This Creamy Mac and Cheese takes just minutes to prepare on the stovetop, contains two types of cheese, and is creamy, hearty, and delicious!

You’ll also love this Instant Pot Creamy Mac and Cheese, Creamy Garlic Parmesan Mac and Cheese, and Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese!

A large white bowl overflowing with creamy mac and cheese.

Even though winter and I aren’t the best of friends, it does bring me joy within the kitchen.

Sounds strange, but the cold weather gives me the perfect excuse to whip up some delicious and hearty meals. Not that I don’t do this in the warmer months, but with the weather being frigid, I get creative with those foods that warm you right up and make you forget about the cold and snow.

While no bean chili and soup rank right up there with some of my favorite dishes, some other meals that scream comfort food are this chicken pesto pasta and spinach and mushroom pasta. Can you tell that I’m a sucker for decadent pasta dishes?

And nothing screams comfort food more than those dishes and this creamy mac and cheese.

Since I’m all about foods that take just minutes to prepare during the week, while accompanying that comfort food appeal, homemade creamy mac and cheese was the first food that I thought of.

Overhead view of creamy stovetop mac and cheese in a white serving bowl.

Ingredients for Creamy Mac and Cheese

Want to know the secret to making super creamy cheese sauce for mac and cheese? Heavy cream! And good quality cheese, of course. Yep, I made this mac and cheese with heavy cream because when I make mac and cheese I go all out!

To make this homemade creamy mac and cheese, you’ll need the following: 

  • Cavatappi shells
  • Unsalted butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Milk
  • Heavy whipping cream
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

How to Make Creamy Mac and Cheese

It’s incredibly easy to make creamy stovetop mac and cheese, provided you use the right ingredients and ratios. Here are the basic steps for making the creamiest mac and cheese: 

  1. Cook the noodles to al dente, drain and set aside.
  2. Now comes the fun part, making the creamy cheese sauce. Melt some butter in a large pot and then whisk in some flour, salt, and pepper.
  3. Slowly add in some heavy cream and milk, cooking until it bubbles. We’re going for rich and creamy macaroni and cheese, so the heavy cream is necessary!
  4. Then reduce the heat to low and add in some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and shredded mozarella cheese.
  5. Stir until melted and then add the cavatappi noodles to pot. Stir until the noodles are coated and then let sit for 5 minutes to thicken up.
Side view of homemade creamy mac and cheese in a large white bowl.

How to Reheat Mac and Cheese

If you wind up with leftovers of this creamy mac and cheese recipe, I recommend reheating them in a saucepan with a splash of milk or cream. Pop the lid onto the saucepan and reheat over low heat so the pasta doesn’t dry out.

Can You Freeze Mac and Cheese?

Absolutely! This homemade creamy mac and cheese freezes well. I recommend freezing this stovetop mac and cheese in small containers so you can thaw one serving at a time.

What’s the Best Pasta for Mac and Cheese?

I chose to use cavatappi noodles, as I love the shape and thickness of them. But feel free to use whatever type of noodle you have on hand.

Recipe Variations to Try

This recipe for creamy mac and cheese is perfect as is, but you can switch up the ingredients as desired. Here are some variations you can try the next time you make this recipe:

  • Use gluten-free pasta. It’s easy to swap out the regular pasta for a gluten-free version!
  • Add veggies. Trying to sneak more vegetables into your diet? Stir in frozen (thawed) peas, sautéed veggies, you name it!
  • Add bacon. Cooked, crumbled bacon takes this ultra creamy mac and cheese over the top.
  • Use different cheeses. I typically pair one flavorful cheese (cheddar) with one super melty cheese (mozzarella). Use what you have on hand.
  • Use all milk. Don’t have heavy cream on hand or don’t want to use it? Just use all milk! Keep in mind that omitting the heavy cream will result in a less creamy cheese sauce.
A large white bowl of creamy stovetop mac and cheese.

What to Serve with Mac and Cheese

Enjoy your super creamy mac and cheese as a main, or serve it as a side. Here are some of my favorite dishes to pair with homemade mac and cheese: 

Tips for Making Stovetop Mac and Cheese

  • I prefer using a blend of shredded cheddar and mozzarella in my creamy stovetop mac and cheese, but you’re welcome to use any cheese you have on hand.
  • To add more flavor to this mac ‘n cheese, I like to add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and a dash of paprika or ground nutmeg.
  • Looking for a more distinct cheesy taste? Use ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan or cheddar jack cheese, ¾ cup of shredded mozzarella, and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar.
  • Note that you can use any milk you’d like in this homemade mac and cheese recipe. If you use a non-dairy milk, double check that it’s unsweetened and unflavored first.

This creamy stovetop mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food meal, friends! So perfect for a cold winter night when you want something quick, easy, and delicious!

Looking for more side dish recipes? I’ve got you covered!

Video Tutorial

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
4.67 from 42 ratings

Creamy Mac and Cheese

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
This Creamy Mac and Cheese takes just minutes to prepare on the stovetop, contains two types of cheese, and is creamy, hearty, and delicious!

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound cavatappi shells
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour, (SEE NOTE BELOW)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup milk, , any kind (I used 2%)
  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Equipment

Instructions
 

  • In a large pot, cook noodles in boil water until al dente, per packaged directions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a medium pot, melt butter. Then whisk in flour (see note below), salt, and pepper.
  • Slowly add milk and heavy cream, whisking until combined. Heat mixture until it bubbles over medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and add in cheeses. Stir until melted. Add pasta to cheese mixture and toss to combine. If mixture is too thick, add 1-2 tablespoons more milk and go from there.
  • Let macaroni and cheese sit for 5 minutes to thicken.

Notes

  • Some readers have said that ½ cup of flour is too much, while others love this mac ‘n cheese with the ½ cup of flour. If you feel this is too much, decrease the amount of flour to ¼ cup.
  • To add more flavor to this mac ‘n cheese, I like to add 2 teaspoons of garlic powder and a dash of paprika or ground nutmeg.
  • Looking for a more distinct cheesy taste? Use ¼ cup of shredded Parmesan or cheddar jack cheese, ¾ cup of shredded mozzarella, and 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar.
  • See my tips and tricks for making this Creamy Macaroni and Cheese above the recipe box.
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 467.59kcal, Carbohydrates: 36.03g, Protein: 12.22g, Fat: 30.71g, Saturated Fat: 18.79g, Cholesterol: 101.68mg, Sodium: 349.71mg, Potassium: 188.47mg, Fiber: 1.39g, Sugar: 3.28g, Vitamin A: 1113.71IU, Vitamin C: 0.3mg, Calcium: 174.61mg, Iron: 0.82mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Side Dish
Author: Gayle
Did you make this recipe?Let me know! Mention @pumpkin_n_spice on Instagram or tag #pumpkin_n_spice.

**Recipe from 1/2015. Photos updated 8/2020**