One-Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 5 min. Cook: 30 min.
What's tangy, tasty, and super simple to make? This stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe, that's what! All the cooking happens in one pan (a Dutch oven). The cheesiness of this dish is over the top, thanks to the special blend of Velveeta and sharp cheddar cheese.

Updated: Jun. 11, 2024

What’s tasty, tangy, incredibly delicious and super easy to make? Our stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe, that’s what! This mouth-watering one-pot dish takes much of the mess out of making mac and cheese; you don’t even need a separate pan to make the cheese sauce. Does it get any easier?

  Ingredients for Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

  • Whole milk: Milk helps make the cheesy sauce for this creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese. When the milk and water cook down, the remaining pasta liquid helps the cheese cling to the macaroni.
  • Elbow macaroni: Elbow macaroni is the classic pasta used for mac and cheese. For a creative and visual twist, substitute cavatappi, a corkscrew-shaped form of macaroni. Its name literally means “corkscrew” in Italian.
  • Velveeta: Velveeta makes this stove macaroni and cheese recipe extra creamy,  like the cheese sauce in some box-based macaroni and cheese kits.
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese: Cheddar makes everything better! The sharpness in this shredded cheese adds more tang to every bite. Shred the cheese yourself for best results, as some pre-shredded cheeses have an anti-clumping component that prevents them from melting as well as cheese you grate or shred yourself. Avoid the temptation to eat too much cheese before you put it into the dish or you’ll need more!

Directions   

Step 1: Make the macaroni

In a Dutch oven, combine the milk, water and macaroni and bring the liquid to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the macaroni is tender and most liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Step 2: Add the cheese sauce

Reduce the heat to low, and stir in the Velveeta and shredded cheese until they’ve made a creamy sauce that covers the macaroni. Season the dish with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese Variations

  • Use a different cheese: If you’re not a fan of sharp cheddar, other cheeses like gruyere, Monterey Jack and gouda also work well for creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese. Shred the cheese yourself for optimal flavor.
  • Add crumbled bacon: Crumbled crispy bits of bacon taste delicious mixed into stovetop macaroni and cheese. Switch things up and use tiny cubes of ham for an equally tasty dish.
  • Hey, yo, buffalo: Turn your one-pot mac and cheese dish into buffalo macaroni and cheese by adding shredded chicken breast and a little of your favorite hot sauce, stirring everything together to blend flavors. It’s best to mix the hot sauce in a little at a time to avoid making it too spicy.

How to Store Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Store your stovetop macaroni and cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator where it will keep for three to four days.

How do you reheat stovetop macaroni and cheese?

To reheat this delicious dish, place it in the microwave or stovetop and stir in just enough milk to make it moist. Microwave it in a microwave-safe container for 45 seconds at a time, checking to see if it’s warm and stirring it up for more even heating. Heating it in a pan on the stovetop is just easy, if not easier, as long as you stir it as the dish warms.

Can I freeze stovetop macaroni and cheese?

Yes, this macaroni and cheese keeps well in the freezer for about three months. Store it in an airtight freezer-worthy container or in freezer storage bags in individual portions. Thaw the mac and cheese in the refrigerator before reheating it. 

Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese Tips

What’s a Dutch oven?

A Dutch oven looks like a mashup between a cooking pot and a casserole dish, and it can be used for cooking on any stovetop, as well as in the oven or even over a fire. It’s usually made of cast iron, often coated in enamel for ease of cleaning. A Dutch oven has thick walls and is quite heavy compared to a casserole dish or pot.

Do I have to use a Dutch oven?

No, this recipe could be made in a large pot as well. Choose a pot with a thick bottom designed for even heating.

Can I make stovetop macaroni and cheese without Velveeta?

Yes, this dish can be customized to your liking with more cheddar, or with another cheese that melts well to pair with the cheddar. Use 1/2 cup of the extra cheese of your liking to replace the Velveeta. Add a little more milk when you’re stirring cheese sauce into the pasta if it isn’t as creamy as you’d like.

One-Pot Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 5 min
Cook Time 30 min
Yield 10 servings.

Ingredients

  • 3-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 package (16 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 4 ounces Velveeta, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, combine milk, water and macaroni; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until macaroni is tender and almost all the cooking liquid has been absorbed, 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; stir in cheeses until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 344 calories, 14g fat (8g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 450mg sodium, 39g carbohydrate (6g sugars, 2g fiber), 16g protein.

This one-pot mac and cheese is a family favorite, and my 3-year-old is always thrilled to see it coming to the dinner table. We love to add sliced smoked sausage to this creamy mac recipe! —Ashley Lecker, Green Bay, Wisconsin