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Pot of 20 Minute Stovetop Mac and Cheese with blue towel and parsley garnish.
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5 from 2 votes

20 Minute Stovetop Mac and Cheese

20 Minute Stovetop Mac and Cheese is the best weeknight dinner! It’s super creamy and cheesy, and it’s easy to make all in one pot. This is the simplest of homemade comfort food that the whole family will love!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 688kcal


  • 7 tbsp butter
  • ½ large onion finely diced
  • 2 tsp garlic minced
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups (5 oz) mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 2 cups (5 oz) sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • ¾ tsp salt add or decrease depending on taste
  • ½ tsp pepper


  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and garlic for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent.
  • If not done already, shred the cheese while the onion and garlic cook.
  • Add the flour and mustard powder to the pot and whisk constantly for 30-60 seconds.
  • Slowly add a little milk at a time, whisking constantly, until a thick slurry forms. Then continue adding the milk and water slowly, whisking to incorporate it without leaving any lumps.
  • Add the pasta and bring the pot to a simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
  • Remove the pot from the heat, then stir in the cheese a few handfuls at a time. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.


Tips & Tricks
  • Shred your own cheese - really! Pre- shredded cheese is coated, so it doesn't melt the same, nor does it have the same flavor. 
  • Whisk constantly when adding the milk and add it slowly. If you add it all at once, it won’t incorporate into the flour mixture, leaving lumps of flour in the sauce. 
  • If you can’t serve this right away (i.e. you're taking it to a party, your kids are home late from practice, etc) leave it covered to keep warm. Then thin it with a bit of hot milk to restore the creamy sauce. If it starts to lose its flavor as you add milk, add more shredded cheddar to the hot pasta and stir until melted. 
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
Reheating Instructions
Reheat in the microwave. Near the end of the warming, add a splash of milk and a bit of cheddar cheese. Continue microwaving and stirring until hot and creamy. 
Freezing Instructions
This recipe can technically be frozen, however it does not turn out nearly as saucy or creamy. If you do freeze it, wrap it tightly in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Then thaw it completely before reheating. When reheating, add some hot milk and shredded cheddar cheese to restore the creamy sauce. 


Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 453mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1022IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 568mg | Iron: 2mg