Get ready to indulge in a pot of Creamy Mac and Cheese that is made on the stovetop and ready to eat in less than 20 minutes. Say goodbye to the box mix and hello to the best creamy mac and cheese recipe!
Do you love mac and cheese? It's a classic comfort food that has been enjoyed for generations with so many different versions. Whether you have grown up on the blue boxes of Kraft, a creamy Velveeta mac and cheese, or a homemade version, this pasta dish is so easy.
Normally, I make this homemade mac and cheese recipe, but it takes a little longer because it is baked. I decided to solve that time issue by creating an easy and creamy stovetop mac and cheese from a few different ingredients we had on hand.
Why This is the Best Mac and Cheese
Trust me when I say this will be your go-to mac and cheese recipe from now on.
- Quick and easy - This simple pasta recipe is ready from start to finish in 20 minutes!
- No baking required - No need to heat up the oven because this dish is made right on your stovetop.
- Ultra creamy - It has the smoothest and richest cheese sauce you can imagine making you feel warm and cozy.
It's the perfect comfort food meal for chilly nights or a delicious side dish for potlucks or cookouts.
This creamy mac and cheese recipe is easy to make with your favorite pasta and a homemade cheese sauce. Measure all your ingredients ahead of time, so you are ready to dump and stir quickly.
- Pasta - We usually use elbow noodles to get that traditional mac and cheese look.
- Butter and Flour - Combine these two together to create a roux that will thicken the liquid. We like to use unsalted butter, then adjust the salt to taste later.
- Milk - Any variety of milk will work but for a creamier mac and cheese, use a higher fat content.
- Greek Yogurt - The secret ingredient to the creamy cheese sauce. You can use sour cream instead.
- Cheese - A combination of freshly shredded cheddar cheese, Velveeta cheese, and Parmesan cheese makes this dish the creamiest and cheesiest pasta.
- Seasonings - Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground mustard powder add plenty of flavor.
BruCrew Tip: The best mac and cheese uses freshly shredded cheese. Pre-packaged shredded cheese has a coating on it that keeps it from sticking together. That coating can prevent it from melting well and can add a graininess to the sauce.
How to make Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
This creamy mac and cheese recipe is easy to make with three kinds of cheese, Greek yogurt, and a béchamel sauce.
Step 1. Make a roux. Melt the butter in a large pot. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir it in. Cook for one minute, then whisk in milk slowly. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce. Remove from the heat.
BruCrew Tip: Boil and drain the noodles to al dente while the cheese sauce is cooking.
Step 2. Stir in ingredients. Add the yogurt, cheeses, and seasonings and stir until melted and creamy.
Step 3. Add noodles. Run hot water over the cooked noodles and drain again. Add to the cheese sauce and stir until coated.
Step 4. Rest before serving. Let the homemade mac and cheese rest for a few minutes, so it thickens slightly before serving.
In the Refrigerator - Store leftovers immediately in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To Reheat - Stir in a little bit of milk and reheat in a pan over low-medium heat until it reaches your desired temperature. Make sure to stir it often.
Tips and Variations
Follow our easy tips and tricks so you can make and enjoy the best creamy macaroni and cheese.
- Change up your pasta. Use any other types of pasta you prefer such as shells, bowtie, or rotini. Be sure to follow the package suggestions on how long to cook it for al dente.
- Vary your shredded cheese. Smoked gouda, mozzarella, and Monterey jack work well in creamy mac and cheese. Feel free to get creative and use your favorite.
- Shred your cheese. Pre-shredded cheese has a coating on it to keep it from clumping in the bag. This also can make it taste a little grainy when melted. You can avoid this by shredding your own cheese.
- Add some protein. This homemade mac and cheese is so versatile. You can add protein such as chicken, pork, ham, bacon, and sausage to it.
- Baked macaroni and cheese. Spoon half the mixture into a baking dish and top with 1 cup shredded cheese. Repeat layers and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and broil a few minutes to get a crusty cheese topping.
This homemade creamy mac and cheese can be served as a main course for dinner or as a side dish for cookouts and picnics. It also goes with any type of meat that you like. Here are a few of our favorites to serve with mac and cheese.
- Chicken Sliders
- Honey Barbecue Meatballs
- Cajun Shrimp Burgers
- BBQ Chicken Quesadillas
- Pulled Pork Wrap
There are so many things to add to it. Drizzle it with your favorite hot sauce. Add your favorite protein like bacon, chicken, pulled pork, or ham.
Load it with veggies like peas, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes. Top it with extra cheese and bread crumbs and bake for a crispy texture.
Yes, it reheats very well. Place it in a covered dish and refrigerate up to 4 days. Spoon the pasta into a pot over low-medium heat, add a splash of milk, and stir until creamy.
Or place it in an oven safe dish and bake until heated through. If you are making baked mac and cheese, make sure to undercook the noodles by 2 minutes.
You can freeze this macaroni and cheese recipe. Spoon the cooled pasta into a disposable foil pan, add shredded cheese, and cover tightly. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight and bake until heated through.
More Cheesy Pastas
- Chicken Supreme
- Cheesy Sausage Pasta
- Chicken Artichoke Pasta
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Chicken Lasagna Roll Ups
Love a recipe you tried from Inside BruCrew Life?
Please leave a 5 star ⭐️ rating and/or a review in the comments section further below.
*The post for creamy stovetop mac and cheese was first published October 2019. It was updated and republished March 2023.
ROGER D GREGORY, SR & JULIE E GREGORY
omg, this is the best and so easy to make. thank you
Yay! I am so glad you enjoyed it!
I agree with Paige. I used sour cream and it did make the sauce quite sour. My usual recipe is just lots marble cheese added into a white sauce with salt and pepper.
I'm so sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it. This is one of our favorites and we have made it countless times with yogurt and sour cream. Was your mixture still on the stove/heat when you added the cheeses and yogurt? I wonder if your mixture was too hot and it "curdled" the sour cream making it taste even more sour.
Can I use the velvetta cheese pouch instead? If so, would it be the same ounces as its already creamy?
Are you only substituting the Velveeta cheese? If you use the creamy pouch, it may make the finished product a little thinner.
Yes just the pouch instead of the cubes.
I haven't tried it with the pouches, so I'm not quite sure. I think it would be fine, just a little bit runnier maybe?
I used 2 of the 4oz packages, with 3/4 Cup of sour cream. Turned out delicious! Everyone loved it.
This was a no for me. The yogurt added a sourness that was not enjoyable.
Making a roux, though! I'll do that again
I'm sorry you didn't enjoy the flavor. We love this one, but everyone does have different tastes. I was reading that adding a pinch of baking soda can help to neutralize the acid present in the sauce making it less sour tasting.
Best Mac and cheese ever! I will never use another recipe again. I used fresh grated Tillamook white cheddar and 3 other speciality cheeses. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was wondering if cream cheese could be substituted for the Greek yogurt?
I've never tried it with cream cheese. I feel like it would be too thick. You could do sour cream instead of the yogurt.
That was the best max and cheese. I have tried Mac and cheese so many times and it’s never creamy. The velveta and fresh graded cheese is a must. Thank you for sharing. Definitely my go to max and cheese recipe.
I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the mac and cheese. It's one of our favorite pastas!
Best Mac n cheese I’ve ever made! This will be my lifetime recipe! I used stonybrooke organic yogurt and it didn’t leave a yogurt taste. It was sooo creamy and perfect!!
I am planning to make this for Christmas. However could I omit the Velveeta cheese as I’ve not seen it anywhere where I live. Or perhaps could it be substituted with other cheese? Hope to hear a reply. Thanks!
Most stores have it in the pasta aisle. Did you look there too? If you still can't find it, I would add a little more milk and shredded cheese until it is the consistency you like.
I live in Malaysia ? don't think I've seen it here. Great I will do as you've suggested! Looking forward to making this 🙂
My daughter is allergic to yogurt. Is there something else I could use?
Is she able to have sour cream? If so, that is a great sub for the yogurt.
I used the sour cream substitute as I didn’t have yogurt and it was excellent.
Hello! Just made this, and it was absolutely delicious! One issue...the sauce seemed a little grainy, and not smooth like Mac & cheese would normally be...any thoughts on where I went wrong? I whisked sauce on medium, and everything was perfectly mixed, before adding pasta. Either way, I will make this again...SO FLAVORFUL! Thanks so much!
Hi, Christy. I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe. It's one of my son's favorites. As for the grainy texture, there are a few things that could be causing it. Is it grainy before or after you add the cheese? If before, it may be that the flour needs to cook a little longer on a little, lower temperature. I also read that heating up the milk before whisking it into the flour mixture can help, although I never do that. If the sauce is grainy after adding the cheese, it can be from the type of cheese. Do you use bagged shredded cheese or do you shred a block? Bagged cheese has a coating on it to keep it from sticking, so it melts differently than fresh grated cheese. Another factor can be the brand of block and grated cheese you buy. I tend to buy a better, pricer cheese when making things like this recipe. I hope some of that is helpful, and that the next batch is creamier for you. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
Oh goodness, thank you for your response! The graininess came in after the cheese...and I DID use a bag of pre-shredded, b/c it’s what I had on hand. I usually grate myself, so that’s probably what happened! I will go with a good block, and try again...it is DELICIOUS! Thanks so much again...Happy Holidays! Christy
The yogurt measurement is just too much. It overpowers the taste of the cheese. It’s creamy and delicious. My youngest just don’t like the yogurt after taste. ?
I'm so sorry you didn't care for the taste of this mac and cheese. Feel free to cut the yogurt down to 1/2 cup and see if that makes the taste better for you. Our family loves this particular recipe the way it is written, but I realize everyone has different tastes. Keep me posted if you try it again.
I agree. It tastes like yogurt with a little cheese in it. I regret not using half of the amount.
I'm so sorry you didn't enjoy it. Did you use plain Greek yogurt? I personally think it tastes just like sour cream. I've made this multiple times using both of those and it always tastes super cheesy!
This looks amazing! I think some of you additions will make a flavor difference
Just made your recipe, with all ingredients. I must say that the greek yogurt gives it a delicious flavor so much that my kids, who don't like yogurt, couldn't even tell. Delicious. Thank you.
My kids (17 & 13) and I love this! We are eating it as I type. (I know, no phones at the table!)
I didn't have Greek yogurt so used sour cream but did have everything else.
Thank you for a great stove top Mac & Cheese recipe!
What is the ground mustard for?
You add it to the pasta for a little bit of flavor. The instructions say "seasonings" and that is when you add it. I hope you enjoy the mac and cheese!