Stovetop Creamy Macaroni & Cheese

Indulge in the ultimate comfort food experience with our Stovetop Creamy Macaroni & Cheese recipe. This velvety and satisfying dish features tender pasta smothered in a rich cheese sauce that’s sure to please even the pickiest eaters. Made with simple ingredients and ready in just 20 minutes, it’s the perfect solution for busy weeknights or whenever cravings for comfort food strike. Follow our easy-to-follow recipe and treat yourself to a bowl of cheesy goodness that will leave you craving for more.


  • ½ lb uncooked shells or similar short pasta
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk (I used 2%)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 ½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup three cheese blend, shredded


  1. Boil Pasta: In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain the noodles and set them aside.
  2. Prepare Cheese Sauce: Using the same pot (or a new one if you prefer), melt the butter over medium-high heat until bubbly. Whisk in the flour, one tablespoon at a time, ensuring each addition is fully incorporated. Cook the flour until it is no longer raw, and the mixture (known as a roux) becomes thick and pale yellow in color.
  3. Create Creamy Sauce: Gradually add in the milk while whisking continuously. Cook until the mixture thickens and becomes creamy. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the shredded cheddar and three cheese blend until fully melted and combined.
  4. Combine Pasta and Sauce: Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until the noodles are evenly coated.
  5. Serve Hot: Season with additional pepper if desired, and serve this delectable Stovetop Creamy Macaroni & Cheese hot. Enjoy every cheesy bite!

Nutrition Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 390
  • Total Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Cholesterol: 55mg
  • Sodium: 420mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 33g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2g
  • Sugars: 3g
  • Protein: 17g

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Tips:

  1. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley, chives, or thyme over the creamy macaroni and cheese before serving to add a pop of color and freshness.
  2. Serve with Crispy Toppings: For added texture, top each serving with crispy breadcrumbs, crumbled bacon, or toasted breadcrumbs for a delightful crunch.
  3. Customize with Add-Ins: Elevate the dish by adding cooked broccoli florets, diced ham, sautéed mushrooms, or caramelized onions for extra flavor and texture.
  4. Pair with Greens: Serve the macaroni and cheese alongside a crisp green salad or steamed vegetables to balance out the richness of the dish with freshness and nutrients.
  5. Serve in Individual Ramekins: For an elegant presentation, portion the macaroni and cheese into individual oven-safe ramekins, sprinkle with extra cheese, and broil until bubbly and golden brown before serving.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat individual portions in the microwave or oven until heated through before serving.
  2. Freezing: While best enjoyed fresh, you can freeze leftover macaroni and cheese for future meals. Transfer cooled portions to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, and store in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Reheating: To reheat refrigerated or frozen macaroni and cheese, gently warm it in the microwave or oven until heated through. For a crispy topping, broil briefly in the oven until golden brown.
  4. Revive Creaminess: If the macaroni and cheese becomes dry upon reheating, add a splash of milk or cream to restore its creamy texture before serving.
  5. Meal Prep Option: Consider doubling the recipe and portioning individual servings into meal prep containers for convenient lunches or dinners throughout the week. Simply reheat in the microwave or oven for a quick and satisfying meal.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Stovetop Creamy Macaroni & Cheese remains flavorful and fresh, whether enjoyed immediately or saved for later. With its creamy texture and cheesy goodness, this classic comfort food is sure to be a hit with family and friends alike.


  1. Spicy Jalapeño Mac and Cheese: Add diced jalapeños or a splash of hot sauce to the cheese sauce for a spicy kick that pairs perfectly with the creamy macaroni.
  2. Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese: Stir in crispy bacon pieces and steamed broccoli florets for a hearty and flavorful twist on the classic dish.
  3. Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese: Toss shredded cooked chicken in buffalo sauce and mix it into the macaroni and cheese for a tangy and savory flavor combination.
  4. Italian Herb Mac and Cheese: Mix in dried Italian herbs such as oregano, basil, and thyme for a fragrant and herbaceous version of macaroni and cheese.
  5. Truffle Mac and Cheese: Drizzle truffle oil over the macaroni and cheese and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese for a luxurious and indulgent variation.
  6. Loaded Baked Potato Mac and Cheese: Fold in cooked diced potatoes, crispy bacon, and chopped green onions for a comforting macaroni and cheese inspired by loaded baked potatoes.
  7. Pesto Mac and Cheese: Swirl pesto into the cheese sauce and add sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts for a vibrant and flavorful twist on traditional macaroni and cheese.
  8. Mexican Fiesta Mac and Cheese: Mix in diced green chilies, black beans, corn kernels, and taco seasoning for a Tex-Mex-inspired macaroni and cheese that’s packed with flavor.
  9. Greek-Inspired Mac and Cheese: Stir in chopped Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, and crumbled feta cheese for a Mediterranean-inspired twist on macaroni and cheese.
  10. Caprese Mac and Cheese: Add cherry tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and mozzarella pearls to the macaroni and cheese for a light and refreshing take on the classic dish.


  1. Can I use different types of pasta for this recipe? Yes, you can use any pasta shape you prefer, such as elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini.
  2. Can I make this dish gluten-free? Yes, you can use gluten-free pasta and substitute gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour to make this recipe gluten-free.
  3. Can I use different types of cheese? Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with your favorite cheeses such as Gouda, Gruyère, or fontina to customize the flavor of the dish.
  4. Can I make this recipe ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the macaroni and cheese in advance and reheat it before serving. Just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to reheat.
  5. Can I add vegetables to this dish? Yes, you can add cooked vegetables such as peas, carrots, or spinach to the macaroni and cheese for added flavor and nutrition.
  6. How can I make this dish creamier? To make the macaroni and cheese creamier, you can add a splash of milk or cream to the cheese sauce until you reach your desired consistency.
  7. Can I make this dish vegan? Yes, you can use plant-based milk, vegan butter, and dairy-free cheese to make a vegan version of this macaroni and cheese.
  8. Can I freeze leftovers? Yes, you can freeze leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  9. How can I add protein to this dish? You can add cooked shredded chicken, diced ham, or crumbled tofu to the macaroni and cheese to increase the protein content.
  10. Can I bake this macaroni and cheese instead of serving it stovetop? Yes, you can transfer the macaroni and cheese to a baking dish, top it with breadcrumbs and extra cheese, and bake it in the oven until golden and bubbly.

Experience the irresistible combination of tender pasta and creamy cheese sauce with our Stovetop Creamy Macaroni & Cheese recipe. With its quick preparation and delicious flavor, it’s the perfect dish for satisfying cravings and bringing comfort to any mealtime. Whether served as a side or a main course, this creamy mac and cheese is sure to become a family favorite. Give it a try and enjoy the ultimate comfort food experience in just 20 minutes!