Update: Originally shared in 2009, this popular mac & cheese recipe has new step-by-step photos, video and updated technique to satisfy all our hungry readers. Also, try this “healthier” version of Broccoli Mac and Cheese. It’s another reader favorite.
I’m calling for a mac and cheese recipe revolution. For those sweltering Summer days when cranking up the oven means turning our kitchen into a sauna, or for those times when I don’t want to be a dishwasher, but still want to have a satisfying home cooked meal, I need a meal that can be cooked fairly quickly and efficiently. Enter the solution and what I call, my mac and cheese revolution: the One Pot, Stove Top, Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe.
Start by boiling small macaroni in water on low simmer
constantly stir so that macaroni doesn’t stick
after macaroni is pre-cooked in water, add milk and simmer on low heat
when macaroni is plump, tender and cooked, add the cheese
optional- add toasted bread crumbs or panko for extra crunch and texture
It’s simple, clear, and considerate of everything we need in order to still eat well and prepare quickly, without compromising on quality and taste.
– One Pot – Yes, you read it correctly. All the raw macaroni is cooked in one pot, without a pre-boil step that most other stove top recipes require. There is no extra pot to pre-boil or wash. One pot means less dishes!
– Stove Stop- Stove top means NO oven. During our hot summer days, that last thing that I want is to turn on my oven and sweat even more just for a bowl of mac and cheese. The stove top method is a wonderful way of cooking the macaroni pasta, quickly and to your desired texture. I can control exactly how soft or al dente I want my macaroni to be.
– Creamy – This mac and cheese recipe is slowly cooked in water, then milk and a little butter. The cheese is added in the end and it’s so creamy and amazing.
– Flavor blasts with creative cheeses- Now that I’ve figured out how to cook it easily and still maintain great texture, now comes the best part—-great flavor! Have fun with this recipe and experiment with flavorful, cheeses that melt well. My favorite is using parmesan and asiago cheese because I can use less cheese and still have bold flavor. Every single bite is delicious.
I’m still a huge fan of oven baked mac and cheese because the warm, comforting, casserole bake can’t be compromised. The cheesy crusts are a show stopper too. But when I’m starving and the weather is scorching hot, the last thing I want to do is to blast that oven to 350 degrees.
happy mac and cheese times to you,
Toasted bread crumbs: I love toasted bread crumbs and it’s so easy to make. Just break up some old bread, heat it up on a skillet. Continue stirring until crumbs start to brown and become fragrant. Remove from heat and top off your macaroni and cheese!
Yield: Serves 3-4
**Update- Sept. 14, 2015: After intense re-testing, we've updated the recipe to boil the pasta in some water first, which will reduce the gummy/sticky results that some readers are getting. Then the milk is added afterwards to finish boiling/cooking and the results are even better!.
The input and advice from reader comments are extremely valuable. Technique is very vital to making this recipe a success, as well as the type of ingredients, milk, cheese & macaroni that you use.
The key to keeping this recipe creamy is to make sure the flame is low and to consistently stir the pot. We use the smaller size of mac elbows and they need to be cooked slowly in the water, then the milk. Medium to High heat will cause the milk to burn. Don't leave the pot unattended.
Obviously with the stove top, there won't be that cheesy crust that forms on top. But toppings of toasted bread crumbs or bacon should be a nice exchange.