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Stovetop Mac and Cheese

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.  

A white plate with creamy stovetop mac and cheese.

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. 

Making a roux and adding milk and seasonings for mac and cheese.

Reduce heat to low and stir in the shredded cheese. 

Adding cheese and stirring it into sauce for stovetop mac and cheese.

Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve! 

Macaroni being added and stirred into cheese sauce.

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.

Pro Tips

A dutch oven filled with creamy stovetop mac and cheese with a wooden spoon.


Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tools For This Recipe

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A plate topped with Creamy Mac and Cheese.

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

5 from 5 ratings
This Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the BEST 30-minute meal for a busy week. Your family will love it every time!


  • 2 cups macaroni, uncooked. (equal to 1/2 lb.)
  • 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. Stir continuously until smooth and combined. Add the drained macaroni and stir to combine. Serve!


Pro Tips:

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!


Calories: 571kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 34g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 513mg, Potassium: 271mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1137IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 408mg, Iron: 1mg

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16 comments on “Stovetop Mac and Cheese”

  1. I make this with a block of Colby Jack also, add diced chicken breast I browned and seasoned with creole seasoning, I then add in peas and chopped broccoli. Sometimes I’ll throw in some diced red pepper too! Turns out Delicious and everyone ends up with tummy full of yummy comfort food. 😎

  2. Love this recipe!  Do you think it would be difficult to make enough to fill a half steamer tray for a party?  And would it hold up well if made the morning of a party but kept warm til later, or best served immediately?

    • Hi Jill, this is what I would do: Cook the macaroni for 2-3 minutes less than al dente. Drain. Use a silicone spatula to combine with the cheese sauce until just combined, don’t overmix. If desired, Refrigerate for 1-2 days. Place in a steamer tray and heat for 2 hours. You may want to check on it/stir occasionally. I would also use a little less macaroni than what the recipe calls for, because the pasta is going to continue to absorb the sauce as it sits/reheats, and you don’t want dry pasta. I also have this baked macaroni and cheese recipe that you could make and reheat as outlined above as well. This one has an abundance of cheese sauce designed for reheating and it also uses a full pound of macaroni. I hope that helps! 🙂

  3. Made this for the first time tonight and absolutely loved it. Perfect consistency and the seasoning was spot on. I got this recipe already printed out and have it ready for next time. This will be my “go to” Mac n Cheese recipe. You won’t be disappointed!

  4. I saw this post on IG and it looked so good and easy. My problem with mac and cheese made with a roux is that it always seems gritty. I guess that’s the cheese’s fault but nevertheless, I decided to try yours. I doubled the recipe in order to use a pound of pasta. I also used half and half instead of heavy cream. Happy with the outcome, not gritty! And I will make it again!

    • I am so happy to hear that it worked out for you Nicole!! Things that help with managing gritty cheese sauces is to ensure that the temperature of the base is low when you add the cheese, (otherwise the dairy can separate and become gritty), and to shred the cheese from a block instead of using bagged cheese whenever possible. It took me years to realize this, so I like to spread the knowledge. lol. Nicely done making this successfully, and thank you for taking the time to let me know how it came out!

  5. Hi Stephanie, What are your thoughts on making this ahead of time?

  6. Such a good, simple, mac and cheese recipe! The sauce was ready by the time the pasta had finished cooking so it literally took me only 10 minutes to cook! I made this for my fiancé and he quickly went back for seconds! Highly recommend trying it for a quick weekday meal if you haven’t already.

  7. Loved this recipe. I had a house full of kids yesterday and I didn’t know what to make. I saw your post and decided to give it a try. All the kids (young and older) loved it!!!! I will always keep the ingredients on hand so I can throw it together when I’m pinched for time. I really think the mustard powder and the hot sauce make a huge difference in flavor. My husband loved it too. Thank you for this gem!!!!!

  8. I made this with my daughter last night and we had so much fun. It was delicious! I call her a mac and cheese snob because it’s pretty much all she eats and she’s very particular lol. I definitely appreciate the pro tips, especially with the flavor enhancers!

    • I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed making this with your daughter Paula! I love cooking with my little one. Thanks so much for the great comments and review!❤️

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