Best EVER Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

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Did you know you can make creamy, rich, and saucy stovetop macaroni and cheese from scratch in the same amount of time it takes to cook boxed macaroni and cheese?

And I’m happy to say that this pasta is definitely better than the boxed macaroni and cheese that used to be in my pantry.

creamy stovetop mac and cheese

creamy stovetop mac and cheese

I’ve tried countless macaroni and cheese recipes over the years, but never found one that I really liked. However, this recipe is foolproof and comes out wonderfully creamy every time.

I’m so happy to have a new favorite dinner and the kids are really looking forward to it. I’ve made this creamy macaroni and cheese at least 6 times over the past few months and I absolutely love it.

The recipe below is a loose adaptation of a macaroni and cheese recipe I found. cookie and kate. The spices here are a game changer. Garlic, onion, ground mustard, and a pinch of cayenne pepper make a nice change.

Everyone has their own opinion on the best macaroni and cheese recipe. To me, the best macaroni and cheese is as creamy as possible.

Many people love baked mac and cheese, but I’ve been a lifelong fan of eating mac and cheese on the stove.

Homemade Mac & Cheese is a favorite of kids and adults alike!

Mac & cheese with fresh cream

Want to make this even easier? Or do you want to skip the flour step? Replace milk with additional heavy cream (1 1/2 cups total heavy cream). Omit the flour. Just steam the cream and spices to warm them up and add the cheese as directed in the recipe.

Alternatively, you can omit the cream in the macaroni and cheese, but that’s not how I like to make it. Fresh cream adds a richness that cannot be imitated with milk and flour alone.

Close up photo of cheesy macaroni in a blue bowl

gluten free mac and cheese

This recipe can be made gluten-free by substituting brown rice flour and GF pasta. It’s delicious, but to be 1000% honest, it’s not as creamy as the traditional recipe. In this case, GF pasta and flour are simply not equivalent.

If you want a thinner pasta sauce, add an additional drop or two of milk (up to 1/4 cup) to thin it out nicely.

Place a whisk in a metal pan and mix the cream and spice mixture until completely combined

Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • dried pasta
  • whole milk
  • heavy cream
  • all purpose flour
  • Garlic powder, dry mustard, onion granules, cayenne pepper
  • Shredded cheddar, pepper jack, or Monterey jack cheese
  • salt and pepper
Create an incredibly smooth and creamy cheese sauce in just minutes.

Stovetop mac and cheese recipe

In a large pot (This one Pasta is my favorite! ), bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Bring water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt (trust me, salted water makes a big difference when boiling pasta).

Add pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente, being careful not to overcook it. The pasta should still have some chew to it. Drain and do not rinse.

Add half the milk and cream to the same pot as the pasta and heat over medium heat. In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk remaining milk and cream with flour and spices. Whisk until smooth.

Creamy Stove Top Mac and Cheese tastes so much better than the box!

When the milk starts to steam (not boil!) on the stove, add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the milk thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to melt. Once all the cheese has melted, remove from heat. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Taste and add salt only if needed.

Add your favorite toppings if desired.

Homemade mac & cheese with pulled pork

mac and cheese add-in

Pulled pork mac and cheese is my family’s favorite. I always have a stash of pulled pork in the freezer, especially for macaroni and cheese. There’s something appealing about a forkful of cheesy pasta and tender pulled pork with tangy barbecue sauce. I just love it.

Broccoli is also a popular addition to macaroni and cheese at my house. Even my kids, who don’t really like broccoli, enjoy eating it when I drizzle it with cheese sauce and mix it into this macaroni and cheese. (Who wouldn’t?)

Truffle oil, yes I made it and it’s amazing! Creamy and rich, Truffle Mac & Cheese is a stylish take on the ultimate comfort food. If you haven’t experienced this wonder, you’re missing out and I can’t recommend it enough.

Creamy mac & cheese topped with BBQ pulled pork is a dinner favorite.

Once again, Best Ever Taco Meat often appears mixed into macaroni and cheese. Cooked and crumbled bacon is always a popular topping. (We cook our bacon in the oven, which is the best way to make bacon easy!)

Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable to add to cheesy pasta. Slice it thinly and fry it in a frying pan to soften it a little before adding it. (If you have a little more time, these roasted brussels are also great!)

What is your What do you like to add to macaroni and cheese?

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Quantity: 6 for one person

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  • Bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Bring water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt (trust me, salted water makes all the difference when boiling pasta). Add pasta. Cook the pasta until al dente, being careful not to overcook it. The pasta should still have some chew to it. Drain and do not rinse.

  • Add half the milk and cream to the same pot as the pasta and heat over medium heat. In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk remaining milk and cream with flour and spices. Whisk until smooth.

  • When the milk starts to steam (not boil!) on the stove, add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the milk thickens slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Add the shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon to melt. Once all the cheese has melted, remove from heat. Add the pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Taste and add salt only if needed.

Want to make this even easier? Or should you leave out the flour? Replace milk with additional heavy cream (1 1/2 cups total heavy cream). Omit the flour. Just steam the cream and spices to warm them up and add the cheese as directed in the recipe.
This recipe can be made gluten-free by substituting brown rice flour and GF pasta. It’s very tasty, but to be 1000% honest, it’s not as creamy as the traditional recipe. In this case, GF pasta and flour are simply not equivalent.

calorie: 623kcal · carbohydrates: 60g · protein: twenty fiveg · fat: 31g · Saturated fat: 19g · cholesterol: 99mg · sodium: 647mg · potassium: 282mg · fiber: 2g · sugar: Fourg · Vitamin A: 1004IU · Vitamin C: 1mg · calcium: 484mg · iron: 1mg

{First publication date January 9, 2020 – Recipe notes and photos updated March 4, 2020}

Creamy stovetop mac and cheese that tastes so much better than the box!

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