The Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Our super creamy, quick and easy stovetop mac and cheese is better than the boxed stuff, but just as satisfying. The combo of mild American and sharp Cheddar with cream cheese creates a perfectly balanced sauce that will please even the pickiest of palates.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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Ingredients

Kosher salt

8 ounces elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups grated sharp yellow Cheddar (about 4 ounces)

3 ounces sliced American cheese, diced (about 1/2 cup)

2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain.
  2. Melt the butter in the same pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, mustard powder and paprika; cook, whisking constantly, until smooth and slightly darker, about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly and comes to a simmer, 7 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar, American cheese and cream cheese until melted and remove from heat.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce; toss, adding some reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt.