recipe

Stovetop Mac and Cheese: the quick, easy main dish for a classic American comfort food

Total time: 25 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist
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Who doesn’t love a bowl of creamy, smooth stovetop mac and cheese? This easy macaroni and cheese is a quick, easy, and rich comfort food that can be made on the stovetop—no oven required!

To make it, you simply cook the macaroni, make the cheese sauce, combine the two, and there you have it! A cheesy bowl of macaroni that sure hits the spot! We also have ideas for you to switch it up and make this mac and cheese your own by adding more meat or veg. Do you need a big bowl of comfort? Then make this mac and cheese, you won’t be disappointed!

What Is the Best Cheese for Creamy Macaroni and Cheese?

Cheese makes up a big part of this dish, so choose the best quality you can find. A sharp cheddar will work well and has great flavor.

If you want a smooth “old-school” mac and cheese dish, you can also use Velveeta or any other processed cheese.

You can also make it easier by using pre-shredded cheese.

What Is the Best Pasta for Stovetop Mac And Cheese?

Traditional mac and cheese make use of small elbow macaroni, but you can use any other pasta you have on hand (fusilli, bowties, penne, etc.).

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 How To Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Making mac and cheese on the stovetop is easier than you think.

Making The Pasta

To make the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, until al dente. This usually takes less than 10 minutes, so keep an eye on it. Do not overcook! It should still be somewhat firm to the bite.

Making The Cheese Sauce

To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and garlic powder and whisk to combine. Cook until the flour has browned slightly. Carefully pour in the milk (not all at once!), while stirring continuously.

Cook until the mixture starts to bubble slightly, then continue cooking (while stirring) until it’s smooth and thickened. Lower the heat and add the cheese. Stir and season to taste.

Combining Macaroni and Cheese Sauce

Drain the macaroni in a colander (do not rinse!) and add to the cheese sauce. Stir to make sure the macaroni is completely covered with the sauce. Serve and enjoy.

Stovetop Mac And Cheese Variations

Add a bit of cayenne pepper for a touch of heat.

Add meat like diced ham, chopped hot dogs, smoked chicken breast, cooked bacon, ham, smoked salmon, or tuna.

Make a four-cheese mac and cheese by using a four-cheese Mexican blend together.

Make it more nutritious by adding more veggies: peas, steamed broccoli, corn, sautéed mushrooms, or diced bell peppers.

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Tips For Making Easy Macaroni And Cheese

To make this easy Macaroni and Cheese gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta and gluten-free flour.

If you want, you can substitute the milk for half and half, cream, or evaporated milk.

Don’t leave out the flour, it thickens the sauce.

You can make the macaroni and cheese up to 2 days ahead of time. Transfer to a baking dish, cover with foil and refrigerate. Allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking (or add 15 minutes to the baking time).

How To Store Homemade Mac And Cheese

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

How To Reheat Creamy Macaroni And Cheese

Reheat in the microwave or oven. If the mixture looks dry, add a splash of milk or cream.

Can You Freeze Homemade Mac And Cheese?

Yes! Allow the Mac and Cheese to cool completely, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight.

Ingredients
elbow macaroni
1 8-oz box
Butter
1/4 cup
All-purpose flour
1/4 cup
Garlic powder
1/2 tsp
Whole Milk
2 cups
cheese, grated
2 cups
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the elbow macaroni according to package instructions, until al dente.

Add the flour and garlic powder in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the flour mixture and cook until it has browned slightly.

Pour in 1 cup of milk and continue to whisk. Add the remaining milk, while stirring continuously. Cook until the mixture is bubbling, and continue to stir until it’s smooth and thickened.

Lower the heat, add the cheese.

Stir until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain the cooked macaroni.

Add the elbow pasta to the cheese mixture.

Stir to make sure the macaroni is completely covered with the sauce.

Serve immediately.

Notes

This stovetop mac and cheese can also be made in the oven. Transfer the macaroni and cheese sauce to an oven-safe dish. Top with cheese and breadcrumbs and 350°F for about 15 minutes.

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