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Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese

Forget the boxes, the mixes, and don’t even think of waiting an hour for macaroni and cheese on a week night.   I have the super-fast solution for homemade macaroni and cheese, and it is SO good.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

I have something of an addiction to macaroni and cheese.   When I was a child I ate mac & cheese from the blue box at least once a week.  My mom just did not always feel up to making homemade side dishes every night, and I never complained!  When I got older I discovered a whole world of macaroni and cheese that did not involve powdered cheese and I have tried more than I care to tell you about.


The recipe I am about to share with you makes the creamiest macaroni and cheese I have ever made, and it is nearly as fast as making the stuff in the box.   I make this at the holidays now because it is more popular than the baked one I used to make.  In fact, my brother (who is himself something of a macaroni and cheese aficionado) told me that going forward this was the ONLY recipe I should use.  High praise indeed.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

One thing I feel I must add is that you really should grate your cheese fresh.  Cheeses that come ready-grated have anti-caking agents in them which change the way they melt.  They also change the overall texture of the cheese sauce.  Of course, if it makes your life easier you can use the ready-grated stuff but the sauce may not be as creamy.

Also, if you are watching your figure, as so many of us are, you can use reduced-fat cheese (this you must grate yourself, reduced-fat ready-grated cheese will not work).  You can also use 2% evaporated milk.  The results are just as creamy, just as delicious, but far kinder to your thighs.

Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
  • 8 ounces macaroni, or any smallish tube shaped pasta
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 ounces (about ⅔ cup) evaporated milk
  • 6 ounces (about 1 cup) freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, but reduce the cooking time by one minute. Drain and pour back into the cooking pot.
  2. Over medium-low heat, add the butter and stir until melted.
  3. In a small bowl combine the egg, milk, and spices. Whisk until thoroughly combined then pour over the pasta. Stir until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the cheese in four installments, making sure the first is melted completely before adding the next.

Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Serve immediately.

© 2009 – 2012, Evil Shenanigans – Baking & Cooking Blog. All rights reserved.

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128 Responses to “Stove-top Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. mmm . . . one of my favourite comfort foods. I think it’s time I made some of that.

  2. Hairball says:

    Golly! That sure sounds good!
    Do you do a little shimmy when you eat it because it’s so tasty? ;)

  3. Sara says:

    This looks amazing – I’ve never made mac and cheese with evaporated milk before, I definitely need to try this.

  4. That looks absolutely delicious… I am getting hungry just reading this post!

  5. Kelly says:

    I may do a ShimmyShimmy in fact! ;)

  6. Heather says:

    This looks so yummy! Definitely going to give it a try over the weekend. Thank you for sharing! :D

  7. katy says:

    Kelly, I adore you. First amazing chocolate cupcakes with cream filling (which I just bought all the ingredients for, by the way), now mac & cheese!?! You’re amazing.

    I should write you another poem.

    I am going to try this mac & cheese recipe at my next pot luck ^_^

  8. Muneeba says:

    My niece loves the stuff in the blue box … I’ll have to make this healthier version for her to see if she’s duped *fingers crossed*. That’ll be the real test!

  9. aleta says:

    Oh oh oh! I love Velveeta, but am shamed to admit it. Looks like the evap milk and reduced fat cheddar might make me leave it behind altogether.

    I’d been working on a roux-based cheese-free mac n cheese recipe, but well, just decided it’s not worth it. =) Thanks for sharing!

  10. Kelly says:

    Thank you Katy! If I had known all it took to get poetry made just for me was to make mac&cheese, I would have made it so much sooner! ;) Thanks again!

    Muneeba: I hope it works for your niece!

    Aleta: I like Velveeta too … shhhh! Our secret!

    Heather: I hope you like it! Please let me know how it works out!

    To all the rest of you beautiful people: Thank you all so much for your kind words!! :) You have made my day!

  11. Eglė says:

    This looks absolutely delicious. But I have a question. What can be a substitute for evaporated milk?

  12. Tricster says:

    I was just wondering if it’s possible to substitute something in for the evaporated milk? Is regular milk alright?

    Otherwise, this looks like the recipe I have wanted for years. Fantastic stove-top mac&cheese. :D

  13. Shayne says:

    wow this really does look as quick as the boxed the stuff. def. gonna try it, love your healthier modifications.

  14. Kelly says:

    I suppose you could use whole milk, but it may not thicken as much. Hope you enjoy it!

  15. ValleyWriter says:

    Just 1 little problem with this post – the bowl is too small! :-D
    Seriously, it looks soooo yummy – I’d be afraid I might eat the whole pot!

  16. tedula says:

    Looks fantastic! Have you tried making it without the egg? I happen to be vegetarian so I was wondering if that changed the final result much.

  17. Kelly says:

    Tedula – No I haven’t, but I imagine it would make the sauce less thick. The egg, as it cooks gently, thickens the milk mixture. Is there a vegetarian alternative to egg?

  18. jenn says:

    Creamy and thick cheese. Those photos look amazing.

    I’m tempted to eat my computer screen just by looking at this. haha…

  19. Stacy says:

    This was DELICIOUS and so easy to make!! Thanks for the recipe!! :)

  20. Kelly says:

    I’m so pleased you enjoyed it!!

  21. Carrie says:

    this looks so good. the last homemade mac and cheese i made was so far removed from the blue box i couldn’t appreciate it but this recipe looks like it just might hit the spot

  22. Shen says:

    The mac & cheese looks delicious! But I do have one question – is 8 oz pasta really enough? 8 oz usually makes 2-3 meals for me, and I don’t even eat that much compared to most people I know…

  23. Kelly says:

    Shen – it is rich and I have found that even among the mac and cheese lovers I serve it to, one 2oz cooked portion of pasta with sauce is enough as a side dish. Of course, your results may vary, and as a main it would serve fewer people. I am only listing it based on my experience.

  24. Joyce says:

    Looks fabulous! I can’t wait to try it! How well does it reheat?

  25. Kelly says:

    If you reheat it slowly, either in a pan over low heat or in a microwave, it reheats well enough. It is best fresh, but if you take your time it still tastes good the next day, it is just less creamy.

  26. Hillary says:

    This looks delicious! Sometimes I add my own cheese to the box kind to make myself feel like I’m making a semi-homemade version :)

  27. Emily says:

    As a real fan of mac & cheese I am definitely going to try this recipe. It looks yummy!

  28. katy says:

    so sticky and cheesy ^_^

    i think i’ll only use half the amount of mustard powder next time though. i really don’t like mustard, and even the most subtle taste of it was a bit over powering for me. husband wants it again soon though.

    i also cooked the pasta just a tiny bit too long, so it started to fall apart, but was still super tasty.

    thank you so much for sharing this Kelly. now i just need to perfect it ^_^

  29. Kelly says:

    Sorry it was too mustardy for you. :S I love the flavor it adds, so I did punch it up by 1/4 teaspoon. Feel free to reduce, or omit, in the future.

    Glad you otherwise liked it!

  30. Tim says:

    I’ve never make mac & cheese with egg before, but your photo looks too good not to try it!

  31. Heather T says:

    Just made it, eating it right now. I substituted mustard powder for garlic powder. It’s so creamy and cheesy!

    Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  32. Becky says:

    My mother made me bin it… :(

  33. Kelly says:

    I’m sorry you did not enjoy it.

  34. Memoria says:

    Wow, this looks really good and quicker than having to make a roux first. Thanks!

  35. Theresa says:

    I don’t know how I haven’t commented on this recipe before! First of all, mac & cheese if one of my FAVORITE foods but I only like the stovetop kind. Second, I’ve made this recipe at least half a dozen times since I found it, and I LOVE it!

  36. Malia says:

    Great gluten free macaroni and cheese (sub regular noodles for brown rice noodles)! I am looking forward to trying this tonight.

  37. Anna says:

    This is a really wonderful recipe!

  38. Amy says:

    Just made this and it turned out delicious, I had to use more evaporated milk then called for because I think the noodles absorbed more liquid then I expected and it was starting to get clumpy.. otherwise delicious.

  39. Ophelia Bee says:

    Thank you for the recipe, Kelly. It was very easy to make. I have to say that my family was very disappointed by the condensed milk flavor. I don’t think I put too much in, but we could really taste the sweetness. It didn’t work for us. We will use creme legere next time.

    Thanks again.

    -Oh Bees

  40. Kelly says:

    I think I know why it was too sweet. The recipe calls for evaporated milk, not condensed. Condensed is a sweetened milk where evaporated is just reduced with no sugar added. Thanks!!!

  41. ELBSeattle says:

    Hello Cybercooks,

    I made a version similar to this that I got from Alton White’s website. Very tasty: a billion times better than the blue box version.
    A few things I’ve done (because I love to tinker)
    1) I used half cheddar cheese (the sharper the better) and half fat-free feta crumbles. Fat free feta by itself isn’t all that great but mixed with ‘real’ cheese it adds a great sharp zing.
    2) Just say YES to evaporated milk. It adds a richness you can’t get w/ even whole milk. I use evaporated milk when I make bread pudding – I’ve never gone back to whole milk since.
    3) I learned to add freshly grated nutmeg to milk-and-cheese dishes when I worked in a restaurant. It’s a fantastic addition.
    4) Chopped fresh jalapenos (abt a tsp or so) add a great bite to this when one is in the mood for a bit of the piquant.

  42. Tanya says:

    I love mac and cheese. This looks like a delicious recipe. can’t wait to make it!

  43. Kham says:

    Mmm, I love macaroni and cheese. I usually cheat and use a packet though.

  44. Amy says:

    This was the easiest (and best) mac and cheese recipe I’ve made! It was much much much easier to do than a roux, and definitely less time consuming. The result was even better! I didn’t have evaporated milk on hand so I used about 4oz of milk. It still turned out really good. I will try it with evaporated milk next time. Thanks!

  45. Ashley says:

    I’m sitting here eating my first bowl of this DELICIOUS mac n cheese right now. YUM!

    My changes/additions:
    – Colby instead of Cheddar = extra creamy
    – 1 tbsp of regular mustard, as I forgot to buy the powdered stuff
    – Whole grain pasta in place of regular to make it even healthier (and you can’t taste the difference)
    – Fresh sliced jalapenos to my boyfriend’s serving (loves spicy food, not a big mac n cheese fan, but I have a feeling this recipe will change his mind)

    Amazing recipe, thanks for sharing!

  46. Zom says:

    Made this as my Thanksgiving take-along & it was wonderful!! I pulled a diy with the evaporated milk (1.5 cups 2%, 1 cup powdered milk, 1 tbps butter, all melted together) & it still turned out delicious, way better than other roux based ones I’ve tried! Thank you!

  47. Jaime says:

    Do you think it will be all right if I used regular milk instead of evaperated?

  48. Yum Yucky says:

    I am making this tomorrow for my hungry spawns. They will love me extra for it.

  49. Jenna says:

    Wow, sorry, but mac and cheese with evaporated milk?! Thats only one step better than making it from the box. You can make real mac and cheese in the oven in just about the same time. Put 1/3 cup flour in a pan and whisk in 2 2/3 cup milk and heat over medium heat until thick. Add 2 cups cheese (any mix of cheddar, gouda, whatever), put in pan, top with breadcrumbs or even better, ritz cracker/butter mix, put in oven at 350 for 30 minutes, and you have REAl mac and cheese that is so delicious you will wish you never tried the evaporated milk version.

  50. Kelly says:

    Jenna – Since this mac and cheese is not baked it takes about half the time of baked mac and cheese. Also, don’t knock the evaporated milk version until you try it.


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