This is the best stovetop mac and cheese recipe I’ve ever tried! It only requires one pot (no additional pot for the pasta), takes about 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish, and is creamy, cheesy, and delicious.
As I’ve gotten older, cooking has become a habit. I love going to entertain friends and family, cooking a little and spending time with them. Cooking has become a passion. However, there is only so much you can learn and master in one day.
For the rest of my days, I enjoy cooking and experimenting. My weekends are spent cooking, eating, and chatting with friends. I have a blast.
From freshly-scraped raclette toasts to the most incredible Korean-inspired mushroom grilled cheese sandwiches, to Spanish (slightly different than French) onion and smoked cheese soup, to vegan Mexican cheesy quesadillas, to the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted, to the most dreamy Italian gyoza-ish dumplings filled with potato and cheese and served in a pecorino-sage sauce…the day was all about our And we were overjoyed when we left. And I’m stuffed, ha.
However, one dish was noticeably absent from the festival. But it just so happens that I’ve been on a mission to find my favorite recipe for it this month. So, to cap off our cheesy weekend, we decided to taste-test a final version of this recipe yesterday. And, oh, I think we’ve got it, guys. It’s the Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe Ever, in my humble opinion.
Right now, I should probably state unequivocally that this recipe is authentic. Because I’m not interested in taking healthy shortcuts when it comes to creamy mac and cheese on special occasions.
Let’s talk about this delicious recipe that takes less than 20 minutes to prepare from start to finish (seriously!) and only uses one pot.
I’ve always done the two-pot method for making homemade mac and cheese — one for cooking the pasta and one for making the cheesy sauce — and it works great! Dishes, on the other hand, have always been the bane of my existence. And many of you recommended the one-pot method when I started posting on Instagram about my macaroni and cheese recipe experimenting this month.
Because apparently cooking the pasta in the sauce releases all of those starches into the sauce, making it extra creamy and aiding in the sauce’s binding to the pasta. In addition, the entire cooking process takes only about 15 minutes. Also, there’s no need to clean the extra pan.
Let’s also talk about your cheese options.
When it comes to people’s Very Strong Food Opinions, I feel like mac and cheese is the savory equivalent of chocolate chip cookies. Everyone seems to have a favorite cheese (or combination of cheeses) to serve with their mac and cheese! So, if you have a strong preference for one the best cheeses over another, this recipe is completely adaptable when it comes to cheeses, so go for it.
The Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe
This truly is the BEST stovetop mac and cheese recipe! It only requires one pot (no extra pot to cook the pasta), it’s ready to go in about 20 minutes from start to finish, and it’s perfectly creamy and cheesy and delicious.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups water
- 4 cups milk
- 1 pound uncooked pasta (I used cavatappi)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 4–5 cups (16–20 ounces) freshly-shredded* sharp cheddar cheese (I used sharp white cheddar)
- 1/2 cup freshly-shredded* Parmesan cheese
- Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add flour, and stir until combined. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Then pour in 1 cup of the water, and stir (or whisk) until the mixture is completely smooth and begins to thicken. Gradually pour in the remaining water and milk, stirring until evenly combined.
- Stir in the pasta, salt, garlic powder, and mustard until combined. Then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture just reaches a simmer. (Btw, I recommend grating your cheese while the pasta cooks to save time!) Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the low simmer. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 9-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. (Be careful not to overcook the pasta!)
- Remove from heat, and stir in the cheeses until melted. Taste, and season with additional salt (and black pepper, if you’d like), as needed.
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!!
Hi there! I’m a food enthusiast and journalist, and I have a real passion for food that goes beyond the kitchen. I love my dream job and I’m lucky enough to be able to share my knowledge with readers of several large media outlets. My specialty is writing engaging food-related content, and I take pride in being able to connect with my audience. I’m known for my creativity in the kitchen, and I’m confident that I can be the perfect guide for anyone looking to take their culinary journey to the next level.