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a bowl of creamy stovetop mac and cheese
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5 from 30 votes

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This is hands down the best  stovetop mac and cheese! This is my go-to and my families favorite!  It's has amazing flavor with a silky, ultra creamy cheese sauce. Made with simple ingredients like, cheese, butter, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard and a just a bit of onion powder.  It's perfect for a quick weeknight meal. The best mac and cheese!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword stovetop mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Author April


  • 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. 



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.