Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and 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.

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

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!

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! 

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. 

Yield: 8

Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

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

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

    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.

Notes

  • 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:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

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

More Pasta Dinner Recipes:

ALL OF MY PASTA RECIPES!

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Cheesy Beef and Pasta Casserole – Hearty comfort food that’s EASY and IRRESISTIBLE!! Cheesy pasta and beef coated in marinara sauce and topped with more CHEESE! Makes planned leftovers and is freezer-friendly!!

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