20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
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20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese – Almost as FAST and EASY as using a box but tastes a million times BETTER!! So creamy, ridiculously cheesy, and the extra sharp white cheddar cheese gives this mac and cheese so much FLAVOR!!
If you’re the type of person like my daughter who loves extra creamy and very cheesy macaroni and cheese, this is the recipe for you.
Goodbye Boxed Mac and Cheese
I won’t judge you if you’ve been known to use boxed mac and cheese where the cheese is neon orange and comes in powder form. We’ve all been there.
But I promise you that this mac and cheese is nearly as fast and easy as using a box and tastes a million times better. It’s ready in 20 minutes and has so much depth of flavor from the white cheddar cheese.
It’s ridiculously creamy, uber cheesy, and it’s pure comfort food that’s like receiving a big warm hug.
If you prefer mac and cheese with a crunchier topping, I’m sure you could add breadcrumbs to the top and bake it in a 400F oven until it’s as crisped on the top as you like, although I haven’t personally gone this route.
About The Cheese
Being that I already have recipes on my site for Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese, Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese, Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese and many others, I wanted to play with the kind of cheese I used for this recipe.
Specifically, I used an extra-sharp white cheddar cheese. Because you’re using a pound of it, make sure it’s a cheese that’s high quality and that you like.
If you don’t like your cheese to be quite as sharp, I recommend going with ‘sharp’ rather than ‘extra-sharp’. But for us, we relish a little extra bite and sharpness. You may say this mac and cheese tastes a bit more ‘grown up’ than varieties made with basic or mild cheddar.
I highly recommend grating the cheese by hand on the coarsest blade of a box grater (or dirty your food processor and do it in there).
Pre-grated cheese in bags can be coated with chemicals that can make it resistant to melting smoothly which would be a disaster here. I don’t know that I’ve ever actually seen white cheddar cheese in bags – usually white cheeses like mozzarella, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack are the usual bagged varieties – but just pointing it out to avoid bagged cheese for this recipe and go with a brick of cheese.
There’s no secret that a pound of pasta, a pound of cheese, a stick of butter, and 4 cups of milk make a ton of mac and cheese. Unless you’re feeding a big family or having a gathering, you will likely have more mac and cheese on your hands than you need at one time.
Thankfully this recipe is very freezer-friendly. Just portion it out into (plastic) freezer-safe containers and you are go to go.
When I have had one of those days in the kitchen where all I make are desserts, the last thing I actually want to do is make dinner for my daughter and I love being able to pull out a container of mac and cheese for her.
Favorite Easy Mac and Cheese Recipes:
- Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese – Classic mac and cheese the whole family will love! The creamy, cheesy comfort food you crave! So much better than anything out of a box and just as easy!
- Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese – Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro! Easy comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family favorite!
- Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese – The pumpkin flavor is subtle compared to the super cheesy and creamy factor! The pumpkin boosts the cheesiness to a whole new level everyone loves!
- Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – A perfect use for leftover macaroni! Bread it, bake it, devour it!
- 1 pound small pasta shells, cooked according to package directions, drained, and set aside
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 4 cups 2% or whole milk
- 1 pound (16 ounces) extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, grated by hand
- To a very large pot or Dutch oven, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain; set aside.
- To the same pot, add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt.
- After the butter has melted, add the flour, mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, optional cayenne (does not make it spicy at all, solely for depth of flavor), and whisk constantly until smooth. Note - this is a very important step and if your butter-flour mixture (roux) is not okay or is not smooth, your mac and cheese will not have the right texture or consistency.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.
- Add the cheese and whisk constantly until it's melted and the mixture is perfectly smooth.
- Add the cooked pasta, stir to coat and combine, and serve immediately. Mac and cheese will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 249Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 274mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 7g
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese – Classic mac and cheese the whole family will love! The creamy, cheesy comfort food you crave! So much better than anything out of a box and just as easy!
Easy 30-Minute Taco Macaroni and Cheese – Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro! Easy comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family favorite!
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese – The pumpkin flavor is subtle compared to the super cheesy and creamy factor! The pumpkin boosts the cheesiness to a whole new level everyone loves!
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – A perfect use for leftover macaroni! Bread it, bake it, devour it!
Three Cheese Baked Ziti – Mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan melted together are divine! An easy, make-ahead meal that’s also freezer-friendly and so tasty! The whole family will love it!
Extra Cheesy Tortellini Bake – Three-cheese tortellini baked with pasta sauce and 3 more cheeses! Cheese lovers will adore this easy comfort food that’s ready in 30 minutes!
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