30 minute stovetop macaroni and cheese

Easy One Pot Stovetop Creamy Macaroni and Cheese + Recipe Video

Easy, homemade Macaroni & Cheese made all in one pot in under 30 minutes on the stove.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade mac and cheese, mac and cheese recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 816 kcal


  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk whole milk works best
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 1/4 cups dry elbow macaroni uncooked
  • 1 2/3 cups sharp cheddar freshly grated (not pre-packaged)
  • 2/3 cups mozzarella cheese freshly grated (not pre-packaged)(can also use Swiss, Montery Jack, gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino instead)
  • 1 2/3 cups sharp cheddar freshly grated (not pre-packaged)
  • 6 ounces cream cheese cut into cubes (can also use Swiss, Monterey Jack, gouda, Parmesan, Asiago, or Pecorino instead)
  • 2 slices provolone cheese for that extra gooeyness - feel free to leave out
  • fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
  • toasted panko crumbs for garnish and crunch (optional)

Optional Add-Ins:

  • bacon bits
  • smoked paprika so good!
  • cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes for a kick of heat
  • Worcestershire sauce for that extra punch of flavor just a teeny-tiny splash


  1. In a large heavy pot or dutch oven, 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.
  2. Continue to whisk in remaining milk until smooth. Then add water, salt, black pepper, and seasonings.
  3. Pour in uncooked macaroni and continue stirring occasionally as it heats up and starts to boil. Lower heat and allow to cook for 11-13 minutes, stirring regularly. Once the sauce thickens and the macaroni is just cooked and tender, turn off heat and stir the cheeses in quickly. (The sauce thickens and reduces considerably after adding cheese). Remove from heat and adjust seasonings by adding more salt, black pepper, and other seasonings to taste.
  4. 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).

Recipe Notes

**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.
*This recipe is pretty forgiving as long as you continue to stir the pasta as it cooks and allow the sauce to thicken and get creamy.
* The sauce thickens ALOT after you stir the cheese in and remove from heat. Continue stirring until mixed in and creamy.

* If you take the pot off too late and the sauce becomes too thick, just add a splash of milk or water.
* If you take it off too early, just return the pot back on the stove.

Nutrition Facts
Easy One Pot Stovetop Creamy Macaroni and Cheese + Recipe Video
Amount Per Serving (1 bowl (1/6 recipe))
Calories 816 Calories from Fat 468
% Daily Value*
Fat 52g80%
Saturated Fat 32g160%
Cholesterol 156mg52%
Sodium 1187mg49%
Potassium 365mg10%
Carbohydrates 52g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 1750IU35%
Calcium 723mg72%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy using the WPRM recipe calculator. It is best to make your own calculations to ensure accuracy. We expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.