Stovetop Mac and Cheese

  • This is the easiest Stovetop Mac and Cheese ever! It’s made in one pot, ultra creamy and so cheesy. It’s so simple to make it will replace that box mac and cheese forever!

    A close up of ultra creamy and cheese mac and cheese sprinkled with black pepper and a little parsley.

    Anyone here reach for that blue box of mac and cheese more times than you care to admit?? I know I have. When I don’t have a dinner plan I have a bad habit of reaching for a box of mac and cheese.

    I don’t care for the taste of it myself but my kids and husband love it. So, I was determined to create a substitute that would replace that box of mac and cheese.

    Reasons to love this stovetop mac and cheese:

    • It’s made all in one pot. No extra pot for the cheese sauce!!
    • It’s made with easy to find ingredients…no hard to find or expensive cheeses here.
    • This mac and cheese can be made in 15 minutes and I promise it tastes so much better!
    • In fact, you will want to say goodbye to that powdered cheese forever.
    Ingredients to make the best mac and cheese ever!

    Ingredients

    PASTA: Use any short type of pasta such as elbows or small shells.

    EVAPORATED MILK: I found using evaporated milk the best for boiling the pasta and not curdling. I don’t suggest replacing it with other dairy.

    FLOUR AND BUTTER: Needed to make a roux. Don’t worry it’s super easy and doesn’t require an extra pan.

    SEASONINGS: I am using onion and garlic powder as well as a little cayenne pepper for a tiny kick. Don’t worry it’s not much and all of my kids eat it.

    CHEESE: I am using 3 types of cheese. Cheddar I use either mild or medium. I have used sharp but sometimes it turns out a little bit gritty. The second cheese is mozzarella because it melts beautifully and so smooth. The third is Parmesan. You can leave out the Parmesan if you prefer. I also HIGHLY recommend shredding your own cheese because it melts so much better.

    Three pictures showing how to make a roux then adding in the liquids and then the pasta.

    The How-To:

    MAKE A ROUX: Start by melting butter in a large saucepan then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the water and evaporated milk.

    ADD PASTA: Stir in the pasta, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. You can also season with salt and pepper if you would like. Bring to a boil and cook on a medium low heat until pasta is al dente. While the pasta is cooking I like to shred the cheese.

    CHEESE: Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cheeses until nice and smooth. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

    Three pictures showing the pasta being cooked then adding in the cheese and the final product.
    How do you store this mac and cheese?

    Once cooled store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. To reheat stir in a little extra milk to restore it’s smooth creaminess.

    Can I freeze leftovers?

    Yes, you can! Place completely cooled leftovers in a ziploc bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw completely then reheat as desired. May need to add more milk to bring back it’s smooth creaminess.

    What to serve with mac and cheese?

    Honestly there are so many options!! Any bbq, meatloaf, fried chicken, sloppy joes, Roasted Broccoli, a simple side salad just to name a few things.

    Can I make this gluten-free?

    Yes, replace the flour with a cup for cup gluten free flour and use your favorite gluten free pasta.

    A child's hands holding a bowl of mac and cheese garnished with black pepper and parsley.

    What can I add to mac and cheese as a main dish?

    There are also a lot of options here too!

    You can add sliced hot dogs (a childhood classic, right?!), cooked and chopped bacon, cooked vegetables such as broccoli or peas, leftover rotisserie chicken is always good too!

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    5 from 4 votes
    A close up of ultra creamy and cheese mac and cheese sprinkled with black pepper and a little parsley.
    Stovetop Mac and Cheese
    Cook Time
    15 mins
    Total Time
    15 mins
     

    This is the easiest Stovetop Mac and Cheese ever! It's made in one pot, ultra creamy and so cheesy. It's so simple to make it will replace that box mix forever!

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: creamy mac and cheese, one pot mac and cheese, stovetop mac and cheese
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 515 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • cups (1.06L) water
    • 1 (12 floz) (354ml) can evaporated milk
    • 1 pound (454g) uncooked elbow pasta
    • ½ teaspoon onion powder
    • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ⅛-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 3 cups (340g) shredded cheddar cheese (mild or medium)
    • 1 cup (115g) shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ¼ cup (30g) grated Parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    1. In a large pot melt the butter over medium low heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the water and evaporated milk. Stir in the pasta, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Boil over medium to medium low heat for 9 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. (while the pasta is cooking shred the cheese.)

    2. Once pasta is al dente remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. It will continue to thicken as it cools.

    Recipe Notes
    1. STORAGE: Once cooled store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. To reheat stir in a little extra milk to restore its smooth creaminess.
    2. FREEZER FRIENDLY: Place completely cooled leftovers in a ziploc bag or airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months. Let thaw completely then reheat as desired. May need to add more milk to bring back its smooth creaminess.
    3. GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Replace the flour with a cup for cup gluten free flour and use your favorite gluten free pasta.
    Nutrition Facts
    Stovetop Mac and Cheese
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 515 Calories from Fat 216
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 24g37%
    Saturated Fat 14g88%
    Cholesterol 74mg25%
    Sodium 404mg18%
    Potassium 299mg9%
    Carbohydrates 46g15%
    Fiber 2g8%
    Sugar 7g8%
    Protein 23g46%
    Calcium 471mg47%
    Iron 2mg11%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
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