This is hands down the best creamy stovetop mac and cheese! This is my one pot go-to and my family's side dish! It's has amazing flavor with a silky, ultra creamy cheese sauce and tender macaroni cooked al dente.
Made with simple ingredients like, cheese, butter, paprika, milk, Worcestershire, mustard and a just a bit of onion powder. It's perfect for a quick weeknight meal. The best macaroni and cheese!
Once you try this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, you’ll kick your boxed version to the curb! It's so easy and delicious. It's one of my "in a rut" quick and easy recipes!
The flavor combination in this homemade one pot mac and cheese makes it very irresistible! I've tried tons of different recipes like this and I find that seasonings and the right type of cheese truly makes it delicious. This recipe makes a creamy but not gloppy or heavy mac and cheese.
There are tons of ways to make this and everyone seems to have a special way of making their own. For this version, I like to use my favorite ground seasonings and a variety of cheese.
This dish moves quickly, so make sure you have all your ingredient measured and ready to go! In the next paragraph, I will show you how to make this super tasty stovetop mac and cheese.
How do you make stovetop macaroni and cheese?
I love to make this the old fashioned way. Firstly, boil the water and salt it then add the macaroni but feel free to use any type of macaroni but the cooking time may vary.
I used regular elbow macaroni to make this dish. Drain and set to the side. Secondly, in the same large pot over medium heat, add the butter and melt it.
Thirdly, add the flour and cook stirring constantly for about 5-8 minutes. Make sure you cook for the recommended timeframe. I usually cook mine for about 5-8 minutes. Before I forget, the flour and butter mixture is called a "roux". Cook the roux very well.
To often I hear stories about peoples mac and cheese tasting like flour. You ever taste mac and cheese that tasted floury? Well, the floury taste comes from flour that was not cooked long enough. So most importantly, make sure you cook that flour taste away!
Next, add the milk to the flour and butter mixture. Stir constantly until the milk is thickened about 5 minutes. Next, add the cheese and preserved pasta water. Mix well stirring constantly for about 2-4 minutes.
Add in the seasonings and mix well. Lastly, add in the cooked and drained macaroni. Stir to combine. Garnish with parsley or chives if you like.
I've added two photos of how I garnish my mac and cheese. The first picture above with chives and the one below with parsley. You know what would make this mac and cheese even better, breadcrumbs?
Sometimes I'll brown some bread crumbs that were cooked for 3 minutes in butter with a bit of salt. Then once the bread crumbs are nice and browned, I top the mac and cheese with them.
So delicious. I got that tip from America's Test Kitchen. FYI, the photos below may look a bit different and that's because they were taken on different days.
What kind of spices do you add to macaroni and cheese?
Seasonings are a great way to add more flavor to your macaroni and cheese. I grew up eating lots of macaroni and cheese. The boxed kind, stovetop mac and cheese and the baked version.
For this recipe, I used paprika, onion powder, a couple small pinches of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, a bit of spicy mustard and parsley.
What goes well with Mac and Cheese?
Stovetop mac and cheese can be eaten as side or a main. We love to have serve our stovetop mace and cheese as a main with a nice caesar salad. Sometimes I'll serve it with fried chicken and other times, with my best meatloaf. During the spring, I love to serve mac and cheese with southern fried whiting fish or these peach glazed chipotle honey sticky wings. It's also good with crispy smothered chicken with bok choy.
What type of cheese do you use for Mac and Cheese?
Some people use sharp cheddar cheese or mild cheddar cheese, mozzarella or parmesan. I'm not a fan of strong flavored cheddar so I always use a mixture of cheese.
For this recipe, I used a pack of pre-shredded triple cheddar cheese. It's a mixture of three cheeses with great flavor and it's not too strong. Yes, this pre-shredded cheese melts just fine too if you make it right.
As you can see in the how to video the cheddar cheese sauce is so silky and the elbow macaroni is super tender.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups Barilla macaroni or elbow macaroni
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ¼ tsp salt or more if needed
- 1 ¼ cup triple cheddar shredded cheese
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ tsp pepper or more if needed
- ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce add more or less
- ¼ tsp spicy mustard
- 1-2 pinch crushed red peppers up to two small pinches
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp onion powder
- In a large pot of salted boiling water cook the macaroni to al dente then drain and set to the side.
- Melt butter in the same large pot. Over medium high, stir in flour and cook for about 5-8 minutes stirring constantly. Slowly pour milk into the flour and butter mixture and stir constantly until thickened and smooth with lots of big bubbles for about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the cheese and water then stir in the seasonings. Mix well for about 2-4 minutes. Add in the macaroni. Stir to combine. Adjust seasonings if needed.
WATCH ME MAKE STOVETOP MAC AND CHEESE.Recipe Notes: Quick tip: As I stated in the body of the post, the flour and butter mixture is called a "roux". Cook the roux very well. To often I hear stories about peoples mac and cheese tasting like flour. Well, the floury taste comes from flour that was not cooked long enough. So most importantly, make sure you cook that flour taste for the recommended timeframe.
If you love this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, make sure to save it to your Pinterest board by clicking on the Pinterest share button at the top of the post. Then follow me on Pinterest . I share all kinds of mouth-watering delicious recipes.
What I really like about this recipe is how easy and simple it is - yet delicious and flavorful!. All the simple ingredients here make me truly happy - yum! 🙂
Thank you os much Mimi!
Mac and cheese are kid's favourite and you have added a wonderful twist with the addition of Worcestershire sauce and some mustard. Would definetly add more taste to the usual mac and cheese. Looks tempting
It's so good. You'd be amazed. Just a bit of the Worcestershire sauce and mustard makes a big difference in flavor. We love it! Thank you Renu!
Maman de sara
I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like Mac and cheese. The add of mustard in your recipe sounds great, I can’t wait to try it.
I've never successfully made Mac & Cheese before, it always goes grainy. Maybe this is the recipe to finally break it for me! Can't wait to try!
Hope you can try it! Thank you!
Nothing compares with a home-made mac and cheese. Your recipe looks absolutely amazing, my kids would love me forever to make this today for them 😀😋
I have been craving mac and cheese and having a recipe you can make on the stove is a plus. Plus, I love the good old elbow macaroni.
My kids love mac and cheese but I really don't like making the kind in the box. I'm excited to try your family's favorite mac and cheese recipe in hopes my kids will fall in love too.
I never really liked boxed mac and cheese. Homemade stovetop mac and cheese is soooo much better!
This Mac and cheese look soooo good. I like that you added the Parmesan to it and the mustard. I like to usually choose mustard powder. Pinning!
Thank you so much Tynia!
Mac n Cheese is the ultimate comfort in my books and yours looks amazing. I like that you add a little parmesan cheese, that always adds a little savoriness. I love this is made on the stove top and no waiting for it to bake, LOL.
Thanks Debbie! I love adding parmesan to this mac and cheese. Super good!
This looks so decadent and creamy, I just want to dive right in! I love the splash of Worcestershire and mustard in this. Fantastic recipe all around and I can't wait to try it!
A splash of the Worcestershire makes a huge difference! Thank you Jenni!
I love macaroni and cheese. What a great comfort food, and this one looks so delicious!
This recipe seems so simple, yet so flavorful! I wish I was on Mac N Cheese duty for my family's Christmas eve party because I would definitely be bringing this!
Yum and mouthwatering. I have never had Mac and cheese, somehow I did not like the shape of the pasta that goes, but after seeing your pics, I am loving this. Drooling over this. Awesome.
I've yet to find a person who doesn't like Mac and Cheese! But then there are grades of Mac and Cheese. You can go from the ordinary to the gourmet. I really like the flavors you've given the dish -- the mustard and spices from ordinary to unforgettable. Great recipe.
Your mac n'cheese looks awesome, I can see why you're such a fan! I might try out your recipe myself