Quick and easy, creamy stovetop mac and cheese with white cheddar is a delicious and comforting one pot 20-minute meal packed with three types of cheese and topped with toasted panko breadcrumbs for the perfect crunch. This creamy, decadent and rich pasta recipe is a family favourite on busy weeknights or any day of the week.
Stovetop mac and cheese is a great alternative to baked mac and cheese that takes about double the time to make, but also extremely delicious with a thick crunchy panko topping. Either way, there is no boxed mac and cheese with powdered cheese over here, especially when it is so easy to make ultra creamy mac and cheese from scratch and all in one pot, including the pasta.
This mac and cheese is easy to make ahead and reheats beautifully OR use any leftovers to make delicious fried mac and cheese balls.
- all-purpose flour
- elbow pasta - uncooked pasta which will cook directly in the pot. No need to make the pasta in a separate pot. I used elbow pasta, but you can use any pasta shape that you want.
- garlic powder
- ground mustard
- salt and pepper
- sharp white cheddar cheese - you can substitute the white cheddar with sharp yellow cheddar.
- Parmesan cheese - you can substitute Parmesan with asiago cheese.
- mozzarella cheese
- panko topping - this is an optional topping to sprinkle over the mac and cheese. It is made with panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, paprika, and olive oil.
How to Make the Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese with White Cheddar
- Make a roux. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Pour in water, and whisk until smooth. Pour in milk and whisk to combine.
- Add pasta. Add uncooked pasta, garlic powder, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium low heat. Cook for 9-10 minutes until al dente, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Stir in cheese. Remove from heat and stir in the cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella.
- Make the panko topping (optional): In small bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, garlic powder, and paprika. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add panko mixture. Toast the breadcrumbs until light brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Serve. Serve mac and cheese warm, with a sprinkle of toasted panko on top.
How to Serve Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
I like to serve mac and cheese as dinner with some pull apart garlic bread or rosemary garlic focaccia bread and a big salad on the side such as Mediterranean orzo salad, easy Greek Salad, or Mediterranean chickpea wedge salad. It is also a classic side dish to serve on a holiday dinner menu.
Mac and Cheese Tips
- Add all the cheese. Just under 5 cups of cheese might seem a lot, but this big pot makes about 6-8 servings and skimping on the cheese won't give you a mac and cheese that is creamy and decadent. You can however switch up the kind of cheese and play around with different flavours.
- Add the panko topping. The panko topping is completely optional but recommenced. It adds a really nice crunch to every bite of that creamy mac and cheese. You can use regular breadcrumbs if you don't have panko.
- How to store. Store mac and cheese in the pot with the lid on or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply reheat in the pot over the stove or reheat a smaller portion in a skillet or microwave. You may need to add a little water to thin out the sauce a bit and it will have thickened up over time.
More Creamy Comfort Food Recipes
- Cheesy Tortellini and Sausage Bake
- Creamy Lemon Chicken Piccata
- Creamy White Chicken and Spinach Lasagna
- Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Skillet Chicken with Lemon Garlic Sauce
- Creamy Brussels Sprouts Bake
- Creamy Mexican Corn Soup
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.