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Our family favorite One Pot Mac and Cheese is made on the stove top in 30 minutes and with 4 different types of cheese! Creamy rich cheese sauce and elbow macaroni pasta makes this recipe so comforting and delicious.

For more family favorite mac and cheese recipes be sure and try this Copycat Chick-Fil-A Mac and Cheese, try making Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, or make a complete meal with this One Pot Turkey Chili Mac and Cheese dinner recipe. 

One ceramic pot with the macaroni and cheese inside of it with a wooden spoon.

One Pot Mac and Cheese (Stovetop Recipe)

Skip the boxed stuff and make this picky eater approved creamy mac and cheese recipe for family dinner on busy weeknights. Made with elbow macaroni and then it’s smothered in an extra creamy and cheesy sauce!

This one-pot mac and cheese is so much better than the boxed version with a rich and creamy cheese sauce with 4 different types of cheese! It’s great served as a side dish or as the main dish that all kids (and adults!) will love.

Close up photo of Mac and cheese with a serving spoon inside the dish.

Ingredients Needed To Make Homemade Mac and Cheese In One Pot

  1. Elbow Macaroni : Elbow macaroni is the classic pasta shape to use for mac and cheese, but any short pasta can be used like medium shells, small shells, or mini sized pasta shapes. 
  2. Butter : Salted butter or unsalted butter can be used with great results. If using salted butter, you may want to reduce the kosher salt slightly (if wanted) to avoid too much salt. Start with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, if using salted butter, and increase as needed. 
  3. All-Purpose Flour
  4. Whole Milk : I don’t recommend using anything lower in fat than whole milk. 
  5. Heavy Cream
  6. Cream Cheese : Make sure you are using the bar of cream cheese, that comes wrapped in the foil, rather than the spreadable tub cream cheese which is softer.
  7. Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese : Shred the cheese from a block of cheese. You only need 4 ounces which is half of an 8 ounce block of cheese. 
  8. Shredded Monterey Jack Cheese : Again, buy a block of cheese and shred the cheese yourself using a box grater. 
  9. Parmesan Cheese : I prefer shredding the parmesan cheese from a wedge of fresh parmesan. 
  10. Kosher Salt : This is the preferred salt because it enhances flavors without making the dish taste ‘salty’.
Labeled ingredients

How To Make Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Using a large pot, boil the pasta water, add the uncooked pasta and cook according to the package directions. When done, drain the pasta in a colander (do not rinse it) and set it aside for later. 

process images for how to make this recipe

In the same pot, over medium-high heat, add the butter and flour. Let it melt while whisking frequently. Once combined and the butter is melted, let it cook while whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes or until it forms a thick paste.

Slowly add in the whole milk and heavy cream, while whisking constantly, until it’s fully combined. Let the mixture cook for several minutes (5-7 minutes), while stirring occassionly, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 

process images for how to make this recipe

Stir in the cream cheese until combined and smooth. 

Slowly add in the shredded cheese, one handful at a time, and mix well after each addition until smooth. 

Stir in the kosher salt. 

process images for how to make this recipe

Add the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is fully coated in the cheese sauce. Serve immediately.

process images for how to make this recipe

How To Store Mac and Cheese

If you have leftover macaroni and cheese, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To reheat, place the leftover Mac and cheese inside a small pot on the stove top along with 1 tablespoon of milk, and heat over medium-low heat, until heated through. Alternatively, you can microwave leftovers with a splash of milk.

Overhead pic of the pot of macaroni and cheese and a serving bowl of it.

What Types of Cheeses Can Be Used In Mac and Cheese?

Several types of cheese will work well in this easy mac recipe. Ideally you want to use a creamy cheese that melts well which is why the specific cheeses are called for in the recipe. Other great options are Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, Fontina, sharp Cheddar cheese, or Mozzarella cheese. Any cheese that you can find in block form will work well in this recipe. Use several cheeses for the best flavor. For the best results make sure you are shredding the cheese yourself from a block of cheese rather than using the bagged pre-shredded cheese.

Serving bowl of this recipe with a spoon.

Tips For Making Homemade Mac and Cheese

  • Skip The Pre-Shredded Cheese : For the best creamy sauce (and thick sauce!) I recommend NOT using the bagged, pre-shredded cheeses in this recipe. Buy block of cheese and shred it yourself using a box grater. 
  • Additional Seasonings : If wanted, feel free to add some additional flavor and seasonings depending on preferences. Dried mustard powder, garlic powder, or a dash of hot sauce or all classic add-ins for mac and cheese. 
  • Al Dente Pasta or Softer Pasta : Cook the elbow macaroni pasta depending on how firm or soft you want it. My family likes softer pasta so I always cook it for 1-2 minutes past the al dente time that is listed on the back of the pasta box. 
Pot of Mac and cheese with a wooden spoon in it.

More One Pot Recipes To Try

Pot of Mac and cheese with a wooden spoon in it.
Together As Family Logo

One Pot Mac and Cheese


Author Jessica – Together as Family
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8
Our family favorite One Pot Mac and Cheese is made on the stove top in 30 minutes and with 4 different types of cheese! Creamy rich cheese sauce and elbow macaroni pasta makes this recipe so comforting and delicious.

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (half of an 8 oz bar)
  • 4 ounces mild cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 ounces monterey jack cheese shredded
  • 1/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  • Using a large pot, over high heat, boil water to cook the pasta in.
    Once boiling, add the uncooked pasta and cook according to the package directions. When done, drain the pasta in a colander and rinse it under cold water. Set it aside for later.
    1 box (16 oz) elbow macaroni
  • In the same pot, over medium-high heat, add the butter and flour. Let it melt while whisking frequently. Once combined and the butter is melted, let it cook while whisking constantly for 2-3 minutes or until it forms a thick paste.
    4 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Slowly add in the whole milk and heavy cream, while whisking constantly, until it's fully combined. Let the mixture cook for several minutes (5-7 minutes), while stirring occassionly, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. 
    1½ cups whole milk, 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Stir in the cream cheese until combined and smooth. 
    4 ounces cream cheese
  • Slowly add in the shredded cheese, one handful at a time, and mix well after each addition until smooth.
    4 ounces mild cheddar cheese, 4 ounces monterey jack cheese, 1/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Stir in the kosher salt. 
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Add the cooked macaroni into the cheese sauce and stir until the pasta is fully coated in the cheese sauce. Serve immediately.

Notes

    • Skip The Pre-Shredded Cheese : For the best creamy sauce (and thick sauce!) I recommend NOT using the bagged, pre-shredded cheeses in this recipe. Buy block of cheese and shred it yourself using a box grater. 
    • Additional Seasonings : If wanted, feel free to add some additional flavor and seasonings depending on preferences. Dried mustard powder, garlic powder, or a dash of hot sauce or all classic add-ins for mac and cheese.
    • Butter : Salted butter or unsalted butter can be used with great results. If using salted butter, you may want to reduce the kosher salt slightly (if wanted) to avoid too much salt. Start with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, if using salted butter, and increase as needed. I use salted butter and keep the kosher salt to 1 teaspoon when I make this recipe. Mac and Cheese craves salt and needs it to help flavor the cheese sauce and bland pasta. 
    • Al Dente Pasta or Softer Pasta : Cook the elbow macaroni pasta depending on how firm or soft you want it. My family likes softer pasta so I always cook it for 1-2 minutes past the al dente time that is listed on the back of the pasta box. 
  •  
  •  

Nutrition

Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 650mg | Potassium: 260mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 942IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 349mg | Iron: 1mg

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