Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese is the perfect one pot dinner for busy weeknights. Best of all, this creamy mac and cheese is packed with 4 favorite cheeses and is ready in under 30 minutes! Plus recipe video.
Photos updated October 2017 from original June 2014 post
This Stovetop Creamy Macaroni and Cheese is a simple recipe that’s ready in under 30 minutes. The best part is, you can ditch the blue box version and everything cooks up on the stovetop.
For a truly ONE POT version where the pasta cooks with the cheese, you can check out the recipe for my One Pot Macaroni and Cheese. And stay tuned for a super creamy slow cooker and Instant Pot version coming soon.
Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
What I love about this stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe is that it’s pretty forgiving.
You’re going to boil the pasta until just before al dente (about 6 minutes) and drain. Next, you add all the other ingredients into that same heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven, and stir until you get a creamy cheese sauce.
You can use any combination of your favorite cheeses. I used:
- sharp cheddar
- cream cheese
- Provolone (for that extra gooeyness factor)
Feel free to mix it up. Gruyere, Swiss, Montery Jack, gouda, Parmesan, Asiago or Pecorino would also be great!
Finally, add the cooked macaroni back into the pot and stir to combine.
This macaroni and cheese is also the perfect vessel for cleaning out the fridge of any odds and ends you have.
You can easily add in your favorite chopped vegetables or protein (chicken, sausage or bacon) to make it a complete meal.
And of course, you are still totally free to bake or broil this in the oven for a few minutes if you prefer that extra crunchy baked topping.
Cheesy, creamy and the ultimate comfort dish.
How to Make Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (RECIPE VIDEO)
Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese + Video
- 2 1/4 cups elbow macaroni uncooked
- 7 tablespoons butter
- 7 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk whole milk works best, plus more as needed later to thin out the sauce as needed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus to taste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce optional
- 1 2/3 cups sharp cheddar freshly grated works best
- 2/3 cups mozzarella cheese freshly grated works best (can also use Swiss, Montery Jack, gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino instead)
- 6 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes (can also use Swiss, Montery Jack, gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino instead)
- 2 slices of Provolone cheese for that extra gooeyness factor - leave out if desired
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- Toasted Panko crumbs for garnish (optional)
- Bacon bits
- Smoked Paprika
- Red Pepper Flakes for a kick of heat
- Bring a large heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes, or until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Rinse and wipe down the same pot and melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and continue to whisk and cook for 1 minute to create a roux. Whisk about 2/3 cup of milk and continue whisking - it will thicken up pretty quickly.
- Continue to whisk in remaining milk until smooth. Then add salt, black pepper and seasonings. Turn heat to low and stir in the cheddar, Mozzarella and cream cheese. Add drained macaroni, top with Provolone and stir to coat evenly. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings by adding more salt, black pepper and other seasonings to taste. Add more milk as needed for a creamier sauce.
- Stir in toasted panko crumbs or any optional add-ins and serve immediately with fresh parsley. (Or feel free to toss under the broiler or in the oven for a few minutes for an extra crunchy crust).
**Feel free to use any combination of cheese you like or just use all ONE cheese if that's what you prefer. I would suggest extra sharp cheddar or something with more flavor and bite if only using ONE cheese.
**Best enjoyed on the first day. Store in a tight covered container. Reheat leftovers on low heat and stir in extra milk as needed for a creamier consistency.
More easy comfort food: