Whew, this creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is super flavorful, made with 3 kinds of cheeses, and so easy to make (in ONE-POT!). A delicious, cozy pot of comforting mac and cheese to enjoy for any occasion or holiday entertaining!

creamy stovetop Mac and cheese in large white pot with fresh thyme and gold serving spoon on the side

Stovetop mac and cheese is one of the best, most-greatest dishes, ever. Don’t get me wrong, baked mac is perfection and probably my most fave. However, a good stovetop version hits the spot just as nice. It’s easier, there’s no baking involved, and you can quickly pair it alongside a sammich, gahhh. Stovetop mac and cheese is of critical importance, and everyone needs it, yes? Absolutely yes!

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese 😛

My favorite thing about this recipe is the easy, breezy vibes of it all. Many mac and cheese recipes require one pot for boiling the pasta and one pan for the cheese sauce. The simplicity of this stovetop recipe is that the entire thing whips up in 1-pot like a champ! Tons of flavor-filled, cheesy goodness that you’ll swoon over, too. No bland, sad mac either, this one is well-seasoned, amen.

⇢ More recipes: lemon pepper chicken tenders, crispy garlic parmesan wings, my holy grail meatball recipe, louisiana-style red beans and rice, this broccoli cheddar soup with sourdough croutons, and my jamaican curry chicken– yasss.

creamy stovetop Mac and cheese in sourdough bread bowl with gold spoons on the side

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients

(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)

  • Chicken broth: Flavor on flavor! This is one of the elements that makes this recipe so delicious. Traditional mac and cheese recipes start with boiling the pasta in a pot of water. Nah, the pasta here cooks up in broth for maximum flavor that soaks into the pasta and infuses into the final dish.
  • Pasta: I love conchiglie (shell) for that classic, nostalgic feel (the pasta shape featured in these images). However, any short-cut pasta that you like can be used. I recommend elbow, cavatappi, fusilli corti bucati, pipe rigate, etc.
  • Evaporated milk: Not condensed milk! This shelf-stable, highly concentrated type of milk has 60% of the water content evaporated from the milk, leaving it extra rich and creamy. I recommend it the most here, but whole milk or half and half would be good substitutes.
  • Mascarpone: An Italian, double or triple cream soft cheese. It has a smooth, thick, and creamy texture. Since mascarpone has a higher butterfat content, it’s used in a variety of dishes and baked goods to provide deep richness. In pasta, it amps up the creaminess appeal and helps to make for one scrumptious cheese sauce that you’ll adore.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: I recommend a good-quality, extra sharp cheddar cheese. l really like Tillamook block-style cheeses, and I prefer white cheddar cheese here. As always, whenever making homemade mac and cheese, grate the cheese by hand. More info on that, below.
  • Pepper Jack cheese: The other cheese that comes in to provide balance and a contrast in flavor. This one adds a subtle pop of heat, bringing out more flavor.
  • Seasonings: For drool-worthy stovetop mac and cheese, you need seasoning. Ground mustard, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, ground nutmeg, and salt/pepper are the spices used to add heaps of flavor and elevation.
  • Butter: Adds a touch of richness, #butterbeready 🧈
shredded white cheeses on piece of parchment paper

Tips + Tricks For Recipe Success

  1. Grate your own cheese. I know it’s an additional step but so worth it. It makes a huge difference to shred the blocks of cheese yourself using a handy food processor or box grater. Pre-shredded bags of cheese contain a white powdery substance called cellulose. That anti-clumping agent prevents the cheese from having that ultra-creaminess level.
  2. Don’t overcook the pasta. This is super important, folks! The pasta will continue cooking as it sits with the cheese sauce, and if you overcook it you’ll end up with mushy pasta, oof. Cook your pasta until it is al dente (cooked, but firm). I usually achieve this right around 8-9 minutes, tops.
  3. Don’t skip the seasonings. While the broth and cheeses do add some flavor, the spices really kick this stovetop mac and cheese into deliciousness. The seasonings called for here add such a depth of flavor that you’ll appreciate.
closeup of creamy stovetop Mac and cheese in white pot with gold serving spoon on the side

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese Variations

This mac and cheese recipe is already great as it is written, however, feel free to add-on and customize as you’d like. Here are some ways ♡:

  • Use other cheeses: I love the cheddar cheese + pepper jack cheese combo written, but there are some other great cheeses for macaroni and cheese. I would definitely stick with the cheddar cheese as a base and swap out the pepper jack if you want. For example: gouda, gruyère, parmesan, colby jack, monterey jack, fontina, asiago, and muenster.
  • Mascarpone replacement? A good swap for this is a block of full-fat cream cheese or crème fraîche…make sure those are room temperature, too.
  • Toss in some veggies: Feel free to throw in some peas, broccoli florets, or fresh spinach/kale. If using frozen items, toss in along with the pasta.
  • Add some meaty goodness: I’ve added in some pre-cooked diced ham into the mix for extra pizzazz at times. Additionally, chopped bacon, pancetta, guanciale, prosciutto, sausage, shrimp, and much more work well!

Serving Macaroni and Cheese

You’ve got a delicious pot of creamy stovetop mac and cheese…what’s next?!

ENJOY AS-IS…Go on and eat it by itself, she’s perfect like that.

CRUSTY BREAD BOWL…There’s nothing more cozy than mac and cheese with some crusty, buttered bread on the side. Or transfer the mac and cheese into a hollowed-out bread bowl and enjoy your life. This is one of my favorite ways to serve up (as pictured), and also for entertaining purposes because it’s both visually and aesthetically stunning 😍…and so freakin’ good, y’all.

ALONGSIDE MAIN DISHES…Stovetop mac and cheese is besties alongside hearty dishes like crispy parmesan crusted chicken or a classic meatloaf.

closeup of creamy stovetop Mac and cheese in sourdough bread bowl with gold spoons on the side

Simply put, add this Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese to your list if you like nice things…you won’t be disappointed. Be sure to tag @butterbeready in your BBR recipe creations, I sure love to see it when you do. Until next time! 🤟🏾

Looking for more delish sides?…don’t miss:

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creamy stovetop Mac and cheese in large white pot with gold serving spoon on the side

Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese (One-Pot!)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


Whew, this creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese is super flavorful, made with 3 kinds of cheeses, and so easy to make (in ONE-POT!). A delicious, cozy pot of comforting mac and cheese to enjoy for any occasion or holiday entertaining!


  • 32 ounces (4 cups) chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 lb dried large shells (or any dried short-cut pasta of choice)
  • 12 ounces (1 can) evaporated milk, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces mascarpone, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces extra sharp white cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. In a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, bring the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Then add in the dried pasta. Cook, stirring the pasta every so often, about 8-9 minutes for al dente.
  2. Do not drain the broth: stir in the milk, mascarpone, and both the sharp cheddar & pepper jack cheeses. Then season the pot with ground mustard, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and ground nutmeg. Add the butter and stir everything together until well combined, the cheeses have melted, and the mixture is creamy.
  3. Remove the pot from heat, taste the mac and cheese, and season with salt/pepper- to taste. If you’d like a thinner consistency, simply add a few more splashes of broth (or water) to the mac and cheese to thin out until desired consistency is reached.
  4. Serve creamy mac and cheese immediately as-is, alongside a main entree, or place inside of a crusty bread bowl (as pictured). Enjoy!


  1. Evaporated milk: 12 fl ounces of evaporated milk equals 1.5 cups (if you’d like to replace with whole milk or half and half).
  2. Please read the blog post in tis entirety for more tips + tricks.

Keywords: stovetop Mac and cheese, Mac and cheese, creamy Mac and cheese, white Mac and cheese, one pot Mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese