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!
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 make it perfect!
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.
- Shredded Cheese
- Cooked Noodles (any shape/size)
For the exact amounts needed, please see the recipe card below.
🍽 Equipment Needed
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Check out how to make creamy mac and cheese with these simple step-by-step instructions:
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.
Stir to combine.
Scoop and serve. Enjoy!
🍴 Recipe Tips
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 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. 😉
I personally love 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 or on the counter for a few hours before baking.
Some More Great Pasta Recipes to Try!
- Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
- Easy Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet
- Creamy Roasted Garlic and Tomato Pasta
- Mac and Cheese Tuna Casserole
- Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Bake
- Cream Cheese Bacon Pasta Bake
5 Ingredient Mac and Cheese
- 4 cups Shredded Cheese (16 ounces) ($3.72)
- 16 oz Boxed noodles ($1.00)
- 2 cup Milk ($0.38)
- ¼ cup Flour ($0.02)
- 2 tablespoon Butter ($0.18)
- 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.
- These cheesy noodles taste great from the pot but can be placed into a greased baking dish and topped with additional cheese before being baked until warmed through. If you plan on baking this pasta, only use half of the requested flour.
- Additional spices are always nice. What this recipe is, is a nice base to build up off of. I often like to add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper and paprika for color.
- You can use any cheese desired. I love medium and sharp cheddar cheese, but you can use Colby jack, mozzarella, or a mix of different shredded cheeses.
- Gluten free. You can make this recipe gluten free by using gluten free flour and gluten free noodles.
Make Ahead Instructions
- Prepare the macaroni as directed and keep it covered in the fridge in a baking dish. Bake in the oven until warmed through when you are ready to serve. About 30 minutes at 350 degrees F.
- Leftovers can last up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- You can freeze this recipe in a well covered disposable baking pan for up to 3 months. You can bake from frozen, adding additional baking time, or you can thaw on the counter for a few hours before baking as directed.