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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

4.97 from 29 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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71 comments on “Stovetop Mac and Cheese”

  1. Excellent! I made this tonight for my family and we LOVED it! The cheese sauce was the perfect consistency! It is very creamy with the addition of the heavy cream. I would highly recommend this recipe!!

    • I’m so happy it was such a hit with the family Karen! My daughter is obsessed with this one. I think I made it for a month straight at one point lol. Thanks so much for the review!💗

  2. It is a very good recipe, but the hot sauce does make the dish too spicy for my personal taste. Others may like it that way, but it should be noted that it can be tasted in the dish by those sensitive to spice. I made it again without the hot sauce and it was perfect.

    • Hi Natalie! Hot sauces can vary in terms of how much heat them pack on, I usually use Frank’s hot sauce and we can’t tell it’s there- it’s a common mac-and-cheese add-on, but understandable that if you’re spice sensitive you may want to be safe and not add it to recipes!

  3. This is a great stove top Mac and cheese! I didn’t have mustard powder so I used a heaping tsp of Dijon and I didn’t have hot sauce so I used cayenne pepper, and I think used closer to 2 cups of cheese, came out great! I’m enjoying it with some smoked ribs.

  4. This is an excellent, quick Mac and cheese.

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