Welcome to the wonderful world of stovetop mac and cheese! This is where we take our old school mac and cheese and turn it into one of the most wonderful gooey cheesy pasta recipes ever! No hot oven, no baking – we’re gonna’ do this right on the stove.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and left turn into a simple yet decadent fantasy land full of melty cheesy pasta. This stovetop mac and cheese recipe is a combination of savory cheesy yum and simple wholesome goodness. Can you think of anything better or more comforting? Me neither.
Let’s do this!
I love that this stovetop mac and cheese recipe is a wholesome decadent rendition of the simple dish I loved as a child. My kiddos love it too and after you try this, you’ll never eat boxed mac and cheese again. Here are some other great reasons to love it!
- Simple wholesome decadence full of savory cheesy pasta
- Insanely delicious easy to make the recipe right on the stovetop
- Versatile recipe accommodates multiple cheesy flavors
- Great dinner side or quick easy lunch that please generational palates
How To Make Stovetop Mac And Cheese Recipe
Enjoying this yummy cheesy thick and creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe is an ultra-divine experience. The best part is that its pretty simple to throw together and it all happens on top of the stove. Simply boil your pasta in one pot while you make your roux in another. Add milk and cheese to your roux, whisk together the cheesy joy and pour it over your elbow pasta. DONE!
Throwing together this awesome stovetop mac and cheese recipe is a cinch. While it’s a simple wholesome recipe, there are a few tips that’ll help ensure the highest quality cheese-laden results. Here’s whatcha’ need to know.
Scrumptious stovetop mac and cheese starts with full-flavored pasta cooked just until al dente. It should still be just a little firm in the middle to avoid a mushy meltdown. You’ll also want to salt your pasta water accordingly. It will absorb salty water as it cooks, essentially flavoring your pasta from the inside out.
Also, for best results, you should remove your roux from heat while whisking in milk. Add cold milk to your hot roux, whisk until smooth and then return to the heat.
Making one pot mac and cheese is a straightforward process that only requires a few simple ingredients, namely CHEESE! This is not a stovetop mac and cheese no flour version but once you taste it you won’t care. This stovetop mac and cheese are addictingly delicious. Here’s watcha’ need.
Pasta – You’ve gotta’ have pasta for your stovetop mac and cheese! Elbow macaroni works best.
Cheese – Oh that awesome cheesy flavor! This recipe calls for sharp cheddar, but other flavors work too.
Flour – I use a little all-purpose flour to thicken up this cheesy goodness and help coat every single noodle.
Butter – Butter adds flavor and helps with the roux. I use unsalted butter but add salt later so it can perform like I want it to. Adding salt in the right proportions actually enhances flavor and umami.
Milk – You’ll need some milk to craft creamy cheesy goodness and wholesome nutrition.
Seasoning – A savory blend of salt, pepper, dry mustard and tobacco coaxes out some intense crave-worthy flavor.
When you combine wholesome ingredients like these, you can’t get anything but awesome!
Storing this southern stovetop mac and cheese is as easy as hiding it in the back of fridge where people can’t find it! Just kidding – not really.
This recipe keep best in a covered container with a secure lid. I don’t recommend Ziploc bags for this one because you’ll lose part of the cheesy sauce when its time to reheat.
Can You Freeze This?
I don’t recommend freezing this creamy stovetop mac and cheese. Pasta can be unpredictable in the freezer and this stovetop mac and cheese recipe can turn grainy upon thawing (because of the flour). Some mac and cheese recipes can technically survive the freezer for 4-6 months but they require baking afterward to render their creamy cheesy consistency.
Make Ahead Tips
This scrumptious stovetop mac and cheese recipe doesn’t require much prep, or much cook time for that matter. You can use pre-shredded cheese for convenience, and it can be ready in half an hour flat. If you’ve got some time, then shred the cheese off the block.
It’ll be so much creamier because pre-shredded cheese contains cellulose and other anticaking agents that prevent it from melting smoothly.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Your stovetop mac and cheese will stay fresh and yummy in the fridge for up to 3-4 days when stored properly in an airtight container. There’s really no need to worry about it because it’ll get gobbled up way before then. You’re not likely to have leftovers unless you’re the only one eating!
There are so many crazy awesome things you can do with this stovetop mac and cheese recipe it’ll blow your mind! Here are just a few of the most popular suggestions.
Can I Add More Cheese?
Oh yeah, baby! You can easily turn this stovetop mac and cheese into 3 cheese mac and cheese or even 5 cheese mac and cheese, depending on your cheesy tolerance and maybe your craving! Making mac and cheese with cream cheese helps add even more creamy decadence – if you can handle it. It’s a savory revelation.
For us old-schoolers, there’s always the trusty Velveeta mac and cheese fall back.
What Other Ways Can I Cook This Recipe?
Preparing this recipe is easy and you get to control the creamy consistency. I know that baked mac and cheese is popular but there are other ways to make it too. You can make crock pot mac and cheese for slow cooker success or if you’re short on time, then go with instant pot mac and cheese that’s ready in a fraction of the time.
The technique will be a little different for each version.
How Do Other Famous Personalities Make Their Mac and Cheese?
This stovetop mac and cheese recipe is rich and delicious enough to rival most any recipe but there are some famous personality variations. Adding evaporated milk and eggs will give you stovetop mac and cheese Alton Brown version or you can lose the tabasco and replace the milk with half and half for the mighty stovetop mac and cheese Rachael Ray style.
Pioneer Woman mac and cheese is a very similar recipe, but it’s baked in the oven instead of being completed stovetop. Paula Deen mac and cheese include sour cream to add richness and hers is baked as well.
Can I Make This Spicy?
Let me tell you – there is a place for spicy mac and cheese! Sometimes I like to toss some hot salsa into my stovetop mac and cheese but that’s a personal preference. Making jalapeno mac and cheese will bring the heat without the salsa or you could always go with the popular chili mac version.
Can I Sneak Some Veggies?
Uh, yeah?! You’d be surprised how many ways you can sneak nutritious veggies into this wholesome stovetop mac and cheese. Making butternut squash mac and cheese adds some slightly sweet smoky undertones that are right on time. You also make cauliflower mac and cheese with that same amazing flavor and the superfood nutrition your body craves.
Stovetop Mac And Cheese
- 16 ounces elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 4 cups whole milk, more to thin sauce as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon tabasco sauce
- 3 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- In a large pot, cook the pasta in well-salted water according to package instruction.
- While pasta cooks, make the sauce. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour, salt, pepper, and mustard powder and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and slowly whisk in milk until smooth. Stir in tabasco. Place back on the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn the heat down to low and add the cheese and stir until smooth.
- When pasta is cooked, drain well and return to pasta pot. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with parsley and serve. As mac and cheese sits, sauce will thicken. Thin sauce as needed with a little extra milk
Macaroni and cheese are one of those all-American wonder foods most of us grew up on and this stovetop mac and cheese version is the Mac Daddy! It’s rich, creamy, wonderful and ready fast. Plus, there’s no need to heat up the oven.
While this is one of my favorite mac and cheese recipes, there are other good ones. Here are some you may want to try.
- Fried Mac And Cheese – A crispy crunchy coating blankets that rich cheesy goodness.
- Mac And Cheese Bites – Deliciousness you can pick up and eat with your fingers.
- Macaroni Soup – Oh yeah, you can eat it with a spoon!
- Southern Mac And Cheese – A baked rendition of rich cheesy Southern comfort food.
- Mac And Cheese Casserole – Decadent cheesy bliss strong enough to be a main course.
Stovetop mac and cheese is a quick easy meal that honestly tastes like you spent all day in the kitchen. It’s pleasing enough for generational palates and stick-to-your-ribs good enough for the heartiest appetites. Simple as it is to make, this recipe has a flavor that’ll make grandma proud and hook you from first bite.
Source: Cook’s Illustrated