Mac and Cheese made from scratch is a million times better than a box. This macaroni and cheese is perfectly rich and creamy and it’s sure to be loved by people of all ages!
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Easy Mac and Cheese Recipe
Mac and cheese is just one of those staple recipes we all grew up eating. This version skips a powder and instead uses real shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and cream cheese for a rich and satisfying flavor.
It’s total comfort food and it pairs well with just about anything. It’s easy enough for weekday dinners but good enough to serve at holiday get togethers.
This easy homemade mac and cheese is made on the stovetop and uses basic everyday ingredients. As much as I love creamy mac and cheese that’s been baked in the oven, this stovetop version is more practical for everyday cooking and is just as delicious!
Mac and Cheese Video
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Here’s my go-to mac recipe.
Homemade Mac and Cheese Ingredients
As promised, this stovetop mac and cheese recipe is super simple to make. Here’s what you’ll need to make the silky smooth mac and cheese sauce and pasta:
- Elbow macaroni
- Low-fat milk
- Dry mustard
- Garlic powder
- Cream cheese
- Sharp cheddar cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
How to Make Mac and Cheese
- Cook pasta: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, boil pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Drain pasta and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water.
- Make a roux: while pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan (4 quart) or medium pot melt butter over medium heat then add flour, cook 1 minute whisking constantly.
- Make the mac and cheese sauce: While whisking slowly pour in milk, add in mustard and garlic powder. Increase heat slightly, then bring mixture to a low boil whisking constantly.
- Melt in cream cheese: Reduce heat to low add in cream cheese and whisk until melted.
- Melt in cheddar: Remove saucepan from heat add in the shredded cheeses half at a time, and whisk to melt.
- Returning pan to warm heat as needed to melt fully.
- Season sauce with salt to taste.
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- Toss pasta with cheese sauce, thin with pasta water a splash at a time as needed. Serve immediately.
What’s the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?
Use a blend of cheeses for a nice combination of flavor. Here we go with cheddar, mozzarella and cream cheese.
How to Reheat Mac and Cheese
If you wind up with leftovers of this homemade mac and cheese, I recommend reheating them in a saucepan over low heat. You may need to add a splash of milk to thin out the mac and cheese sauce and prevent the pasta from drying out.
What to Serve with Mac and Cheese
I’ll admit, sometimes this simple mac and cheese recipe gets served by itself when I’m short on time. But I prefer serving it as a side to one of the following main dishes:
- Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
- Baked Chicken Breasts
- Honey Baked Ham
- Slow Cooker Ribs
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
- Oven Fried Chicken
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Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese
- Don’t use pre-shredded cheese or the sauce might end up grainy and gritty. Shred it yourself for a nice smooth sauce.
- If you don’t have mustard powder, substitute 1 tsp prepared mustard (regular or dijon).
- Don’t rinse the pasta. It adds starches and helps thicken up the sauce and keeps the sauce clinging to the pasta.
- Want a crunchy topping? Try sautéing panko bread crumbs in a skillet in a little melted butter or olive oil until golden brown. Sprinkle over individual servings so it stays crisp.
More Easy Side Dish Recipes You’ll Love:
- Grilled Corn on the Cob
- Scalloped Potatoes
- One Hour Dinner Rolls
- Macaroni Salad
- Fruit Salad
- Garlic Mashed Potatoes