Easy Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is definitely comfort food. For some, a piping hot casserole dish pulled out of the oven sprinkled with bread crumbs is their idea mac and cheese dish. For others, like me, who were raised on boxed macaroni and cheese, prefer the stovetop method. I’ve made a couple of homemade macaroni and cheese recipes where they are baked, and while they taste good, they’re just not for me.

I tried a recipe recently for stovetop macaroni and cheese that used evaporated milk. I did not care for the flavor at all, nor did anyone in my family. Consequently it all went down the garbage disposal. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before, but this time I put together a batch of my homemade cheese sauce that I have been making for broccoli and cauliflower for years, and poured it over some macaroni elbows. Perfect!

This is delicious, and you can substitute skim milk if you like. The secret is to use your favorite type of cheese. In the recipe, I specify cheddar, but you can use American as well, low fat cheese, white cheddar, or even a Swiss.

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NOTE: This recipe makes a one pound box of elbow macaroni. You can cut all of the ingredients in half and make 1/2 box, or easily substitute the type of pasta noodles you use. Shells are a great substitution.

Easy, Creamy Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese
printable version

1 pound box dried elbow macaroni

4 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 cup milk
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Put a covered stock pot of water on to boil over high heat.

Meanwhile, over low heat melt the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. While butter is melting, measure out and combine the flour, salt, pepper, paprika, and dry mustard in a small dish or bowl. When butter has melted, add the flour mixture to the butter and use a whisk to combine to make your roux. Continue whisking and slowly add the milk, whisking to combine all the ingredients. Turn up the heat slightly (don’t go higher than medium-low) and whisking often, thicken the mixture. You may see occasional bubbles, and that’s ok, but you do not want it to boil, just to thicken. When thickened, remove from heat and add the shredded cheese, using the whisk to combine until melted and homogenous.

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Drain the macaroni (do not rinse, the starch helps the cheese stick to the noodles) and place in a large bowl. Pour cheese sauce over the macaroni and stir to coat well. Serve while hot.


  1. Sue Sparks says

    My mom's macaroni and cheese was my favorite dish when I was a child! Yours looks delicious! Such a great comfort dish:)

  2. joy the baker says

    this is absolutely gorgeous! i'm making mac and cheese this week! thanks so much for the lovely recipe!!

  3. Marie says

    Works for me Amanda! I may have to use the recipe this week, while we are in the midst of packing and moving. Looks delish!

  4. Michelle says

    Mac & Cheese is always a favorite around here and I've not made it since last fall! Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Weekend Carnivore says

    That looks pretty yummy! I bet it you combined the too and put a bit of broccoli into that it would be really good too!

  6. Leslie says

    Looks wonderful..now if I could only get my weird kids to eat Mac and Cheese! Yeah, they dont eat peanut butter and jelly either! ??? Weirdo's!

  7. kathyw says

    I was looking around for some inspiration for what to do with my leftover ham from Easter. When I saw this recipe I was so happy! I cubed the ham, added peas and shoestring carrots, used oriechette pasta and through it all in a greased casserole dish. I also added crushed ritz on top since dh isn't a big mac n cheese fan. He LOVED it—your sauce Is. So. Good. It was a perfect compliment to the smoky flavor of the ham. Thank you, now I will forever know what to do with leftover ham!

  8. Amanda says

    Thanks everyone!

    Leslie – no PBJ? LOL!

    Kathy – how awesome! I know this sounds old fashioned, but there's no better compliment of one's food than of the man of the table. :) So glad you liked it as much as we do!

  9. Kim says

    I made this today…it's wonderful! Although I love a baked macaroni and always will, sometimes it's just too darned warm to turn the oven on. This is so much better than the boxed stuff.

  10. Saffron says

    I just made this tonight for dinner and it was a huge hit! My parents and I all loved it. Thanks for the great recipe, I will definetely be keeping it around!

  11. Chris says

    Kim, this is similiar to my favorite mac & cheese recipe that I have used for years. I have tried all kinds of recipes and always come back to this one. I have to confess I use part cheddar cheese and part Velveeta. It makes a really creamy sauce!

    Love your recipes and blog!!

  12. MontessorimamaX4 says

    Thank you for this! I have used this twice..and the kids love it. It’s so simple. I just taught my 13 year old to make the cheese sauce, so many options! :-)


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