Cooked crumbled bacon
- A dash of hot sauce
- Chopped ham
- Cooked spinach
How to Store Mac and Cheese
Store your macaroni and cheese in a sealed, airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat and eat all week! Mac and cheese leftovers are always a hit at our house!
Mac and cheese can also be frozen for up to two months.
More Cheesy Pasta Recipes
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese
- Stovetop Avocado Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- One Pot Vegetarian Chili Mac and Cheese
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz large elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 whole cups milk, at room temperature
- 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- For serving: extra shredded cheese and crushed saltine crackers, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook it just until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain the pasta set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter over medium heat in a large pot. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the flour and ground mustard to create a paste. Whisk in milk until smooth. Turn the heat to medium and whisk until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in the shredded cheese until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Add the drained pasta and stir until well coated with the cheese sauce. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Garnish with a little shredded cheese and crushed saltine crackers, if desired. Serve immediately.
Have you tried this recipe?
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Photos by Dishing Out Health
This looks delicious! We make a super similar recipe in our house all the time when we need a quick lunch!
this is very similar to the mac & cheese my mother used to make on Fridays, back in the day (the 1950s and 60s) when Catholics couldn’t eat meat on Fridays.
except she would use . . . velveeta! and we loved it, believe it or not. it was creamy, with just a tang of saltiness. melted like a dream. she would also bake it after mixing the sauce so it had that delightful crunchy topping. she served it with tomato soup, too, which my dad and I poured overtop the pasta.
I didn’t even know I wasn’t eating real cheese until much, much later!
Definitely gonna give this recipe a go.
This is close to the way I have made Mac & Cheese my whole life (my family recipe). Velvetta is a good alternative to real cheese during this pandemic as it keeps for a long time and hopefully will be more readily available the real cheese.
How do you stop the butter, flour and milk paste from becoming lumpy?
For me, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Thanks for sharing this recipe. There are times when we want to make fancy food that involves complex steps and recipes. This recipe is for other times when we just want to take it easy and still have comforting, tasty food.
Glad you liked the mac and cheese!
So glad I found this, it’s now our all time fav Mac n cheese recipe! Love it!
Glad you love it! It’s so easy and cheesy!
My first time ever making mac and cheese which was a success! Thank you so much for this recipe i will be making this again and again!
I find it a struggle to find a really good Mac n cheese recipe. What I loved about this one was that it was easy and the perfect texture, however I found it lacking in taste even with loads of pepper on my serving. I followed the recipe exactly so I’ll have to see what I can add to it for next time.
If you want more flavor you could use different cheese…or mix cheeses.
I don’t like really spicy food but I was recently blessed to get some jalapeño mac n cheese from a local Mexican restaurant. It was amazing! I am going to try a few jalapeños in this recipe. You might like to try that.
This is a great, easy weeknight Mac and Cheese recipe. I made it as a side dish with our bean burgers and broccoli. This is a keeper!
Hi! What could be substituted for the whole milk?
Your milk of choice.