This unassuming creamy stove-top macaroni and cheese is just so darn good! It’s super creamy and there’s a slight bite from the mustard and garlic powder. The whole thing can be thrown together in under 30 minutes and is great as a side dish or mix in some grilled chicken and broccoli to make it a standalone dish. The secret weapon? Condensed cheddar cheese soup.
There are two mac and cheese camps in my household: super stringy cheese pull or a creamy cheese sauce. I tend to lean towards the later for completely selfish reasons. Growing up, macaroni and cheese was not something we had on a regular basis. Woe to me…I know! **internet collectively rolls its eyes** When we did have it, it was either that infamous blue box with cheese powder or one from the frozen food section. For the record, I am not complaining as both options were equally delicious.
All this to say that this recipe brings me right back to my childhood and remains the ultimate comfort dish.
- This recipe calls for a roux, which is typically equal parts fat and flour that, when combined, help thicken a sauce. Since we are also using the condensed soup, the roux will need to be thinner than normal.
- Feel free to use whatever pasta you have on hand. I love making this using cavatappi, but elbow or medium shells work just fine.
- This recipe makes a lot of cheese sauce. How much of that sauce I use depends heavily on the type of pasta that I use and if I’m adding in any extras.
- Feel free to swap out the cheeses based off of your preferences. Gouda and Swiss are great options. For a more mild tasting sauce, you can opt for Monterey Jack. Steer clear of fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella or Feta. Although they are delicious, this isn’t the recipe for them.
- Be sure to reserve some of water you cooked the pasta in. The extra starch in the water ensures that the sauce will stick to the pasta.
This creamy stove-top macaroni and cheese is truly one of my favorites and I hope you’ll love it too. Let me know what you think! Enjoy 🙂
Creamy Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese
- 6 Quart Stock Pot or Dutch Oven
- 1.5 Quart Saucepan
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- 1 lbs pasta
- ½ cup reserved cooking water from pasta
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 10.5 oz can condensed cheddar cheese soup
- 2 slices american cheese
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup colby jack cheese shredded
- ½ tsp dry mustard powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp black pepper
- salt to taste
- Cook pasta according to instructions. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water from the pasta for later.
- Melt the butter in a 1.5 quart saucepan over medium heat. Once completely melted, add flour and stir to create a roux. Continue to cook over medium heat until the flour has a slightly nutty smell.
- Add milk and heavy cream. Stir consistently in one direction until it just comes to a boil.
- Add condensed cheddar cheese soup and stir until smooth.
- Turn the burner off and add the american, white cheddar, sharp cheddar, and colby jack cheese to the sauce. Stir until all the cheese has melted and there is one homogeneous sauce.
- Season the cheese sauce with mustard powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt to taste.
- Mix the sauce with the cooked pasta in increments until desired level of creaminess. Add the reserved cooking water if the mixture starts to thicken too much. Serve immediately.