Super easy, this creamy stovetop mac and cheese comes together in minutes and makes for a delicious main dish or side with dinner. Forget the boxed stuff and make your own macaroni and cheese recipe from scratch!
How’s the year treating you so far? Sticking with those goals? I’ve been continuing to read more, though not as much as I’d like. I’ve been so dang tired. I blame it on the weather/time of year. Cold, dark days never gets my motor running.
You know what does though? Cheese, specifically this creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe!
If you’ve been following Girl Heart Food for a little while, you may know how cheese obsessed I am. I could never give it up, just like:
- swearing on occasion (the latest season of Grace & Frankie reaffirms that for me, LOL)
- wine on Friday after work
- good chocolate (hey, if I’m going to have the calories, better make it good, right?)
- popcorn popped on the stove
- real butter
- did I mention cheese 😉 ?
I was super happy to come across a truffle cheddar from the UK the other day. It’s funky, but not too funky, and really adds something special to this easy stovetop mac and cheese recipe.
Kinda takes it to another level and makes it extra special. How lovely would this be for date night with some vino? Pretty spot on, if you ask me!
Fan of macaroni pasta? Check out this cheeseburger macaroni recipe!
How To Make Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Full details on how to make this mac and cheese are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain.
- Meanwhile, cook shallot and garlic.
- Melt butter and add flour.
- Slowly stir in milk and cream, about ½ cup at a time until mixture thickened.
- Add shredded cheese in batches, incorporating each batch before adding more.
- Mix cheesy sauce with cooked pasta. Portion and enjoy!
What’s the Best Cheese to Use?
I always love to use cheddar for mac and cheese and in this case I used a delicious truffle cheddar.
Don’t like truffle cheddar or don’t have on hand? No worries? Use your favourite sharp cheddar. Alternatively, use a mixture good melting cheese, like provolone, mozzarella, Gouda and Gruyère.
The sauce thickens best (quickest) when the milk is not super cold from the fridge. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes or warm a little in a saucepan.
Slowly add the milk to the roux, giving it a chance to thicken. Don’t add all the milk the one time.
Add the shredded cheese in batches, stirring each batch in until dissolved. Don’t boil or overcook cheese. As soon as the mixture is smooth, mix with cooked pasta.
Enjoy right away! That’s when it’s the creamiest (and, also, why wait?!)
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Can you Freeze Mac and Cheese?
You can totally freeze mac and cheese! As this cools, it will naturally firm up. I love to portion into individual freezer-friendly dishes, ensuring covered. Thaw in the fridge.
How to Reheat
Leftovers of this creamy stovetop mac and cheese reheat like a dream!! Of course, the mac will solidify as it cools (because of the cheese in there), but will loosen up once reheated. Trust the process.
Whether you’re enjoying this mac and cheese the next day or warming up a thawed piece, simply add mac to a non-stick pan on medium heat along with a little broth or milk (preferred).
The amount of liquid you add will vary depending on how much leftovers you are reheating.
I always find it’s better to add a little liquid at a time (start with about ¼ cup or so and add more as needed) until the pasta is creamy and warmed through.
You don’t want to add too much so that it’s a liquid mess and the cheesy creaminess is gone.
Use a teaspoon or so of onion powder instead of shallot (simply stir in with the milk).
Use ½ teaspoon or so of garlic powder instead of garlic.
Try regular sharp cheddar instead of truffle cheddar.
Delicious spice add-ins are mustard powder, cayenne pepper powder or smoked paprika.
I garnished with a little parsley for a pop of colour. However, chives would work lovely too.
Want to make this even more substantial? Add in some crisped pancetta, bacon or prosciutto.
Mix it up! Try another variety of small pasta, like penne or rotini.
More Easy Comfort Food Recipes
- Vegan Sloppy Joes
- Roasted Cauliflower Leek Soup
- Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese
- Southern Baked Spaghetti Recipe (from A Fork’s Tale)
Hope you love this easy stovetop mac n cheese as much as we do!
If you make this creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese (with truffle cheddar)
- 2 cups macaroni noodles (uncooked)
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallot , minced (or ¼ cup minced white or yellow onion)
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , cut into cubes for easier melting
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ¾ cup whole milk (or 2% milk fat)
- ¼ cup heavy cream (or milk)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces truffle cheddar or regular cheddar , shredded (about 2 cups)
- Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain (reserving a 1.5 cups of the pasta working before draining) and lay to one side.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in heavy bottomed pot. Add shallot and garlic and cook 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add butter to pot and melt. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Mix milk with cream and slowly stir into butter/flour mixture (about ½ cup at a time). Cook until thickened slightly, about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper.
- On low heat stir in cheese. Add cheese in batches, stirring until each batch is incorporated.
- Next, stir in cooked pasta. This mac and cheese is rich and thick. If you need to loosen things, add some reserved pasta water, about a couple of tablespoons at a time until you've reached your desired consistency (you will likely not use all of the reserved water). Portion and enjoy! Note: I like to add a little more cracked black pepper on top of my mac, but that's optional.
- The sauce thickens best (quickest) when the milk is not super cold from the fridge. Let it sit on the counter for a few minutes or warm a little in a saucepan.
- Slowly add the milk to the roux, giving it a chance to thicken. Don’t add all the milk the one time.
- Add the shredded cheese in batches, stirring each batch in until dissolved. Don’t boil or overcook cheese. As soon as the mixture is smooth, mix with cooked pasta.
- Enjoy right away! That’s when it’s the creamiest.
- Use a teaspoon or so of onion powder instead of shallot (simply stir in with the milk).
- Use ½ teaspoon or so of garlic powder instead of garlic.
- Try regular sharp cheddar instead of truffle cheddar.
- Delicious spice add-ins are mustard powder, cayenne pepper powder or smoked paprika.
- I garnished with a little parsley for a pop of colour. However, chives would work lovely too.
- Want to make this even more substantial? Add in some crisped pancetta, bacon or prosciutto.
- Mix it up! Try another variety of small pasta, like penne or rotini.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.