Classic Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 35 min
  • Active: 25 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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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 cheese (about 4 ounces)

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

2 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces


  1. Bring a large wide pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.
  2. Melt the butter in the pot over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, mustard powder and paprika; cook, whisking, 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.
  3. Add the pasta to the sauce; toss, adding the reserved cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt.