Stovetop mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! This macaroni dish is cooked in a creamy sauce and finished off with grated sharp cheddar. All of this magic is made in only one pot, so no extra dishes needed! Say bye to boxed mac and cheese because the moment you have this you will never go back.
Homemade one pot mac and cheese, the ultimate American comfort food! I mean can you believe I never had mac and cheese until I moved here!
Actually, I tried boxed mac and cheese that my aunt brought with her to Algeria and fell in love immediately. So you can imagine how mind-blown I was when I tried the real thing after moving here. Of course, after that, I had to learn how to start making it at home because a girl just gotta satisfy her cravings quickly when they hit!
This is the best one-pot mac and cheese
That’s why this recipe came about, it is an easy recipe that can be made on the stove top in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for someone that had just moved to America.
now years later, I still love this recipe and decided that it was time to share it with everyone, just in time for family cookouts and eventually thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas dinner. (Yup, this recipe is so versatile!)
Why you need to make this recipe!
- An easy weeknight recipe
- The perfect side dish
- Ready in less than 30 minutes
- The ultimate comfort food
- So so versatile!
Ingredients for this stovetop mac and cheese
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this macaroni and cheese. Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full detailed ingredient measurements.
- Macaroni pasta- To keep this dish more basic and on the traditional side, I used elbow pasta but you can use any small pasta that you have on hand. A good other option is penne pasta or even shells.
- Butter– You can use either salted or unsalted butter. They both will work great.
- Milk– You can use full-fat milk or 2% milk for this recipe.
- Heavy cream- The heavy cream will keep our mac and cheese extra creamy.
- Flour– You can use regular all-purpose flour for this. It will help thicken the mac and cheese slightly.
- Sharp cheddar– The sharper the better to give it as much flavor as possible. It’s better to grab a block of sharp cheddar and grate it yourself because most of the pre-shredded cheeses have this coating on them that will affect the texture of your mac and cheese.
- Salt, pepper, nutmeg & ground mustard– These spices are usually to taste and this is how my family liked this mac and cheese. If you prefer to make this recipe without feel free.
How to make one-pot mac and cheese
This is how you can make this super easy mac and cheese. Make sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the full detailed instructions!
- Melt the butter in a large pot then add in the flour and stir to combine.
- Pour in the water, and cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly.
- Add in the milk and heavy cream, stir to combine then add in the macaroni pasta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ground mustard.
- Cook the pasta in the milk mixture for 9-10 minutes, making sure to stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
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How to store this homemade mac and cheese
This recipe can be made in advance and store in an aritight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I would not recommend freezing the mac and cheese as it would change its texture completely.
Can stovetop mac & cheese be reheated or made in advance?
Yes! You can easily reheat this pasta dish in the microwave or on the stovetop on low heat. Just make sure to add a few spoonfuls of milk before reheating to bring the mac and cheese texture back to that luscious, cheesy, creamy texture that we all love.
Mac and cheese mix-in ideas
Here are a few of my favorite cheese pasta mix ins:
- Grilled chicken
- Cooked shrimp
- Roasted veggies
- Caramelized onions
- Buffalo sauce
Feel free to get creative and add in whatever you think would taste good. Let me know in the comments if what you add in!
Tips for the perfect pasta dish
- Get creative– Mac and cheese is such a simple dish that you can really get super creative with it and come up with something completely different. Check out the mac and cheese mix in ideas above to get some ideas of what to add to your mac and cheese next.
- Use any noodles you have– Preferably smaller noodles so that the cooking time is similar to the one I have for this recipe.
- Try as hard as possible to shred your own cheese– Shredding your own cheese will ensure that the texture of your mac and cheese is as good as can be. Since many pre shredded cheeses have this preservative coating on them
- Stir your pasta frequently to avoid it from sticking and help it cook evenly
Frequently asked questions – FAQ
Can I use pre-shredded cheese to make this one-pot mac and cheese?
Yes and no. I say this because most of the store-bought shredded cheeses have some sort of mix-in to keep them from clumping altogether. Usually potato starch, natamycin, or powdered cellulose, or a mix to be honest. These additives will affect the way your final macaroni and cheese turns out.
So it’s always best to grate the cheese yourself for the best texture. I have made this recipe with both grated cheese and block cheese that I grated myself and they both taste amazing nonetheless.
Can I use other cheese to make mac and cheese?
Usually traditional mac and cheese uses a good quality sharp cheddar but I love going a little crazy with my cheeses when it comes to mac and cheese because I’m a little cheese crazy.
You can try a combination of cheeses or go with something else completely. A few of my favorite options are gouda, gruyere, mimolette, fontina, mozzarella, asiago cheese… When choosing a different cheese to use in your mac and cheese, make sure it is a cheese that melts well… after that, the sky is the limit!
Can you bake stovetop mac and cheese?
You definitely can. The beauty of this stovetop mac and cheese is that it can be served right way or can also be topped with buttery toasted bread crumbs and baked to perfection.
You can bake your stove top mac and cheese at 350 for 10-15 minutes and then serve.
What to serve with mac and cheese?
Here are a few recipe ideas that go so well with mac and cheese:
- The Best Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Healthy Baked Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Restaurant-style Air Fried Brussel Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze
- Air Fryer Broccoli Parmesan| (low calorie, low carb, healthy snack, keto)
Easy stovetop mac and cheese
If you made these kid friendly pancake mix blueberry muffins and enjoyed them, don’t forget to leave a 5-star review by clicking on the 5 stars under the title and description. It would help me a ton
The best Stove top mac and cheese EVER!
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat then add in the flour and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in the water, and cook on medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly. This will take about 2 minutes.
- Add in the milk and heavy cream, stir to combine then add in the macaroni pasta, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ground mustard. Give it a quick stir and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to simmer.
- Cook the pasta in the milk mixture for 9-10 minutes, making sure to stir often to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add in the shredded cheese, stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy then serve immediately!
Thank you for making it all the way down here 🙂
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