Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (Boiled in Milk)

homemade macaroni and cheese in bowl

Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the creamiest, dreamiest version of an all-American favorite! No one can resist a savory combination of a creamy cheddar cheese base blended with macaroni noodles, and it couldn’t be easier made on the stovetop.

Serve this creamy homemade mac and cheese with a fresh tossed salad, some garlic bread, and roasted broccoli for the perfect rounded meal!

Creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese in a cooking dish with a wooden spoon.

How to Make Stove Top Mac and Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese is the creamiest version! The secret to this recipe is that the pasta is boiled in milk (which means only one pot for easy clean up). It’s as easy as 1,2,3!

  1. Combine milk, garlic powder, butter and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Add in the macaroni noodles and reduce the heat to low (adding liquid as needed). Cook until the noodles are tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Once the pasta is fully cooked, add the rest of the ingredients and stir until melted.

The final result is a smooth and hearty easy family entrée that everyone will love and want seconds of!

Troubleshooting

This recipe is really easy to make but here are a few to tips to make sure it comes out creamy.

When the macaroni is done cooking in the milk, you do not want it dry.  You may need to add more milk/water to the pot while it is cooking. The macaroni noodles should be as moist as the photo on the top right below BEFORE you add in the cheese.  Once you add the cheese, remove it from the stove and stir until the cheese has melted.

Keep in mind, pre-shredded cheese often has additives to keep it from clumping. These additives can cause it to be grainy instead of creamy.

Process shots of stovetop macaroni and cheese being made from the pasta being cooked to the cheese being added.

What Goes with Mac and Cheese?

Everything goes with stovetop mac and cheese! A salad with a bright balsamic vinaigrette, or a crusty loaf with Homemade Garlic Butter can round out this meal.

Fresh fruit salad or a tangy gelatin dessert go well for with this rich macaroni. When you serve this creamy stovetop mac and cheese, almost anything goes.

Add ins: You can get creative with this recipe. Add in bacon, jalapenos, canned tuna, peas, even topping mac and cheese with fresh pico de gallo!

Cheese being stirred into stovetop macaroni and cheese with a wooden spoon.

Got Leftovers?

Mac and Cheese leftovers can last 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat on low on the stove top (or in them microwave) and add a splash of milk to keep it creamy.

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese? The best creamy mac and cheese recipes are served just as they’re made, including this one. This recipe doesn’t freeze well.

More Mac and Cheese Love

Extra Creamy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

If you love rich and creamy Macaroni and Cheese then this homemade stovetop recipe is for you!!

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In a saucepan combine a pinch of salt, milk, garlic powder, onion powder, butter and water. Bring to a boil.

  2. Add in macaroni noodles, reduce heat to low.
  3. Continue to simmer stirring frequently until noodles are cooked (about 20 minutes).

  4. Watch to make sure the liquid doesn’t completely evaporate. You can add extra milk 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid is low.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, ensure the noodles are not dry. They should be as moist as the photo above before adding cheese. Stir in cream cheese until melted.

  6. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Cover for 3 minutes.

Recipe slightly adapted from Plain Chicken.

REPIN this Easy Stovetop Recipe

This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop
This one pot stovetop mac and cheese is seriously good. Homemade mac and cheese is always better, and making this cheesy comfort food couldn't be easier thanks to the stove top! #spendwithpennies #macandcheese #stovetopmacandcheese #macaroniandcheese #macaroni #cheese #stovetop