Quick and creamy, this stovetop mac and cheese recipe will be a go-to for years to come!
Why buy the blue box of pre-packaged mac and cheese when it is SO easy to make homemade stovetop mac and cheese? This recipe delivers creamy cheesy flavor in no time at all!
Mac and Cheese Love
One of the simple pleasures of life, mac and cheese brings a smile to faces young and old alike!
It’s quick to prepare and is made with a few pantry staples making it the perfect weeknight staple!
Ingredients & Variations
One of the great things about stovetop mac and cheese is that it can be customized! All great mac and cheese recipes have two basic things: pasta and cheese.
Pasta: Mac & cheese noodles are traditionally macaroni, but why not try these alternatives:
- egg noodles, penne, rotini, shells
Cheese: Cheddar is the go-to choice in this recipe, the sharper the cheese, the more flavor it will have!
- Other additions: White cheddar, havarti, Monterey jack,
- Toss in a handful of bleu cheese crumbles with the cheddar for a slightly tangy flavor! So good!
Do not use pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, it does not melt well.
Veggies: Mac and cheese also lend itself well to the addition of veggies!
- Frozen mixed veggies, steamed broccoli or cauliflower
- Sliced mushrooms
- Rotel tomatoes or salsa (or even a can of tomato soup)
Even mini meatballs or bacon crumbles can be delicious additions!
How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Stovetop mac and cheese is great because it’s ready faster than the baked version.
- Mix together a bit of the evaporated milk and seasonings (per recipe below), set aside.
- Boil macaroni noodles in water and remaining evaporated milk until tender. Do not drain.
- Slowly add remaining ingredients, mixing slowly until the cheese is melted.
Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
For the Cheese Sauce:
This macaroni is boiled directly in the milk/water mixture. The amount of liquid needed can vary based on the type of pasta and even varies from brand to brand. Add more water 1/4 cup at a time if needed until the noodles are tender.
Before you add the cheese in, you will want to make sure there is some liquid in the bottom of the pot (image below) before you add the cheese as this is what creates the sauce.
Tips for Creamy Mac and Cheese
Just a few simple tips to make the best stovetop mac and cheese recipe ever!
- To get it as creamy as it can get, stir slowly and gently so as not to break up the noodles.
- Using evaporated milk will produce creamier results over regular milk.
- Good quality cheese is the star of this recipe! The smaller the shred the easier it will melt.
- If possible, avoid pre-shredded cheese – this type of cheese has additives to prevent it from sticking that cause the cheese to not melt properly and the sauce to become grainy.
- A dash of white pepper before serving will bring together all the flavors!
Fave Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Velveeta Mac and Cheese
- Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Baked Mac and Cheese
- Homemade Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
- Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
- 15 Minute Mac and Cheese
- Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
Did you enjoy this creamy Stovetop Mac & Cheese? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 3 ⅔ cups water plus extra as needed
- 12 ounces evaporated milk
- 3 cups elbow macaroni or short pasta
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese grated
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Bring water, evaporated milk and seasonings to a boil.
- Add macaroni and simmer stirring frequently until the macaroni is tender, 12-14 minutes. Add additional water ¼ cup at a time if needed. Ensure you have liquid in the bottom of the pot to make the sauce.
- Once macaroni is tender, remove from the heat and stir in cheese a bit at a time until melted.
- Stir in butter and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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