This Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is an easy 30-minute meal that your family will always agree on! It’s the BEST dinner recipe for a busy week and it’s easy to customize with different cheeses and add-ons.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
It is really nice to have a few 30 minute meals that you can fall back on during a busy week, and this is definitely one of those recipes. It’s picky eater approved, takes no more then 30 minutes to make, and you can jazz it up all you want (more ideas on that below)!
The consistency of the cheese sauce is perfectly thick and creamy, (but not too thick). It’s just right. The flavors are enhanced with a touch of mustard powder and hot sauce, which you can’t taste at all in the recipe. (I promise).
Feel free to use a variety of different kinds of cheese for this recipe. Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, and Gruyere are all great options!
How to Make It
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Boil macaroni according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream/milk in splashes, stirring continuously. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Add hot sauce and seasonings.
Reduce heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese.
Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve!
What to Add to Mac and Cheese
- Pasta Options: Medium Shells, Cavatappi, Rotini, Fusilli/Bow Tie Pasta may also be used, just note that the cooking times may vary slightly.
- Cheeses: A combination of Smoked Gouda, Monterey Jack, Gruyere, Fontina, and Mozzarella may also be used. Note that extra sharp cheddar or aged cheeses won’t melt as well.
- Meats: Cooked Chicken, Ham, Pulled Pork, Bacon, Buffalo Chicken, Sausage, Kielbasa, and Hot Dogs.
- Vegetables: Corn, Peas, Mushrooms, Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Caramelized Onions, Green Onions.
- Shred the cheese from a block as it will melt and taste much better than packaged shredded cheese. I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese.
- You can’t taste the hot sauce or mustard powder in the mac and cheese, they are used as flavor enhancers. I usually use Texas Pete Hot Sauce. (Frank’s hot sauce is my trusty backup!)
- Love Mac and Cheese? Check out my recipes for the Crock Pot and Instant Pot. I also have a Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese, Chili Mac, Bacon Mac and Cheese and One Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese!
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
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Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups macaroni, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon each: salt/pepper
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- Pro tip: Shred the cheese from a block. It will melt and taste much better than packaged shredded cheese. See notes for brand of cheese that I use.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the macaroni. Bring back up to a boil and cook according to package instructions. Set a timer to avoid overcooking. Drain once cooked.
- While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Use a silicone spatula to stir in the flour. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the heavy cream/milk in splashes, stirring continuously. (If you add it too quickly you’ll “break” the roux and the sauce will be thin.)
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the seasonings and hot sauce. Reduce heat to low.
- Gradually sprinkle in the shredded cheese. And stir continuously until smooth and combined. Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve!
- I use Cracker Barrel Sharp Yellow Cheese for this recipe.
- You can't taste the hot sauce or mustard powder in the mac and cheese, they are used as flavor enhancers. I usually use Texas Pete Hot Sauce. (Frank's hot sauce is my trusty backup!)
Love Mac and Cheese? Check out my recipes for the Crock Pot and Instant Pot. I also have a Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese, Chili Mac, Bacon Mac and Cheese and One Pot Broccoli Mac and Cheese!