This stovetop mac and cheese is a one pot dish of tender macaroni in an ultra creamy cheese sauce. The best macaroni and cheese recipe!
There’s nothing better than homemade mac and cheese, and there are so many different ways to prepare it. I have a really great slow cooker mac and cheese that the family loves, but when we want dinner in a hurry, I turn to this stovetop mac and cheese recipe.
How do you make stovetop mac and cheese?
The great thing about this stovetop macaroni and cheese is that it can be cooked in a single pot. The pasta is simmered with milk and seasonings under tender, and then a ton of cheese gets stirred in and everything cooks until it’s smooth and melted.
I use regular elbow macaroni for this recipe. You can really use any short type of pasta, but be aware that the cook time may need to be adjusted.
What is the best cheese to use for macaroni and cheese?
Cheddar cheese is my favorite choice for macaroni and cheese. It’s flavorful, melts great and gives the mac and cheese its traditional orange color. That being said, make sure you’re using a regular mild, medium or sharp cheddar cheese and not a cheddar cheese that’s extra sharp or aged. The aged cheeses can separate when melted and you won’t get a smooth and silky sauce. I often add in small amounts of other types of cheese for extra flavor, like parmesan, jack cheese or mozzarella. For this recipe, I’ve added some mozzarella because I love the creamy flavor it adds to this dish.
What can you add to mac and cheese to make it better?
I am a purist, and I love my mac and cheese simply with the noodles and cheese sauce, with a little parsley for garnish. But there are countless ways to dress up your macaroni and cheese. Some suggestions are:
- Crumbled bacon
- Grilled chicken
- Fresh herbs
- Hot Sauce
What spices go well with mac and cheese?
Spices are a great way to accentuate the flavor of the cheese sauce. I typically add salt, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika to my macaroni and cheese. You could also use regular paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic salt, or chili powder.
What goes with mac and cheese?
I typically serve this stovetop mac and cheese as a side dish, but my kids often eat it as a main course! Here are some entree and side dish suggestions to go with your mac and cheese.
- Slow Cooker Whole Chicken
- Brown Sugar Pork Chops
- Baked Lemon Chicken
- Honey Roasted Carrots
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups water
- 3 1/2 cups milk
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour, then whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.
- Pour in the water and whisk until smooth and just thickened.
- Add the milk and whisk until combined.
- Stir in the macaroni, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and pepper, then bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done.
- Turn the heat to low, then stir in the cheeses. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.