With just 8 ingredients, this Stovetop Mac and Cheese comes together in under 30 minutes. It’s easy, it’s cheesy, and it’s 100% family-approved!
Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe
We’re no strangers to mac and cheese in this house. My baked mac and cheese makes an appearance on the table several times each year and during the lazy summer months, this crockpot mac and cheese is a weekly dinner fav! Those recipes are actually what inspired this Stovetop Mac and Cheese Recipe. The flavor is slightly different but it’s equally as good!
This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe stays true to the classics by using just cheddar cheese but I also add in some sour cream for extra creaminess. It just adds that extra thing to really make this recipe the best!
What You’ll Need
You only need a handful of ingredients to make this easy side dish. Scroll down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Elbow macaroni – Or other short pasta.
- All-purpose flour – Thickens the cheese sauce.
- Seasonings – I keep it simple with just garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Whole milk – Skim will make the sauce much thinner.
- Sour cream – Adds some extra creaminess to the dish.
- Cheddar cheese – Shred it yourself from the block if you can, for the best melting.
What’s the best cheese for mac and cheese?
Classic mac and cheese, like this recipe, is usually made with cheddar cheese. But, you can easily switch it up and use almost any cheese you desire or a variety of cheeses for different flavors. Monterrey Jack, gruyere, gouda, white cheddar, brie, provolone, fontina and mozzarella are all good alternatives.
Two important things to note are that extra sharp cheeses do not get as creamy when they melt and it’s always best to grate your own cheese vs buying the pre-shredded as it doesn’t melt as well.
How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Homemade mac and cheese comes together in just a few easy steps.
- Cook the macaroni. Cook the noodles according to the package then drain and set aside.
- Make the cheese sauce. Combine the flour with salt and garlic powder. Melt the butter in a saucepan then whisk in the flour mixture. Cook until slightly brown, then whisk in the milk. Add the sour cream next and cook until thickened. Do not boil.
- Add the cheese. Reduce the heat and add the cheese. Whisk until melted and smooth then season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the pasta. Stir in the pasta, until the noodles are coated.
- Serve. Let cool for a few minutes then serve and enjoy.
There are so many different things you can do to this stovetop mac and cheese recipe! You can switch up the flavor completely or add an extra ingredient or two to turn it into a complete meal. Here are a few ideas:
- Try a different pasta. This recipe can be made with pretty much any short pasta noodle. Shells, rotini, and bow tie pasta all work great.
- Mix up the cheeses. As I mentioned above, there are many different cheese options when it comes to homemade mac and cheese. So play around and find your favorite combination!
- Buffalo mac and cheese. Like things on the spicy side? Add in a few splashes of Frank’s Red Hot for a buffalo mac and cheese. Shredded chicken works great in this too, for a buffalo chicken mac and cheese.
- Add some veggies. Pretty much any cooked veggie can be stirred into this dish, along with tomatoes and spinach. Just stir them in when you add the pasta to the cheese sauce.
- Add a protein. Turn your mac and cheese into a hearty meal by adding some cooked meat. Ham, shredded or chunked chicken, bacon, sausage, and hot dogs are all great options.
If you’re serving this creamy mac and cheese as the main entree, I recommend a simple side salad or some steamed veggies as a side. (Unless you’re already adding them to the dish, of course!)
But the beauty of a dish like homemade macaroni and cheese is that it pairs with essentially everything. Chicken nuggets? Hot dogs? The boys are happy and lunch is easy. Grilled chicken? Steak? It’s like we’re eating at a nice restaurant. This is a side dish you really can’t go wrong on!
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Homemade mac and cheese will last in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Keep covered in an airtight container. Leftovers can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave. Note that you may way to add a splash of water to thin the sauce or prevent it from drying out when reheating.
I do not recommend freezing leftover mac and cheese as the noodles can be a bit mushy and dairy doesn’t usually freeze well.
More Mac and Cheese Recipes:
- Homemade Chili Mac and Cheese
- White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- Seafood Macaroni and Cheese
- Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni uncooked
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 cups cheddar cheese shredded
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions. Drain, and set aside.
- Mix flour, salt, and garlic powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour mixture and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute until mixture is slightly brown.
- Add 1 cup milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Add sour cream and whisk until smooth.
- Cook until the mixture is thickened (about 3-5 minutes). Do not let it boil.
- Once mixture is thick, reduce heat to low and add cheese. Whisk until cheese is melted and smooth. Add salt and pepper (to taste) if desired.
- Pour cooked pasta to the pot of cheese sauce and stir until the sauce covers the noodles. Let cool for 3-5 minutes before serving.