Creamy stovetop mac and cheese is rich, flavorful, and filled with gruyere and cheddar cheeses. Use macaroni or shells to create this homemade comfort food side dish.
Creamy stovetop mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food side dish. It's rich, cheesy, and filled with flavor. My mac and cheese recipe is filled with sharp cheddar cheese and gruyere cheese for maximum cheese flavor.
You'll love this macaroni and cheese because it's made on the stovetop only, so it comes together quickly. The sauce is creamy and smooth, not grainy or stringy. Once you try it, this will be your new go-to recipe.
Ingredients and substitutions
Macaroni can be substituted with shells or any other medium sized dried pasta.
This recipe can be made with all gruyere or all sharp cheddar cheese, but I enjoy the flavor from blending the two cheeses together.
I use and recommend whole milk for this recipe, but any milk you have on hand will work. Keep in mind that a lower fat % of milk (like 1% or skim) will make a thinner cheese sauce.
Freshly shredded cheese
The ingredient that I feel is most important in achieving a creamy and smooth macaroni and cheese is, of course, the cheese! Many pre-shredded bags of cheese are dusted with powder to prevent the cheese from clumping together.
Unfortunately, when you use this type of cheese to melt into a sauce, it can get grainy from the powder. Instead, I recommend grating your own cheese.
So, grab a block of cheddar and a block of gruyere and grate them down. I like to use the large grate on a box grater because it takes less time to grate and melts just as easily. Or, if you have a food processor with the correct attachment, grating a block of cheese can be done in seconds.
What to serve with mac and cheese
Serve mac and cheese with a main course, or with an additional side to make a complete meal!
- Chicken Cheesesteak Sandwiches
- Crispy Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
- Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches
- Cheesesteak Style Sloppy Joes
- Oven Roasted Brats with Onions and Peppers
- Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
- Strawberry Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Winter Chopped Salad
- Roasted Zucchini and Squash
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Green Beans and Onions
Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 8 ounces macaroni, uncooked
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- 6 ounces gruyere cheese, freshly shredded
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- Cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain, set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir to combine, creating a paste. Cook for 1 minute. Add milk, salt, pepper, paprika, and ground mustard, and whisk constantly to combine. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until mixture thickens slightly.
- Reduce heat to low. Add shredded cheeses and stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated.
- Add drained macaroni and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
- Recipe can be made with all shredded cheddar, or all gruyere cheese if preferred.
- Cheese sauce too thick? Add a splash of milk.
- Recipe can be made with macaroni, shells, or your favorite medium sized pasta.
I've made this four times now and followed the recipe to the letter. The flavor is amazing but the sauce is always grainy. Suggestions?
Hi Don, the sauce can get grainy for a few reasons. If you're using pre-shredded cheese it can add a grainy texture due to the powders added to prevent clumping. If the cheese gets too hot while/after melting into the sauce, it can cause the fats to separate and add a grainy texture. I'd suggest stirring over low heat until the cheese has just melted, then remove from heat before adding your macaroni.
Excellent recipe. We enjoyed the flavor and creaminess. Thank you for sharing!
Yummy! Really easy to follow instructions, super simple and so fast to put together. I’ve made stovetop macaroni that had too much flour (or was it too little butter?), but this was pretty nice. Easy enough to adjust cheese and use less and add broccoli and rotisserie chicken for a complete meal. Thanks for such a great, usable recipe!