Stove Top Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

I probably love Kraft Macaroni and Cheese a lot more than I should, especially in their small microwaveable single-serving containers. It's a quick snack and very handy if I'm on the way out the door and don't have time to make anything else. But when I do have the time, I really do enjoy a homemade stove top macaroni and cheese recipe, as opposed to the one that comes in the blue box.  There is just something incredibly creamy and comforting about macaroni and cheese cooked stove-top style as opposed to baked mac and cheese, and it certainly takes a lot less time than the baked recipe as well!

Since there are quite a few different ways to make stove top mac and cheese, I thought I would share some of my favorite recipes. But for my top fave, you'll need to check out another hub for Alton' Brown's Stovetop Mac & Cheese recipe. This is the recipe that convinced me that I prefer stove top to baked, so be sure to check it out if you find the notion dubious. You will be convinced! Stovetop Mac & Cheese is just yummier! Especially when it is homemade.

Yummy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
Yummy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Choosing and Adapting Recipes

You'll note that most of these recipes are very similar, but one or two changes in key ingredients can make a big difference in both texture and taste. For example, some recipes call for evaporated milk while others use half and half. Others are roux-based (with flour), but quite a few recipes dispense with the roux in favor of a much faster and easier stove top recipe.

I think the key is to find a base recipe that you like and then experiment with various additions. For example, try substituting sour cream for some of the half and half. Try changing up the pasta. Elbows are traditional, but Rotini or shells is fun too.

Or try different cheeses. Cheddar is traditional, but try a mix of Colby and Cheddar or how about a package of the Mexican shredded cheese combined with Cheddar for a bit more bite. One idea I've seen suggested is to use Applewood smoked cheddar. I think that sounds great and plan on trying it, and then I will add some crushed up Applewood-smoked bacon bits as a garnish because I think everything tastes better with bacon!

And don't forget, you don't need to miss out on the crunchy baked goodness of baked mac & cheese. Once your stovetop dish is completed, just toss it into a casserole dish, spread some crushed croutons or breadcrumbs across it and then bake for a few minutes. You'll get that tasty crunchy topping in a lot less time.

Chow's Stovetop Mac & Cheese Recipe

Chowhounders love to eat and so its not surprising that the folks at Chow have a great mac & cheese recipe. The tabasco is reminiscent of Alton Brown's recipe, except this one calls for half and half instead of evaporated milk and doesn't use any eggs Also, with the recipe calling for 1 ½ lbs of elbows (you are going to need a big pot!), the servings are quite a bit larger.

Chow Stovetop Mac & Cheese Recipe


  • 1 1/2 pounds elbow macaroni pasta
  • 16 ounces shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 6 cups)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco


  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Drain pasta and return to the pot over very low heat. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cheese is melted. Season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed and serve.

stovetop mac and cheese
stovetop mac and cheese

Roux-based Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

For a more traditional recipe, here's a great one that you can build on. It's a plain, but tasty recipe and it just calls out for some additions, I think. Serving 4, this recipe comes from Everyday with Rachel Ray. That link will take you to a photo how-to guide as well.


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half, warmed
  • One 8-ounce bag shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)
  • Salt


  1. In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the macaroni until al dente; drain in a colander.

  2. In the same saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the warmed half-and-half and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is steaming hot and thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheddar until melted. Stir in the cooked macaroni and season to taste with salt.

More Mac & Cheese Recipes I like

For some interesting flavor ideas for making your stovetop macaroni and cheese more exciting, here are links to some of my favorites. Just try out a new one whenever you feel like you are getting bored with your current favorite.

Also, if you just really cannot get enough of mac and cheese in general, be sure to check out  We Heart Mac & Cheese. It is an awesome blog all about cheesy goodness!

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Comments 1 comment

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fetty 6 years ago from South Jersey

Excellent, yummy hub. Mac N' Cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. This looks like a great hub to me with plenty of links to other great hubs about Mac N' Cheese. I bookmarked this for future use. Great hub!

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