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.
This creamy mac and cheese is the best comfort food meal on chilly nights or a delicious side dish to share at potlucks or cookouts.
This creamy mac and cheese recipe is easy to make with your favorite pasta and a homemade Velveeta 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 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
- BBQ Apple Cider Ribs
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
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*The post for creamy stovetop mac and cheese was first published October 2019. It was updated and republished March 2023.