Mac and Cheese

October 24, 2018

Mac and Cheese made from scratch is a million times better than a box. This macaroni and cheese is perfectly rich and creamy and it’s sure to be loved by people of all ages! This version is made on the stovetop and uses basic everyday ingredients.

Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Mac and cheese is just one of those staple recipes we all grew up eating. The version skips a powder and instead uses real shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and cream cheese for a rich and satisfying flavor.

It’s total comfort food and it pairs well with just about anything. It’s easy enough for weekday dinners but good enough to serve at holiday get togethers.

Mac and Cheese Video

 

Here’s my go-to mac recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients Needed for Mac and Cheese

  • Elbow macaroni
  • Salt
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Low-fat milk
  • Dry mustard
  • Garlic powder
  • Cream cheese
  • Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese ingredients elbows milk flour cream cheese cheddar mozzarella butter mustard garlic

How do You Make Macaroni and Cheese?

  • Cook pasta: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, boil pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
  • Make roux: while pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan (4 quart) or medium pot melt butter over medium heat then add flour, cook 1 minute whisking constantly.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese making roux in saucepan with butter and flour

  • Make sauce: While whisking slowly pour in milk, add in mustard and garlic powder. Increase heat slightly, then bring mixture to a low boil whisking constantly.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese adding milk to mixture in saucepan

  • Melt in cream cheese: Reduce heat to low add in cream cheese and whisk until melted.
  • Melt in cheddar: Remove saucepan from heat add in the shredded cheeses half at a time, and whisk to melt.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese adding cheese to mixture in saucepan

  • Returning pan to warm heat as needed to melt fully.
  • Season sauce with salt to taste.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese mixing cheese mixture

  • Toss pasta with cheese sauce, thin with pasta water a splash at a time as needed. Serve immediately.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese. Tossing cooked pasta with cheese sauce in pot.

Tips for the Best Macaroni and Cheese

  • Use a blend of cheeses for a nice combination of flavor. Here we go with cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese.
  • Don’t use pre-shredded cheese or sauce might end up grainy and gritty. Shred it yourself for a nice smooth sauce.
  • If you don’t have mustard powder substitute 1 tsp prepared mustard (regular or dijon).
  • Don’t rinse the pasta. It adds starches and helps thicken up the sauce and keeps the sauce clinging to the pasta.
  • Want a crunch topping? Try sautéing panko bread crumbs in a skillet in a little melted butter or olive oil until golden brown. Sprinkle over individual servings so it stays crisp.

Macaroni and cheese in a large pot

What Should I Serve with Mac and Cheese?

More Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love:

Mac and Cheese

4.88 from 33 votes

A rich and creamy mac and cheese the people of all ages will love! Includes three kinds of cheese - cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese. Made on the stovetop for a quick and easy side dish. Makes about 9 1-cup servings.

Servings: 9
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. dry elbow macaroni
  • Salt
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 1/3 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard, or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, diced into small pieces
  • 8 oz. extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Reserved pasta water

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, boil pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.

  2. While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan (4 quart) or medium pot melt butter over medium heat then add flour, cook 1 minute whisking constantly.

  3. While whisking slowly pour in milk, add in mustard and garlic powder. Increase heat slightly, then bring mixture to a gentle simmer whisking constantly.

  4. Reduce heat to low add in cream cheese and whisk until melted.
  5. Remove saucepan from heat add in the shredded cheeses half at a time, and whisk to melt, while returning to warm heat as needed to melt fully.

  6. Season sauce with salt to taste.

  7. Toss pasta with cheese sauce, thin with pasta water a splash at a time as needed. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts
Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 427 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 346mg15%
Potassium 235mg7%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 705IU14%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 342mg34%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Mac and Cheese
Author: Jaclyn

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98 Comments

  • JoBeth

    This was very good. I used cheeses that I had on hand – 4 oz. Velveeta, 8 oz. sharp cheddar, 2-3 oz. gruyere and 2 oz. parmigiana reggiano. I also only used 1/4=tsp of mustard. Next time I will probably use the full amount. We also like pepper in our Mac and cheese so I also added some fresh ground black pepper.

  • Lyn

    I made this dish tonight and it was hands down the best mac & cheese recipe I’ve ever tried. I just used what I had on hand which was cream cheese, 4 oz of velveeta (they now come packaged in convenient 4 oz mini sizes), and 1 1/2 cups of leftover artisan cheeses I got from Costco that I grated up. I couldn’t tell you what all they were, but together they created an AMAZING mac & cheese. I think my son polished off half the pan! The roux is the lynch pin to this recipe…so happy I found this!!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      That’s why I’ve added the jump to “recipe” button for those that want to skip through all the extra stuff :).

  • Tyler

    This was very good. Been looking for a while for a good, non-baked, M&C recipe. Thanks!

  • meg

    it was good but kind of bland. also: who does a “basic” recipe for 9??? way too large! wish you could have adjusted recipe for 1/2 that size for the average family

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry I forgot to measure the total amount but it can be done if you measure in cups or grams then divide by number of servings listed.

  • Michelle

    I’m a huge Mac and cheese fan but I just wasn’t feeling this recipe. My husband refused to eat it..

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sorry I wonder if something could have gone wrong. If you’d like more flavor you could try a different cheese for the mild mozzarella like gruyere, gouda or more extra sharp cheddar, etc. You can even replace some of the mozzarella with parmesan. This recipe is intended to be a family friendly mac and cheese people of all ages can enjoy :).

  • Chuck L

    Loved the recipe! Thank you! Yet you omitted the mozzarella from the ‘steps’. So we added at the very end and it worked out great!