You’ll never want macaroni and cheese in a box again once you try this easy Stove Top Mac and Cheese! It’s perfectly creamy, with no roux and it comes together in just one pot!

Stove top mac and cheese in a white bowl

**This recipe was originally published in October 2016. I’ve simplified the recipe, and updated the photos.

Growing up, my mom always made homemade baked mac and cheese, so I had never tried the boxed varieties until my 20’s when my then roommate introduced me to it.

While I didn’t think it was great, it was just too convenient to pass up.

I’ve made my share of healthier macaroni and cheese from a box for my own kids over the years until I discovered how easy it is to make homemade Stove Top Mac and Cheese.

It’s nothing short of a revelation!

One pot mac and cheese in a white bowl with linen

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • This stove top mac and cheese is ultra creamy, cheesy and delicious!
  • It takes only 4 ingredients, and comes together in just one pot.
  • It can be lightened up by using skim milk and either less cheese or low fat cheese, or make it whole grain by using whole grain pasta.
  • It’s easily customizable with a combination of your favorite cheeses, and can be changed up by adding hot sauce, veggies or topping with breadcrumbs or bacon.

Recipe ingredients

There are only 4 ingredients in this one pot mac and cheese, and one is a secret ingredient that makes it ultra creamy!

Stove top mac and cheese ingredients

Ingredient notes

  • Pasta. Use your favorite shape pasta for this recipe! Classic elbow macaroni, penne, mini shells and pipe regate are all great options. Make it whole grain by using whole grain pasta!
  • Milk. Whole milk makes the cheese sauce nice and rich. Make it even richer by using heavy cream or half and half, or lighten it up with skim milk.
  • Cheese. I used mild cheddar cheese in this recipe, but you can use your favorite grated cheese in this recipe. Pro tip: For ultra creamy mac and cheese, it’s best to grate your own cheese. Pre-grated cheese has preservatives to keep it from sticking together, which affects its meltability.
  • Cream cheese. This is a secret ingredient that makes this mac and cheese really smooth and creamy. Nobody will know it’s there, but they’ll notice a difference! It may be omitted if you don’t have any on hand.

How to make this recipe

This stove top mac and cheese couldn’t be easier to make. There is no roux in this recipe, and it comes together in one pot.

Collage with boiled milk and pasta for mac and cheese
Collage with pasta in pot before and after adding cheese
  1. Bring the milk and water to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the pasta and salt.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese and cream cheese until smooth, then adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Spoonful of creamy mac and cheese over a pot

FAQs

How do you make stove top mac and cheese?

Making stove top mac and cheese couldn’t be easier. Simply bring the milk and water to a boil, then reduce the heat slightly and add the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender and the liquid has mostly been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the grated cheese and cream cheese until smooth, and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

What cheese is best in mac and cheese?

Cheeses that melt the best are cheddar, jack, gruyere and gouda. Use your favorite or a combination! A bit of softened cream cheese is also a great addition as it makes the sauce very smooth and creamy.

How can I add flavor to mac and cheese?

There are a number of delicious ways to add flavor to mac and cheese. Use cheese with more flavor such as sharp cheddar, pepper jack or gouda, or spice it up by adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce. You can also top it with bacon or breadcrumbs, or stir in sautéed greens, pumpkin or butternut squash purée, or cooked veggies like broccoli and peas.

Recipe notes

  • Pro tip:  I recommend grating your own cheese from a block because of its meltability.  Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives to keep it from clumping together, which affects the way it melts together.
  • Substitute some or all of the cheddar cheese with your favorite!
  • Use whole wheat pasta to make this recipe whole grain.
  • Lighten up this mac and cheese by using low fat milk and/or cheese.

How to serve this recipe:

This creamy mac and cheese is the perfect side dish for almost anything you’re serving.

Below are some of my favorite ways to serve it:

One pot mac and cheese in a bowl with serving spoon

More mac and cheese recipes you’ll love:

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment and rating below, or tag me at @flavorthemoments on Instagram!

Stove top mac and cheese in a white bowl

Easy Stove Top Mac and Cheese

Easy Stove Top Mac and Cheese is creamy, cheesy and downright delicious! There's no roux, just 4 ingredients and it comes together in one pot!
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta elbow macaroni, mini shells, pipe regate are all great options
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese I used mild
  • 2 ounces cream cheese cut into 6 large cubes and softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Instructions 

  • Place the milk and water in a large sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and stir in the pasta and salt.
    Collage with boiled milk and pasta for mac and cheese
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender and the liquid has thickened and most of it has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. When the pasta is almost done, it will begin to release its starches and stick together more, so it will require more frequent stirring during the last few minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the grated cheese, cream cheese and pepper until smooth. Adjust the seasoning as desired. Enjoy!
    Collage with pasta in pot before and after adding cheese

Notes

  • Pro tip:  I recommend grating your own cheese from a block because of its meltability.  Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives to keep it from clumping together, which affects the way it melts together.
  • Substitute some or all of the cheddar cheese with your favorite!
  • Use whole wheat pasta to make this recipe whole grain.
  • Lighten up this mac and cheese by using low fat milk and/or cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 297kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 292mg, Fiber: 1g

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Tried this recipe?Mention @flavorthemoments or tag #flavorthemoments!

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