Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe is not really that unique. It’s the result of my quest for a replacement for the boxed stuff!

The criteria of my quest was that it must be quick. It should also be done on the stovetop in one pot, creamy and very cheesy with real cheese. It must also be inexpensive!

I think this recipe knocks the quest out of the ballpark! The result is something that the boxed stuff can’t compete with.

The final recipe is very similar to one by Rachael Ray of the Food Network. The big difference is Rachael uses cream instead of milk.

What Cheese Makes The Best Mac and Cheese

I can say without a doubt that the best cheese is not the powdered stuff you get in the boxes. That stuff ain’t real cheese!

I like cheddar. The sharper the better. I never use less than sharp cheddar and I use extra sharp when I can find it.

In addition, cheddar has the perfect balance between melting ability and flavor! Which is necessary for good mac and cheese.

I do confess to using packaged grated cheese. It saves a lot of time, is not expensive and the only concession is that a little bit of cornstarch is added to keep it from caking.

Now if you like, you can use a blend of cheeses. However, you should certainly consider cheddar as the base. Any additional cheese variety should have good flavor and melt well.

One of the more popular additional cheeses is Gruyere. It adds a nutty flavor and melts as well as cheddar. Parmesan is another great addition.

Some others that do well are Fontina, Gouda, and Muenster. Experiment! It’s almost impossible to ruin macaroni and cheese!

How Do You Make Macaroni and Cheese On The Stove Top

Making this dish couldn’t be easier. Just cook and drain the pasta, make a béchamel sauce, add the cheese and then stir it all up together! All on the stovetop in one pot.

For the pasta, I almost always use elbow macaroni. But that’s not a requirement! Any small pasta type will work. You can even mix types if you like. Just be sure cooking times are compatible!

A roux is just fat and flour blended overheat. Once they are combined you slowly stir in the milk. The result is a bechamel sauce.

Slowly blend in the cheese to make a cheese sauce and then stir in the cooked pasta. Serve it up. You just made mac and cheese!

Here’s the recipe:

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe

This beats the off the shelf boxed stuff hands down.

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 225 kcal


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 8 ounce bag shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese about 2 cups
  • Salt


  1. In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente; drain in a colander.
  2. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is steaming hot and thick, about 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar until melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni and season to taste with salt.

Spices To Add To Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Do you want to spice up your macaroni and cheese? Well, you can certainly do that easily. This dish is very accepting of additional flavors.

Onion or garlic powder come to mind right away. Another spice that you probably have in your pantry that would be nice is Italian seasoning. Very good!

Want to really spice it up. Add chili powder or even red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

More Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese Additions

Would you like some more substantial additions? Just use your imagination. Most anything you can think of can be added.

Some of my favorites are crumbled cooked bacon or diced ham. Just a little goes a long way! The dish will still be cheap.

I also like chopped veggies. Especially steamed broccoli. But almost any veggie would work.

You can make a meatier version by adding canned tuna or browned hamburger meat. The sky is almost the limit to things you can add. Like I said, just use your imagination.

What Goes Well With Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

A lot of people consider mac and cheese a meal. I’m not one of those people. I like a little something alongside.

Since the macaroni is a starch and the cheese is a protein you don’t really need much. I rarely have meat with it. Sometimes fried chicken but not always.

One of my favorite meals is creamy mac and cheese, glazed carrots and green beans cooked with salt pork. The glazed carrots contribute something sweet to the meal and the green beans add a salty taste.

Great combination!

Another great combo is just a green salad and toasted garlic bread. This is in line with people that consider mac and cheese a main dish!

Give the recipe a try and I think you’ll be happy with it. It doesn’t really matter if you’re one of those people that likes macaroni and cheese as a stand-alone meal, or if you like other sides with it.

The boxed stuff just can’t compete with this Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe!


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