The Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese is made with three different cheeses and done on the stovetop. It’s creamy, cheesy and destined to be a family favorite!
If mashed potatoes are my favorite comfort food side dish, it is safe to say that macaroni and cheese runs a close second.
With all of it’s cheesy, carb-y, goodness, Stovetop Mac and Cheese is comfort food to the max.
You know what I’m talking about, the stuff that your mama used to make. The down home cookin’ version of homemade mac n’ cheese. This version is loaded with three different kinds of cheese: cheddar, Gruyere and Havarti.
Each bite is pure cheesy noodle bliss.
You’ll find all of the usual suspects in this mac and cheese recipe. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:
A lot of recipes for homemade mac and cheese are for baked Mac and cheese, like this Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese. With this recipe, I seek to make things a bit easier by making it all on the stovetop.
It really easy to make mac and cheese on the stovetop. You simply need to make an easy cheese sauce and mix in the noodles. It really is that easy.
The cheese sauce is the single most important part to stovetop mac and cheese. The rest of it is just boiling noodles. But don’t let that scare you. Making a cheese sauce is actually easy and I’m going to show you, with step by step photos, exactly how to do it.
STEP #1: To make a cheese sauce, you melt butter, whisk in flour and allow it to cook for 1 minute. Cooking for at least a minute ensures your sauce won’t have a chalky flour taste.
STEP #2: Slowly whisk in milk. Continue cooking until the milk has had a chance to thicken.
STEP #3: Add in your cheese or cheeses of choice and cook until they melt. Make sure to continue whisking so the sauce is smooth. Add in seasoning salt and pepper.
STEP #4: Once you got your sauce made, simply stir in some cooked noodles. Allow it to stand for 5 minutes, stir again and season to taste with more seasoning salt and pepper.
For this stovetop mac and cheese recipe, I use three different kinds of cheeses: Sharp cheddar, Havarti and Gruyere.
DES’ TIP: To make the smoothest cheesy sauce, you will want to use good melting cheeses. Good melting cheeses are cheeses with a higher moisture content. Harder cheeses, like Parmesan, won’t melt as well.
Other cheeses you could use when making stovetop mac and cheese include: medium cheddar, white cheddar, smoked gouda, fontina and mozzarella.
For more about the science behind melting cheese, check out this fine cooking article! A ton of interesting information.
Basically, once you have the technique down, making a cheese sauce for your macaroni and cheese is open to endless variations!
A roux is a mixture of a fat and flour that is used as a thickening agent in stews and sauces. You’ll make a roux as the base for the cheese sauce in this mac and cheese.
This could be because the cheese was too cold and heated too rapidly. To help with this problem, make sure the cheese is room temperature and the heat is low.
You need to cook the flour to make sure the mac and cheese doesn’t taste like flour. This is done when you’re making the roux. You need to let the flour cook at least 1 minute before adding the milk.
This Stovetop Mac and Cheese could be a meal all in itself, but if you’re looking for the best comfort food meal ever, serve it with some of my comfort food classics:
Cheese lover? Check out some of my favorite cheesy recipes:
Post originally published in 2009. Updated recipe, nutrition facts, step by step photos, recipe FAQ and video 2023.