Easy stovetop mac and cheese is a quick, delicious one-pot recipe with only a few ingredients. Perfect for when you want quick homemade mac & cheese flavor but don’t have time to bake it. There’s no need to open a box of mac and cheese with powdered cheese! All you need is pasta, evaporated milk, milk, salt, butter, and cheese. So good!
Who among us didn’t grow up eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese? You know, the kind that comes in the skinny little box with an envelope of orange powder that you sprinkle onto cooked elbow noodles and mix with milk and butter (or margarine-ewwww!). Then, Kraft introduced shells & cheese and it was like an epiphany. I’m not even joking. I mean, creamy orange sauce? Jackpot! My favorite part was how they marketed it as so cheesy that it should be called Kraft Cheese and Macaroni.?
The crazy part about it all is that my mom makes awesomely delicious homemade macaroni and cheese. Somewhere in my late teens or early twenties I figured out that I liked homemade macaroni and cheese wayyyyyyy better than anything out of a box. The best mac and cheese is, of course, made with a creamy bechamel sauce and lots of cheese, and, of course, baked in the oven. But sometimes you just don’t have time for baking macaroni and cheese!
Stovetop Mac and Cheese
So, what are you to do when you want the flavor of a homemade mac and cheese with the simplicity of that super-convenient boxed stuff? This stovetop mac and cheese recipe has you covered. The most complicated part of the recipe is grating cheese, and even though I always grate my own, I promise not to report you if you buy a bag of grated cheese.
We had this on a Saturday night after working all day at the shop. It was a perfect quick reheated dinner. You could add some taco meat or chicken and broccoli to make it even more filling. However you serve it, this is a great way to make an easy one-pot mac and cheese!
All you need for this mac and cheese recipe is:
- small pasta (I like shells, but elbows or penne would work too)
- evaporated milk
- grated cheese (I used cheddar here, but you could use whatever you like)
- salt and pepper
- cayenne, if you want
The Steps to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese:
- Gather ingredients – pasta, milk, evaporated milk, and salt.
- Combine these ingredients in a large saucepan.
- Cook the pasta on the stovetop until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add butter.
- Add cheese.
- Stir and serve!
- 12 ounce can evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces (2 1/2 cups) small pasta (such as elbow macaroni or small shells)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large saucepan, combine the pasta with the evaporated milk, the milk, the salt, and the pepper. Set the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer the pasta, stirring constantly, until the pasta is tender and the milks are almost completely absorbed.
- Remove the pasta from the heat. Stir in the butter and the cheese until completely melted. Salt and pepper to taste. Add a dash of cayenne if desired.