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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.

Storage

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

4.98 from 41 ratings
This Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the BEST 30-minute meal for a busy week. Your family will love it every time!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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!

Notes

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!

Nutrition

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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101 comments on “Stovetop Mac and Cheese”

  1. Could this be made using a mix of smoked gouda, sharp cheddar and Monterey jack? And do you think paprika or cayenne pepper would work as a sub for the hot sauce?

    • Hi Nikki! A combination of cheeses would be fantastic, and the ones that you suggested are all great candidates, they melt well, as long as the sharp cheddar is soft (vs. an aged cheese that’s harder or crystalized). A little paprika and a pinch of cayenne would be great!

  2. So easy and soooo yummy. I even made this recipe with leftover spaghetti noodles that I didn’t have any plans for 😂… it still turned out amazing! Definitely going to be saving this one!

  3. I added ham and broccoli and my husband even loved it!!!

  4. I used half n half and milk. Used block cheese.
    It was amazing. No mustard, onion or hot sauce. On the milk done 3/4 cup of each. Everyone agreed was best and creamiest.
    New go to for mac n cheese.

  5. Love it! Great stove top recipe. I added chili powder instead of hot sauce. So delicious! Thank you

  6. Delicious 

  7. Made this for Christmas with ham, roasted brussels sprouts and corn pudding and it was hands down the BEST mac and cheese I’ve ever had! It was sooo creamy and stayed creamy as leftovers. It never got hard or dry. Making it again tonight with fried fish. This will be my go to for Christmas dinner with ham from now on.

    • Sounds like the perfect dinner! I love making this for the holidays too. Kids love it and it makes a great side dish for adults. Thanks so much for the great review!💖

  8. I made this for a superbowl party yesterday and quadrupled the recipe. I was nervous to just 4x it the first time I made it, but it came out great!!

    I ended up using more cheese than it called for, maybe 1.5-2x the amount, and used shell noodles. I didn’t end up using all of the cheese sauce, it was pretty saucy, but am glad I had more cheese in it to make it extra flavorful. I mixed it all up and transported it in a crockpot to keep it warm. I did need to add a bit of milk to it right before we drove to the party to keep it saucy, but it was SO GOOD and such a hit! I have never seen people eat so much mac n cheese.

  9. Excellent !  Used everything but the milk and heavy cream because I didn’t have any so, I used a can of evaporated milk. Perfect! Thank you.
    Fkc

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