Stovetop Mac and Cheese (With 2 Secret Ingredients!)

Mac and cheese in a red pot

This Stovetop Mac and Cheese recipe is sponsored by Cabot Cheese. All opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting brands I love and making it possible for me to continue creating recipes for you. 

Hey there, and welcome back, friends.

You are in for a comforting treat!

mac and cheese in a red pot with a wooden spoon

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Stovetop mac and cheese made with two secret ingredients. It’s creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying. Made in 45 minutes and easy to throw together. Your weeknights just got better. 

I love using Cabot creamery dairy products, and I have featured my favorite products from Cabot in my farm vegetable quiche, apple cheddar cranberry pie, and cheddar biscuits. All of these would be great to serve with this mac and cheese recipe. 

ingredients for mac and cheese in a pot

There’s something about mac and cheese that just makes it so comforting. And while you can definitely get good mac and cheese from a box, there’s nothing quite like making it from scratch on the stovetop. 

This stovetop mac and cheese recipe is creamy and filled with cheese, and it’s the perfect comfort food dish. 

What makes this stovetop mac and cheese the best? This recipe is loaded with flavor enhancers. Your family will not know what hit their tastebuds! Even your kids will love it. 

I use two secret ingredients to make the best stovetop mac and cheese.

mac and cheese in a white serving bowl

I use spicy brown mustard and Caesar dressing to give my mac and cheese an extra edge. It’s also seasoned with some fresh onion, garlic, garlic powder, onion powder, and a variety of Cabot cheeses.  

This three-cheese mac and cheese uses Cabot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, and Pepper Jack Cheese. All of this cheese melts perfectly, adding to the sauce’s creaminess and making this mac and cheese taste out of this world! 

Stovetop Mac and Cheese Ingredients

ingredients for mac and cheese

This homemade mac and cheese require a few extra ingredients, but it’s worth it.  

  • butter
  • white onion
  • some fresh garlic
  • spicy brown mustard
  • Caesar dressing
  • some seasonings like garlic powder & onion powder
  • salt & black pepper
  • Cabot seriously sharp cheddar cheese
  • Cabot Monterey Jack cheese
  • Cabot Pepper Jack cheese
  • cream cheese
  • milk
  • pasta (elbows or Gemelli)
  • fresh cilantro (optional)

How to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add onions and sauté until golden brown and softened about 2-3 minutes.

Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add mustard, caesar dressing, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.

Add in the shredded cheese and cream cheese, stirring until melted and smooth. Add in the milk and bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and let simmer while you make the pasta.

Prepare the pasta as directed by the box. However, cook the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta water (saving about a cup) and add the pasta to the cheese sauce. If the mac and cheese is too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out.

Continue to cook over low heat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Is baked or stovetop mac and cheese better?

Stovetop mac and cheese is unrivaled compared to baked because it’s extremely creamy and can be made quickly. Baked mac and cheese is easy to make, but you cannot deny the amazingly creamy sauce you get with stovetop mac and cheese. 

Can you bake stovetop mac and cheese?

Yes, you can bake stovetop mac and cheese. Follow the recipe directions for cooking it on the stovetop, pour everything into a baking dish, add some breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of extra cheese, and bake uncovered at 350°F for about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts. 

How to reheat stovetop mac and cheese

This is the best way to reheat homemade stovetop mac and cheese to make it as good as fresh. Reheat mac and cheese by placing it in a saucepan and adding a splash of milk. Then turn the heat to low and often stir until warmed through. 

How to thicken stovetop mac and cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese with no flour is thickened using cream cheese. The cream cheese emulsifies the sauce, so it stays perfectly silky and creamy. 

How to store homemade mac and cheese

Store homemade mac and cheese in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days or in your freezer for up to 3 months. 

Why does my homemade mac and cheese always get grainy?

Your homemade mac and cheese gets grainy because your sauce does not have enough fat in it. Using the combination of cream cheese and lots of shredded cheese, you will end up with a creamy, velvety sauce that, when reheated, still tastes fresh. 

More Savory Dishes to try

Cabot is a cooperative owned by farm families throughout New England & New York, and 100% of profits go back to the farmers. For more recipes inspired by Cabot cheese, check out their websiteInstagram or Facebook.  

Until next time, happy baking!

Mac and cheese stovetop recipe

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
Yield: serves 8

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Stovetop mac and cheese made with two secret ingredients. It's creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying. Made in 45 minutes and easy to throw together. Your weeknights just got better. 

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • ½ cup Caesar Dressing
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 oz Cabot seriously sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz Cabot Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz Cabot Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pound pasta (elbows or Gemelli)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add onions and sauté until golden brown and softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add mustard, caesar dressing, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the shredded cheese and cream cheese, stirring until melted and smooth. Add in the milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while you make the pasta.
  5. Prepare the pasta as directed by the box. However, cook the pasta al dente. Drain the pasta water (saving about a cup) and add the pasta to the cheese sauce. If the mac and cheese is too thick, add some pasta water to thin it out.
  6. Continue to cook over low heat for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 652Total Fat: 48gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 1145mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g

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