Stovetop Mac & Cheese

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Stovetop Mac & Cheese is quick, easy, and the creamiest mac ever! You'll love the seasonings and buttery, crunchy topping.

stovetop mac and cheese in a blue bowl with crunchy topping

Why You'll Love This Recipe

When I'm craving Mac & Cheese, I don't want to wait over an hour for it to bake in the oven or simmer in a crockpot. Neither does my family. Don't get me wrong, I love those versions too, but this recipe is for Stovetop Mac & Cheese emergencies.

You know what I'm talking about. Mac & Cheese makes everything better. If you're having a bad day...you want Mac & Cheese. Heck, there's not a single day that a bowl of creamy Mac & Cheese can't fix.

My mom knew about its healing powers. She was a Master of the Mac. There's no strange orange powder, eggs or flour in her recipe...just good quality cheddar cheese with butter and cream. Instant happiness.

The Secret Ingredients

The secret to excellent Mac & Cheese is in the cheese of course. You must grate the cheddar cheese by hand, because the shredded version has a powdered coating which prevents it from melting properly.

However, you can sprinkle shredded cheese over the top if you need extra for garnish (as I did in the pic). Either way, it's delicious.

The other secret ingredient in this recipe is cream cheese. Adding just a dab of it to the pasta after it has drained makes all the difference in creaminess and texture.

Shopping List

  • elbow macaroni pasta
  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • half & half cream
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • panko bread crumbs
  • butter

How to Make It

Boil 4 quarts of salted water in a large pot. Add pasta and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Drain pasta and place back in pot. 

Add butter and allow to melt into pasta. Slice cream cheese into wedges and stir into pasta until creamy. Add cheddar cheese and cream, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until melted and creamy (about 5 minutes). Add garlic salt and pepper, stir well.

Mix bread crumbs with butter and broil in oven for 5 minutes on a sheet pan until golden brown. Serve mac & cheese in bowls, and sprinkle toasted bread crumbs and extra cheese on top.

I don't care how old you are, a warm bowl of creamy Mac & Cheese will melt your cares away. Try Mom's recipe and let me know what you think!

More Pasta to Love

stovetop mac & cheese in a blue bowl

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Stovetop Mac & Cheese is ready in a snap when you have one of those cravings for creamy, cheesy goodness.  
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sides
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 682kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni pasta
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese softened
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese shredded by hand
  • ½ cup half & half cream
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Instructions

  • Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot.
  • Add pasta and boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Drain pasta and place back in pot. 
  • Add butter and allow to melt into pasta.  
  • Slice cream cheese into wedges and stir into pasta until creamy.
  • Add cheddar cheese and cream, stirring constantly over medium-low heat until melted and creamy (about 5 minutes).
  • Add garlic salt and pepper, stir well.
  • Mix bread crumbs with butter and broil in oven for 5 minutes on a sheet pan until golden brown.
  • Serve mac & cheese in bowls, and sprinkle toasted bread crumbs and extra cheese on top.

Notes

  • Shredding the cheese by hand makes a difference in the texture and taste.

Nutrition

Calories: 682kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Sodium: 1034mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 707mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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5 Comments

    1. Thanks, Dorris. I usually buy what's on sale, so any brand will do...as long as you shred it by hand.

  1. So for me I would saute' some onion and celery cut very fine, a little beef broth, add some hamburger, a 1/2 a can of fire roasted tomatoes, some more cheese, and Vic's garlic from the spice and tea exchange. Voila hamburger helper.

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