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Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese is rich, creamy, and filled with cheddar cheese. Use macaroni or shells to create this ultimate comfort food side dish.
Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese is my favorite comfort food side dish. It’s rich, cheesy, and filled with pasta. I have long been on the hunt for the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe. I’ve tried many (it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it), and I am confident that I’ve perfected this recipe.
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 staple recipe.
The ingredient that I feel is most important in achieving a creamy and smooth macaroni and cheese is, of course, the cheese! 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 gets grainy from the powder substance. Instead, you’ll want to grate your own cheese.
So grab a block of cheddar (use your favorite, I prefer sharp!) and grate it down. I like to use the large grate because it takes less time and it melts into the sauce just as well. Or, if you have a food processor with the correct attachment, grating a block of cheese can be done in seconds.
My other ‘secret’ in this recipe is the addition of heavy cream in the last step. To me, this really amps up the creaminess of the sauce. If you don’t have heavy cream on hand, you can substitute with more milk instead.
Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese can be made with your favorite pasta shape, but the most popular are macaroni and shells. Which is your favorite?
Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- 6 ounces macaroni uncooked
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese freshly shredded
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. 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 and whisk constantly to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until mixture thickens.
- Reduce heat to low. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and ground mustard. Stir to combine. Add shredded cheese and heavy cream. Stir until cheese is melted and fully incorporated.
- Add drained macaroni and stir to combine. Remove from heat and serve immediately.