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Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

If your kids are anything like mine macaroni and cheese is a food that is always at the top of their dinner or lunch request list. Unfortunately, although the boxed version is incredibly convenient and fast to make, it is full of preservatives whereas the baked version tastes amazing but can take about an hour to make. I wanted to figure out a version of macaroni and cheese that combined the best of both versions, something that was fast, easy to make, and tasted great.

Introducing my version of stovetop macaroni and cheese!

This recipe took as long as it took to boil the pasta making it about a 25 minute meal start to finish. I love that making it like this allows me to control what ingredients are put into the dish as well as the ability to adjust the flavors as I want. In fact, I had fun making different adult versions of macaroni and cheese by adding ingredients such as jalapenos, roasted red peppers, and bacon. The possibilities are endless!

This macaroni and cheese recipe allows for lots of versatility and works with whatever ingredients you have in your kitchen. I did not have the typical elbow macaroni today so I instead used penne pasta. I also like to adjust the type of cheeses I use depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. This particular day I used shredded colby jack, american, and parmesan cheese. Other options could include cheddar, gruyere, monterey jack, goat cheese, and any other cheeses you enjoy.

This is a fun meal to prepare with the kids and I know it will be a go-to recipe that I can fall back on when in a pinch. What different variations of this macaroni and cheese would you come up with?

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Crystal Archer @Kinda Sorta Simple
This stovetop macaroni and cheese is sure to please kids and adults alike, is healthier than boxed mac and cheese but easier than oven baked mac and cheese!
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 8 oz small pasta like elbow macaroni, penne pasta, bow ties
  • 1/2 cup butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt less if using salted butter
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 cup shredded cheese cheddar, American, monterey or colby jack, etc
  • dash of paprika optional


  • Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir continuously for about 2 minutes until smooth.
  • Gradually whisk in milk, stirring constantly, then add pepper, salt, and garlic powder, still stirring. Bring to a boil, 1-2 minutes, until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon.
  • Add cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted, 1-2 minutes. When pasta is done, drain and add to cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Serve immediately. Optional: Add a dash of pepper or paprika to taste.
Keyword easy weeknight dinner

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