This simple 5 ingredient macaroni and cheese recipe is the base of all great cheesiness. Eat it straight from the pot or bake it in the oven for an easy baked mac and cheese, either way, it's delicious!
Simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese
I love mac and cheese, I mean who doesn't? It's a comfort dish that gets thousands of searches per month as people seek out the perfect recipe.
I love this one though! It's just creamy and smooth enough to taste great while not making a pile of cheesy soup on my plate (I'm not a fan of my food touching).
So it's filled with great cheesiness, it's an easy recipe, and it's not too wet or too dry. In my opinion, these things are what makes it perfect!
Easy Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients
- Shredded Cheese
- Cooked Noodles (any shape/size)
What You’ll Need to Make This Recipe
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Tips for Making Easy Homemade Mac and Cheese
These cheesy noodles taste great baked or from the stovetop. If you plan on baking it, use half of the requested flour because the noodle starches will help the sauce to thicken as it bakes. If you serve it from the stovetop, it's perfect as-is.
Sometimes I like to add in a few dashes of cayenne pepper to the cheese sauce. Not enough to make them spicy, but just enough to add in a little color and help bring the flavors of everything out that much more (like an enhancer).
Adding salt and pepper is a personal preference and these noodles should be seasoned to taste. So I don't mention them as ingredients, but you probably have them on hand already and know how to use them. 😉
FAQ's about Mac and Cheese
I personally love a medium or sharp cheddar cheese in my mac and cheese recipes. They give that strong flavor and color that I like to look for. That said, you can use any cheese you prefer (or a mixture of cheeses). Colby jack, mozzarella, and other shreddable cheese work great depending on the flavor and color you're looking for.
Oh, that's a tough question! Making mac and cheese with whatever noodles you have on hand can always be a winner with the kids. Even crazy rainbow rotini noodles can be seen as fun and exciting (although I'm not a fan of the color combination). Use whatever is on sale or that you have on hand and you can't go wrong.
Absolutely! If you plan on making it in advance (like a few hours or a day in advance of dinner,) you'll want to keep it covered in the fridge until you're ready to heat and eat. In this case, I'd keep it in a covered baking dish and heat it in the oven because it's super simple to do.
Yes, you can! I often find myself using rice noodles when my sister comes over for dinner and I swap out the flour for gluten free flour instead of all-purpose. This would make the dish gluten free (and celiac friendly).
Of course! This is a great dish to make and freeze for future meal! Simply make it as directed and then place it in a freezer friendly baking dish, covered in the freezer, until you're ready to eat.
You can bake it from frozen or let it thaw in the fridge overnight in the counter for a few hours before baking.
How to make creamy mac and cheese
Make noodles according to package directions, drain, and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, in a small pot melt your butter over medium heat.
Add in the flour and whisk until combined. It will create a few flour lumps, this is okay.
Slowly add in the milk and whisk together until smooth. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens (about 2-3 minutes).
Add in the cheese and continue whisking until it's well mixed and smooth.
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and stir to combine. Scoop and serve or place it in a baking dish and top with additional cheese.
Other Comfort Dishes to Try!
- Tater Tot Casserole
- Garlic and Brown Sugar Crusted Pork Roast
- Chicken Pot Pie Noodle Casserole
- Dairy Free Coleslaw
- Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken
Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese
- 8 oz Shredded Cheese (about 2 cups)
- 16 oz Boxed noodles, cooked per package directions
- 1 cup Milk
- 2 tablespoon Flour
- 2 tablespoon Butter
- Make the noodles according to the package directions, drain and then set aside.
- While the noodles are cooking, begin making your cheese sauce. In a small sauce pot, melt your butter over medium heat.
- Add in the flour and then whisk to combine. It will create a few flour lumps, but this is okay.
- Slowly add in the milk and whisk to combine. Whisk until the flour has dissovled and the mixture is smooth and thickened. (About 2-3 minutes)
- Add in the shredded cheese and continue to whisk until melted and thick.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked noodles and stir to combine. Scoop and serve.
For baked mac and cheese
- Place the cheesy noodles in a baking dish and then top with additional cheese(optional). Bake in the oven at 350F degrees for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
With this fast and simple creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe, you can have a tasty dish in no time. Serve it as a main dish or a side dish, and enjoy this quick and easy comfort dish.