Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

The creamiest, cheesiest macaroni and cheese could be yours in only 20 minutes.

Homemade with fresh ingredients. Real ingredients. On your table just as quickly as the processed-powdered-cheese-in-a-box-stuff.

While the pasta cooks you make a simple cheddar cheese sauce with milk, a touch of mustard (or not), salt and my secret weapon: cream cheese. Cream cheese adds flavor, a super creamy texture and thickens it without using flour.

I’m a macaroni and cheese snob. My Mom always made us baked macaroni and cheese growing up. We never had the blue boxes in our house. Then I grew up and made the packaged version for myself. It was nothing special when you’ve been eating homemade your entire life. Thanks Mom.

This is as close as you can get to mimicking store-bought without all the falseness of chemicals and preservatives.

A recipe for tried and true comfort.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings as a side dish

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Stove-top macaroni and cheese in less than 20 minutes!


8 ounces elbow pasta
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces cream cheese (light is ok - fat free isn't)
1/2 teaspoon yellow or Dijon mustard
1 + 1/2 - 2 cups fresh shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more if needed


  1. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile in a medium-sized saucepan warm the milk over medium heat, when you see wisps of steam rising off it turn heat down to medium-low and add cream cheese. Break the cream cheese apart and whisk until melted.
  3. Stir in mustard then add cheddar. Stir and/or whisk until cheddar is completely melted. Stir in salt. Remove from heat.
  4. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir until pasta is completely coated. Serve immediately.

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  1. says

    A quick and effortless mac and cheese in no tim flat — exactly what I have been looking for.. FOREVER. Especially one that uses real food and ingredients, much unlike the boxed crap (which is SO SO good nonetheless), but eating a bowl of the real stuff is just incomparable. I love this recipe Reeni and what pretty photos. Gorgeous!

  2. says

    With a pasta dish so rich and creamy you make me mouth-watering early in the morning dear! This looks great :) Bye, have a good week end

  3. says

    Cream cheese is a new mac n’ cheese ingredient for me, but I have no doubt it is spectacular in it! So creamy and yummy. I’m a bot of a macaroni and cheese fiend, especially this time of year. I just tried it using some sour cream this week and loved it. This looks perfect!

  4. says

    I’ve never tried making macaroni cheese using cream cheese before, I usually make a quick cheese sauce with butter, flour and milk (and cheese!) – but this looks gorgeous, I might have to try it your way next time :)

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