Mac and easy homemade cheese (stovetop)

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This easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is made with 8 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stove (no baking required)! Time to get rid of boxed macaroni and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth and cheesy homemade recipe!

I have five children and a husband with a 12-year-old boy's flavor palette, which means we eat some macaroni and cheese at home. Lots of macaroni and cheese.

So naturally, I created this super easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe so that we could consume fewer of the boxed varieties. Because I really care about feeding my family healthy meals that they really enjoy! And did I mention that they are macaroni and cheese? ­čśë

Once you try this homemade macaroni and cheese, you and your family will say goodbye to cheese powder forever and say hello to this creamy and dreamy version of real cheese over and over again!

This homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is made with just 8 ingredients in 15 minutes! It's the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed varieties, but no preservatives or artificial ingredients!

How is homemade Mac and cheese made?

Step 1: gather and measure the ingredients

This easy macaroni and cheese recipe is super fast once you start cooking, so it's important to have all the ingredients measured and ready to go. As you can see, there are only eight common ingredients in this recipe that most of us have on hand at all times! We will discuss ingredients and possible substitutions later in this post (just above the recipe card).

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Step 2: cook the macaroni

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Be sure to add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the boiling water. It may seem like an insignificant step, but it makes a huge difference to the overall flavor of this simple homemade macaroni and cheese (or any pasta dish for that matter)!

Step 3: make the cheese sauce

While the macaroni is cooking, make the cheese sauce! It is really easy, but there are a few notes we will review to ensure your success!

Make a Roux.

This homemade macaroni and cheese sauce starts with a roux. What is a roux? It is a mixture of fat (usually butter) and flour that is used to create thick sauces. Start by melting the butter (don't let it brown) and then add the dry ingredients (flour, salt and garlic powder).

Use a mixer to combine the ingredients until the mixture is homogeneous (uniform). Let it cook (you will see it bubble) for about 60 seconds before continuing!

Add wet ingredients.

After the roux has cooked for 60 seconds, add the milk and beat the mixture very well. Add sour cream or Greek yogurt and beat again. At this point, the mixture will be quite liquid. Cook over medium heat, beating every 10-15 seconds until the sauce begins to thicken.

DO NOT let this mixture boil! If you do, you may end up with a thick macaroni and cheese sauce. Once the sauce has thickened enough to stick to a spatula, lower the heat. So it's time for the next step …

Add cheese and beat until smooth

Add cheese and beat until sauce is smooth and all cheese is melted. This will take 1-2 minutes over low heat! At this point, it is important to try the homemade macaroni and cheese sauce and adjust the salt / garlic according to your taste.

Step 4: combine cheese sauce and cooked macaroni

Once the cheese sauce is smooth as silk, turn off the heat, add the cooked pasta, and stir to combine. The sauce thickens as it cools, so keep that in mind!

Step 5: Serve!

Serve this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe on its own for an easy lunch or dinner! My children love chopped hot dogs. I enjoy eating a small portion with a giant salad! You can also serve this homemade mac and cheese as an easy garnish for a barbecue or a shared meal!

What can I add to Mac & Cheese?

If you are looking for a special way to serve this easy macaroni and cheese recipe, here are a few suggestions for delicious toppings:

  • cooked and minced bacon
  • hot dogs (a children's favorite, as mentioned above)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, peas, carrots, etc.)
  • Chopped garlic and diced onion (cook in butter before adding flour when making roux, you may need 1 additional TBS butter if you want to add this)
  • Hot sauce, tomato sauce or barbecue sauce

Homemade Mac and Cheese FAQ

How are macaroni and cheese stored?

Store the leftovers from this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Since it thickens as it cools, you may need to add 1-2 tablespoons of milk when it is reheated to restore its original creaminess.

Can you freeze homemade macaroni and cheese?

Yes, you can freeze this homemade mac and cheese, however I don't recommend it. Since this macaroni and cheese recipe is so easy to make, there's really no need to freeze it. If you're looking for a freezer-friendly macaroni and cheese recipe, check out my baked macaroni and cheese!

Which main course goes well with macaroni and cheese?

If you're looking to serve this macaroni and cheese recipe as a garnish instead of the main event, here are a few suggestions for other dishes that pair well with it:

  • meatloaf (recipe coming soon)
  • Barbecue (hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, etc.)
  • big salad (like this burrata salad)!
  • fried chicken (classic)
  • This roasted balm(one of our favorite main dishes)!
  • Serve it with this avocado chicken salad!
  • For a truly kid-friendly dinner, serve it up with these healthy Sloppy Joes!

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe: Ingredients and Substitutions

Here are some notes on the ingredients in this easy macaroni and cheese recipe, as well as possible substitutions.

  • Macaroni. I've used almost all varieties of noodles in the sun to make this macaroni and cheese recipe and it's always delicious! I recommend a form (bow ties, rotini, etc.) instead of spaghetti noodles, but they work if that's all you have! You can also use gluten-free pasta, whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, etc. etc.
  • Butter. There really is no substitute for butter in this recipe. However, you can use salt or salt-free with excellent results!
  • All-purpose flour. There are a few substitutions that work well for flour, including cornstarch, tapioca starch / flour, and all-purpose gluten-free flour. I don't recommend whole wheat flour as it gives this macaroni and cheese recipe a wheat flavor.
  • Milk. Any type of liquid dairy works well in this recipe. Just remember that the higher the fat content, the creamier your homemade macaroni and cheese will be (so I don't recommend using skim milk). 2% milk, whole milk, half and half and cream, everything works fine! My favorite is whole milk!
  • Sour cream. I have used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream with excellent results. I would save that I made it equally with sour cream and Greek yogurt and my family can never tell the difference! Sure, you use a low-fat variety of any of these ingredients, but you will sacrifice the creaminess of the end result.
  • Cheese. NOTE: The quality of the cheese you use in this homemade macaroni and cheese recipe really matters. If you wouldn't eat it alone, don't use it to make macaroni and cheese! I recommend high quality medium to strong cheddar cheese for the best flavor!
  • Salt pepper. Add these ingredients to taste!
  • Garlic powder. This ingredient is optional, but I think it adds a touch of flavor that takes this macaroni and cheese recipe to a higher level without making it unpleasant for children. Adjust the amount to suit your family's tastes!

Can you make this gluten-free macaroni and cheese?

YES! Making this gluten-free macaroni and cheese recipe is SO easy! Just use your favorite gluten-free pasta and all-purpose gluten-free flour, and you're done! You have delicious gluten-free creamy macaroni and cheese!

Easy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This easy homemade macaroni and cheese recipe is made with 6 ingredients in 15 minutes on the stove (no baking required)! Time to get rid of boxed macaroni and cheese for this irresistibly creamy, smooth and cheesy homemade recipe! Preparation time: 5 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 15 minutes Servings: 8 Servings: Calories: 271.1kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 oz raw elbow macaroni

Cheese sauce:

  • 2 butter spoons
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ┬Ż teaspoon of sea salt
  • ┬╝ teaspoon garlic powder (optional but recommended)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ┬╝ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Usual US USA

Instructions

  • Cook the macaroni elbow according to the package directions. Be sure to add ┬╝ teaspoon of salt to the water used to boil the noodles. Drain and set aside.

Prepare the cheese sauce:

  • Mix flour, sea salt, and garlic powder in small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
  • Add flour mixture and dressing gown to combine.
  • Cook for 1 minute until mixture is lightly browned.
  • Add 1 cup of milk and beat until mixture is smooth.
  • Add sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and beat until smooth.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens (about 3-5 minutes). Don't let it boil.
  • Once the mixture is thick (sticks to the back of the spatula), reduce the heat to low and add cheese. Whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Try and add more salt / seasoning if desired.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce pot and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed.
  • Let the mac and cheese cool for 3-5 minutes or until the cheese sauce has thickened a little and sticks to the noodles. Serve hot!

Notes

Storage and reheating

  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat on the stove or in the microwave. You may need to add another 1-2 tablespoons of milk to make the mac and cheese creamy again after storing!

Ingredient substitutions:

Here are some notes on the ingredients in this easy macaroni and cheese recipe, as well as possible substitutions.

  • Macaroni. I've used almost all varieties of noodles in the sun to make this macaroni and cheese recipe and it's always delicious! You can also use gluten-free pasta, whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, etc. etc.
  • All-purpose flour. There are a few substitutions that work well for flour, including cornstarch, tapioca starch / flour, and all-purpose gluten-free flour.
  • Milk. Any type of liquid dairy works well in this recipe. Just remember that the higher the fat content, the creamier your homemade mac and cheese will be. 2% milk, whole milk, half and half and cream, everything works fine!
  • Sour cream. I have used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream with excellent results.
  • Cheese. I recommend high quality medium to strong cheddar cheese for the best flavor!
  • Garlic powder. This ingredient is optional, but I think it adds a touch of flavor that takes this macaroni and cheese recipe to a higher level without making it unpleasant for children. Adjust the amount to your family's tastes!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories :: 271.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.3g | Protein: 12.3 g | Fat: 13.8g | Saturated Fats: 8.5g | Polyunsaturated fats: 0.4g | Monounsaturated fat: 3.5g | Cholesterol: 41.7mg | Sodium: 351 mg | Potassium: 102.8mg | Fiber: 1.1g | Sugar: 2.6g | Vitamin A: 460 IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 252mg | Iron: 0.3mg

MORE DELICIOUS MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES:

  • For a low carb version, try this spaghetti squash macaroni and cheese!
  • This baked macaroni and cheese It can be done gluten free!
  • Add some nutrition and do this Mac vegetables and cheese!

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