20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

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!!

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.

MY OTHER RECIPES

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.

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!!

About The Cheese

Being that I already have recipes on my site for Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and CheeseEasy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and CheeseEasy 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.

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!!

Freezer Friendly

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:

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!!

20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese

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!!

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  1. To a very large pot or Dutch oven, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain; set aside.
  2. To the same pot, add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt.
  3. 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.
  4. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly.
  5. Add the cheese and whisk constantly until it’s melted and the mixture is perfectly smooth.
  6. 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.
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10 comments on “20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese”

  1. There is nothing better than homemade when it comes to mac and cheese! Extra sharp cheddar sounds wonderful–we love strong cheese.

  2. Can’t wait to try these! I pinned & printed them! Great comfort food! Thanks!

  3. AVERIE – I use a 3 ingredient mac and cheese recipe that doesn’t finish as nicely as yours, so I’m intrigued. Once I cook my pasta I typically add a little cream along with the cheese. Works very well, but stays stringier. At the least, I need to cook the pasta in less water. Thanks.

    Rating: 5
  4. I loved this! I plan to make it for Thanksgiving but it would be easiest if I can make it ahead of time due to other demands on the dutch oven. How do you recommend reheating it? Thanks!

    • The only way I’ve ever reheated it is from individual plastic containers that I store my leftovers in and then pop it in the microwave. I’m not sure how well the microwave is going to work if you’re literally reheating the entire batch all at one time. I don’t know, maybe put it in a big casserole dish and put it in a low oven covered with foil, maybe put it in a pot and reheat it on the stovetop very gently. Kind of depends what other cooking pots and pans you have that are already in use and if your stove, oven, etc. are already in use. Or you could put it in a bag microwave safe bowl, and reheat may be half the batch at one time.

  5. could you please post a gluten free version of your mac and cheese because it looks irresistible and im dying to try it but am gluten intolerant and wouldn’t know how to replace the flour (the actual pasta is easier because im assuming any gluten free pasta would do fine as a base) thank you so much!!

    • I’ve never made a gluten-free mac & cheese from scratch so I really can’t give any suggestions of what to do with the recipe or what to expect. You’ll have to give it a try see what happens.

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