Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese


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Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese — This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese — This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

Simple Mac and Cheese on the Stovetop

My daughter, like most kids, would eat mac and cheese for every meal. Homemade creamy mac and cheese is her idea of pure comfort food, bliss, and happiness.

This stovetop mac and cheese is a basic, straight-forward, no-frills recipe the whole family will love. No breadcrumbs, no lobster, no bacon. Just classic macaroni and cheese. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese. No processed blocks of cheese or neon orange powder.

Nothing against those because I grew up on them, but this shells and cheese recipe uses a combination of extra sharp cheddar and parmesan. 

The recipe halves easily but I make it as written because I have a real mac and cheese fan. I freeze leftovers in single-serve portions and can pull them out and re-heat at a moment’s notice. I love planned leftovers.

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!!

What’s in Stovetop Mac and Cheese? 

To make this simple mac and cheese recipe, you’ll need:

  • Pasta shells (or pasta of choice)
  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Dry ground mustard
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese — This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

How to Make Mac and Cheese on the Stovetop

First, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. 

Then, make the cheese sauce. Start by whisking together melted butter and flour in a large skillet until the mixture turns light brown and has bubbled for about 2 minutes. 

Slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dry mustard. Whisk the shredded cheeses in last. 

Stir in the cooked pasta gently so you don’t break any noodles. Enjoy!

Silk Cashewmilk

What’s the Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese?

Use your favorite shape of pasta. I like using medium shells to make shells and cheese, but rotini or bowtie are fun, too. And, of course, classic macaroni pasta will work here too. 

What’s a Good Substitute for Milk in Mac and Cheese?

I used Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk to make this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, and it’s so irresistibly creamy and thick but with fewer calories than skim milk. Eating more plant-based protein is a great goal and Silk Cashewmilk or Silk Almond Milk are my milks of choice for baking and smoothies. They’re so low in calories and fat, they’re vegan and dairy-free, and I always get impressive-tasting results. It’s the perfect match between tasty and guilt-free.

You could also make this mac and cheese with almond milk — use whatever non-dairy milk you like! 

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese — This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

Tips for Making Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Grate your own cheddar rather than buying pre-grated because pre-shredded cheese is resistant to melting. It also tends to clump up when added to a cheese sauce. 

After adding the pasta to the cheese sauce, you may need to add a splash of milk to loosen things up. It really just depends on how thick you like your homemade creamy mac and cheese.

If you have leftovers, be sure to reheat them gently on the stovetop. You don’t want the cheese to separate, nor do you want to dry out the pasta. 

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese — This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

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Yield: 8

Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

This is a no-frills stovetop mac and cheese recipe the whole family will love. It’s easy, ready in 30 minutes, and uses real cheese!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound medium-sized pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups Silk Unsweetened Cashewmilk (or the milk of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry ground mustard, optional
  • 3 (about 12 ounces) cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (grate your own because pre-grated cheese in bags doesn’t melt well)
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) parmesan cheese, finely grated


    1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set pasta.
    2. To a large skillet, add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt.
    3. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown and has bubbled for about 2 minutes. Cook long enough to cook off the raw flour taste, but not so long it gets overly browned.
    4. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, making sure to smooth out any possible clumps that formed.
    5. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, optional dry mustard, and whisk to incorporate.
    6. Add the cheddar, parmesan, and whisk until melted and smooth.
    7. Add the pasta and stir to evenly coat. Depending on preference, if macaroni and cheese is on the thicker side, add a splash of water or milk to thin out to taste. I haven’t needed to do this, but it’s an option in case.
    8. Serve immediately.


  • Recipe is best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4 months. Reheat very gently prior to serving leftovers so cheese doesn’t separate.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 428Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 624mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g

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  1. This is great! I used almond milk, brown rice flour (instead of AP), colby jack cheese just because that’s what I had, and used brown rice pasta. It was somewhat mild because of the milder cheese, but nice and creamy! I’m really happy to find a mac & cheese recipe to use with almond milk. Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that enjoyed the mac and cheese and that almond milk worked great for you!

  2. I will be using mild cheddar cheese for this recipe.
    I do not like extra sharp cheese at all. To much
    Bite to it.
    About shredded cheese in bags, it melts with no
    problem, especially on homemade pizza .

    1. Not all cheese in bags melts the same in my experience. I find it varies from brand to brand, and from the type of cheese as well.

  3. I absolutely love a simple mac and cheese for a quick easy meal, and this recipe looks fantastic. Quick – easy- full of flavour – = Magic   : )


  4. I love basic mac and cheese! I like to use a combination sharp cheddar and Gruyere cheese – give it a shot! Gruyere isn’t a cheap cheese, but it adds another world of flavour to a classic mac and cheese dish.

    1. I love gruyere as well and in my recipes I try to remember my readers who may possibly be shopping more budget-consciously and so didn’t call for it here, but yes, it’s a wonderful splurge!

  5. wow yum! i’ve always loved mac and cheese, the homemade real-cheese kind :) can’t wait to make this recipe!

  6. A real nice and easy to make receipe! Just a little hint on the pasta water – adding pasta water will not thin your sauce it rather thickens it. Thus because of the starch in water ;)

  7. You have done a great idea. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends.

  8. It’s so nice to see some actual meals rather than just baked goods on this blog. Don’t get me wrong, the baked goods always look AMAZING and delicious but I just can’t keep them in the house. Please continue to share easy meals with us!

  9. My daughter would also eat macaroni and cheese for every meal – shells are her favorite. I have been experimenting with recipes using almond milk but would never have thought of using cashew milk – can’t wait to try this.

  10. Hi Averie, this is really easy to make. Thanks for sharing this recipe. :)

  11. Those boxed mac ‘n cheese meals were one of the few things my mom “cooked” while we were growing up. She didn’t like spending much time in the kitchen, so nearly everything we ate was semi-homemade. But she definitely made up for it in other ways, like driving us to every single sports and music practice, buying us a million and one books, and taking us on fun vacations. Thank goodness the kitchen gene just skipped one generation — I can’t imagine what life would be like if I didn’t like to bake and cook! But anyway, back to your mouthwatering recipe… I’d love it if a serving or two of this appeared in my freezer!

    1. What a nice story and memories :) And thanks for your persistence with the comments. This one came through right away!

  12. I just love your recipes! We made the baked macaroni and cheese balls the other day.

  13. True confession here: I could probably eat mac and cheese nearly every day of my life and not get sick of it. It is just so perfect- cheesy pasta comfort! 

  14. This looks AMAZING! Mac & Cheese is my favorite.  I will definitely need to try this recipe. Thanks Averie! 

  15. Ooooh I’m intrigued with the cashew milk in this! Definitely hasn’t hit the shelves here yet :( but I can always make my own for this delicious mac and cheese, right? ;) 

  16. I would make this recipe for my kids. I used to buy Silk almond milk at the supermarket, it is more healthy than others. I am a fan of Averie Cooks recipes. I really love this site. Have s nice weekend! 

  17. Classic mac and cheese is my favorite. Give me just noodles and cheese and I’m a happy gal. Love that you used Cashewmilk here!

  18. I tried to hold off until dinner to make this but caved as soon as soon as I got home from the store with shells, cheese and cashew milk (I was that shopper who bought the last 3 cartons of unsweetened–it’s getting popular). I had some for lunch and saved the rest for Jon’s dinner. We both loved it–it’s smooth and very cheesy (I grated a little fancy whiskey cheddar over the top ). It’s so easy and reheats well. I think some teriyaki chicken is up next this weekend!

    1. I love that you made it the day I posted it (you’ve done that twice this week, you’re the best!!) and I am that shopper too who buys up all the cashewmilk! It’s popular here too and sells out fast sometimes! So I always have at least 2 cartons in the fridge! So glad you guys loved it and your fancy whiskey cheddar sounds AMAZING! I want that :)

  19. I never thought to use almond milk in mac and cheese (probably because I always buy vanilla) but I’m so trying it now. Great idea!!

    1. LOL it would be my luck to use my vanilla milk in my savory recipes…that would be me :)

      But if you use the unsweetened cashew or almond, it’s perfect in savory recipes!

  20. Mmmm…. Sometimes no frills is just the way to go! This looks amazing! And why half the recipe when you can have planned leftovers? Perfection!

  21. This looks creamy, dreamy, and utterly amazing! I love a good mac and cheese recipe and knowing this is start-to-finish in a mere 30 minutes is beyond me. Totally love it! 

  22. I’ve never made homemade mac and cheese. Crazy, right? My daughter has yet to meet M&C she doesn’t like, but my son only likes the blue and yellow box kind … but I bet he would like this recipe. It looks creamy and smooth and without the extra “stuff” that he objects to.

    1. It’s truly your no-frills, ‘basic’ mac and cheese that most kids seem to like because it’s just noodles and cheese!

  23. Man, this pasta has some serious creaminess going on! Years ago, when my daughter was a toddler, I would always make macaroni and cheese with extra-sharp white cheddar and Parmesan cheese. I haven’t made it in years, and now I am going to whip some up. Lovely pictures, Averie. My family and I could eat macaroni and cheese and never get tired of it. It’s one of the best comfort foods. I also like to grate my own cheese because I can live without the cellulose powder, which is wood pulp.

  24. My daughter would eat mac and cheese at every meal too! She likes the classic Kraft, YUCK! We make yummy home made mac and cheese all the time to get away from Kraft. We’ll have to try this, looks so creamy and yummy!

  25. Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! As an adult I’d love to eat it for every meal too! This one looks creamy and cheesy. Perfect!!

  26. Real cheese is definitely the way to go as far as a good mac ‘n’ cheese is concerned! I’m seriously drooling over how gooey and cheesy this is and I love that it all cooks up in one skillet! Definitely a family-pleaser! :)

  27. Hello comfort food! Averie, you always make the most delicious food. My grandma used to make us Annie’s White Cheddar Shells when we visited her apartment on Friday nights. It was always my favorite meal and she would let us stir everything together. This recipe looks healthier than the boxed version and so flavorful. :D 

    1. I have always seen that Annie’s one but have never bought it. That’s such a cute story about your grandma letting you be the helpers :)

  28. The weekend is off to a cool, gray, rainy start and it’s supposed to stay this way for a few days. Perfect for staying in and trying some recipes! Mac and cheese is a favorite of Jon’s and I haven’t made it in years. Parm and cheddar sounds good together. I think I’ll get some pasta that will work for this and your teriyaki chicken!

    1. It’s so gray and miserable in San Diego right now too. Mac n cheese is totally the kind of food you want to eat in this weather. Or just lots of cake :) If you try anything out, LMK how it goes!

  29. I love no frills basic mac and cheese the best..no bacon, no lobster just mac and cheese.  This looks so yummy.  I’ve yet to try cashew milk but obviously I need to..this looks so creamy.  I doubt we’d have leftovers but good to know I can freeze them for lunches if we do.

    1. no bacon, no lobster just mac and cheese <--- as much as those things are trendy right now, for my daughter and I think for many people, just keeping it basic is the way to go :) You'll love cashewmilk. It's as thick as whole milk, even thicker maybe, but with virtually no calories. 25 calories in 8 ounces. I have no idea how they do it, actually!

  30. My mom never made mac and cheese for us. She said it lacked nutrients and protein. I mean, come on, there’s cheese. So I’ve been obsessed with it in adulthood, trying to make up for all the lost years!
    This is on my list now of mac and cheeses to try. It looks ridiculously creamy. I’m so excited!

    1. My mom didn’t usually make scratch mac n cheese so when we had it, it was usually from a blue box :)

  31. I loved that you used real cheeses in this, so much more healthy and taste much better :-) However I´ve never tried cashew milk and you have me wondering if I´d like it or  not..

    1. You’ll love cashewmilk. It’s as thick as whole milk, even thicker maybe, but with virtually no calories. 25 calories in 8 ounces. I have no idea how they do it, actually!

  32. I’d like to say that my brother, who is almost 16, would also choose to eat mac and cheese for every meal if not for everyone else in the family forcing him to eat greens and meat and non-carby things. I love how creamy this looks- I always find that leftovers are a bit dry, but I’m sure that this recipe doesn’t have that issue (:

    1. I know what you mean about dry leftovers and thankfully this recipe doesn’t have that problem at all!