this Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese The best classic comfort food made with just 5 ingredients! This homemade mac and cheese super creamy cheese sauce is ready in minutes in one pan.
Don’t miss my recipe for creamy, no-boil Crock Pot Mac and Cheese!
Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese on the Stove
Skip the boxed macaroni and cheese. This homemade version will knock your socks off! First, this recipe is super easy. You can count the ingredients with one hand and make it in one pot. Second, it might be the creamiest mac and cheese you’ll ever taste. And it only takes minutes to make!
Ok, I’ll admit, this is actually shell and cheese Be technical. But look how that silky homemade cheese sauce perfectly coats every curve and crevice in this shell pasta. Macaroni, anyone?
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
I mean, what can’t you love? Here’s the recipe for this stovetop mac and cheese.
- It can be made with 5 ingredients. All you need to make this delicious stovetop mac and cheese is a handful of basic ingredients.You probably already have them in your pantry!
- Fast and easy. From boiling the pasta to melting the cheese sauce, this recipe takes minutes on the stovetop.
- super creamy. Who could resist a bowl of pasta drenched in so much rich, creamy melted cheese? Enter my BELLY
The ingredient list is short but powerful. Below is a quick overview of what you need to make this easy mac and cheese. Details are on the recipe card.
- pasta: This recipe uses shell pasta, but you can absolutely use any type of pasta that tickles your fancy. Or kick it old school with elbow macaroni.
- Cheddar cheese: I highly recommend pairing it with mild, sharp grated cheddar to make mac and cheese. See below for details.
- evaporated milk: Also known as unsweetened condensed milk, it’s an easy shortcut to add richness to mac and cheese cheese sauces.Make sure you are using no sugar Unsweetened condensed milk containing sugar.
- egg: As with carbonara, eggs also give the sauce in this recipe a special richness.
What are the best cheeses for Mac and Cheese?
The best cheeses to use in mac and cheese are those that melt, like the two types of cheddar in this recipe.other good options are Gouda, Monterey Jack, Fontina, Parmesan cheese, or VelvitaGrating can also give the mac and cheese a more mature feel. Gruyères again Bree (Don’t forget to remove the skin beforehand). No matter how you combine these cheeses, the sauce will melt smoothly and evenly.
How to make stovetop mac and cheese
Making the perfect mac and cheese in one pan on the stove has never been easier. This classic pasta is ready in just a few easy steps.
- Cook the pasta: First, boil the pasta according to package directions.
- Prepare cheese sauce. Meanwhile, melt both cheddar cheeses together in a large saucepan with evaporated milk, eggs, and salt. Whisk the mixture frequently until the cheese is completely melted.
- mix: Drain the cooked pasta and set aside 1 cup of the pasta water (this will be used to thin the sauce). Then add the pasta to the pan with the melted cheese and stir to coat. Spoon in the reserved pasta water a little at a time to give the sauce the right consistency.
- serve: Serve immediately on a plate and dig in. See the serving suggestions below for an easy way to turn homemade mac and cheese into a cozy weekday dinner.
Tips for success
What’s the secret to the best mac and cheese? Here are some additional tips and tricks.
- Use freshly grated cheese. You may be tempted to buy a bag of grated cheese. However, for the creamiest mac and cheese possible, grate fresh cheddar from the block. Grated packaged cheese often contains a waxy additive that prevents the cheese from melting smoothly.
- Add salt to the water for boiling the pasta. Seasoned pasta water = more flavorful pasta! Throw in a tablespoon of sea salt while the pasta is boiling. Or two, don’t be shy.
- Save the pasta water. Ask any Italian, and they’ll tell you that the secret to ultra-creamy pasta is in the starchy pasta water. Diluting the cheese sauce with leftover pasta water not only adds flavor, but the excess starch adds creaminess.
- Do not overheat. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions (soft on the outside and slightly chewy in the center). Be careful not to overcook the noodles before adding to the cheese. Overcooked pasta is the number one cause of mushy mac and cheese.
Ideas for variations
Want to make your crappy Mac look fancy? Try these simple variations:
- bacon: Cooked and diced crispy bacon is a delicious addition to homemade mac and cheese.
- Plague: Mix a few spoons of pesto into the final product.Or try my recipe for pesto mac and cheese.
- Philly Cheesesteak: Make a Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese version of this recipe inspired by the famous sandwich.
- seafood: Stir in chunks of cooked lobster meat for Lobster Mac and Cheese, or take inspiration from One Pot Shrimp Pasta and add cooked shrimp.
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese: For hands-free versions, try Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.
How to serve creamy mac and cheese
Serve mac and cheese plain or top with toasted seasoned crumbs for flavor and crunch. When it comes to turning this stovetop mac and cheese into a meal, here are some equally easy side dish ideas we love.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Once the mac and cheese has cooled to room temperature, transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Stored for up to 4 days.
Reheat leftover mac and cheese on stovetop or microwave, stirring halfway through to warm.
Turn leftover mac and cheese into Air Fryer Mac and Cheese Balls for a fun appetizer!
Can you freeze macaroni and cheese?
yes! Freezing mac and cheese is a great way to have a home-cooked meal ready to reheat throughout the week. Freeze.
Thaw the mac and cheese in the refrigerator overnight, reheat as usual, and add a little milk to loosen the sauce.
this Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese A classic comfort food made with just 5 ingredients in one pot!
- 1 pound shell pasta
- 2 cups grated mild cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 1/4 cups evaporated milk
- 2 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Boil the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is boiling, heat both cheeses, evaporated milk, eggs, and salt in a large sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Continue cooking and stirring until cheese is melted and smooth.
- Once the pasta is cooked, set aside 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.
- Add the drained pasta to the cheese mixture and stir to completely coat the pasta. Add pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. I usually use 3-4 tablespoons of pasta water.
- Serve immediately.
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