This Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese is all made in one pot! The sauce is incredibly silky, cheesy and the pasta is cooked to perfection. On the table in 20 minutes!
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4.88 from 72 votes

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe video above. This classic Macaroni and Cheese just happens to be made in one pot! Though made with the usual ingredients, the sauce is extra silky and glossy, and it clings to the macaroni without having to make make the sauce super thick because the pasta is cooked in the sauce. So there's no risk of gluggy Mac N Cheese or overcooked pasta. 
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time18 mins
Course: Dinner, Side
Cuisine: Western
Keyword: Mac and Cheese
Servings: 5 -6
Calories: 472kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 50 g / 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk (full fat preferred but low fat is ok)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 250 g / 2 1/2 cups elbow macaroni , uncooked
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese (Cheddar, Colby, Gruyere) , shredded (Note 1)
  • Salt and pepper

Seasonings (optional)

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder


  • Melt butter in a medium pot or large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add about 3/4 cup of milk and mix into butter mixture - it will become a slurry pretty quickly.
  • Add remaining milk and mix so the slurry mixes in. Then add water and Seasonings.
  • Add macaroni and mix. Stir occasionally as it comes to heat. When you see wisps of steam as you stir, lower the heat down to medium low.
  • Stir regularly as it cooks for 9 - 10 minutes (it will bubble gently), or until the sauce thickens and the macaroni is just cooked - tender but still firm. It should still be saucey at this stage and thinner than you want.
  • Take it off the stove and stir the cheese in quickly. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. <- In this step, the sauce thickens and reduces considerably.
  • Serve immediately!!


1. I like to use a mix of mozzarella (because it melts so well) and some cheddar or tasty cheese for flavour. But you could just skip the mozzarella - I don't recommend using just mozzarella (not enough flavour).
Other options: Gruyere, Colby, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, Provolone can be used in place of the cheddar.
AUSTRALIA: Do not use Tasty Cheese! I have found that some brands can result in the sauce being a bit floury. Some are ok, some are not - safer to say don't use Tasty Cheese! 
2. This recipe is pretty forgiving as long as you take it off the stove before the sauce reduces so much it disappears! The liquid to pasta ratio is such that by the time the liquid reduces down to make a sauce, the pasta is just cooked.
* Pasta keeps cooking in the sauce after you take it off the stove. So take it off when it is still a teeny bit firm!
* The sauce thickens ALOT after you take it off the stove when you stir the cheese in and simply by stirring it. It is better to take the pot off the stove too early than too late.
* If you take the pot off too late at the sauce becomes too thick, just add a splash of milk or water. Easy fix!
* If you take it off too early, just pop it back on the stove.
3. I make my stovetop Mac and Cheese in one pot because I think it comes out better, using just the traditional ingredients. The reason is because the starch in the pasta releases into the sauce as it cooks, making it silky, glossy and it clings to the pasta. This is a technique used by Italians for all their pastas. Read more in the post!
4. My Baked Mac and Cheese is made differently, but you can bake this one too. Mix panko breadcrumbs with butter and parmesan, take the pot off the stove before it's done but enough sauce has reduced so the breadcrumbs will stay on top, then pop under grill/broiler for a few minutes. During this time the pasta will continue to cook. This recipe is very forgiving so don't stress if your timing is a bit out!
5. Nutrition per serving, assuming 5 servings. I only use a pinch of salt in this because I find the cheese is salty enough.


Serving: 211g | Calories: 472kcal | Carbohydrates: 46.3g | Protein: 19.9g | Fat: 22.9g | Saturated Fat: 14.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7.8g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 343mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 5.9g