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Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe. Made with simple ingredients and no roux, this easy dinner is a true one pot meal that is sure to become a family favorite!

homemade stovetop mac and cheese in creamy sauce on a serving spoon.

Easy One Pot Mac and Cheese Recipe — No Roux

This is definitely the easiest homemade macaroni and cheese recipe I have ever made. There’s no roux and no draining, since the pasta cooks in the sauce. This stovetop macaroni is made completely in one pot in less than 30 minutes!

I started making this one-pot mac after my son’s favorite restaurant closed down. This kid LOVES macaroni, and he is super picky about it. After several attempts, I got it right.

The pasta is tender, the sauce is super creamy, very cheesy and absolutely delicious. When my picky eater says it’s the best mac and cheese, you know it’s good! This easy recipe is perfect for a quick dinner on busy weeknights or as an easy side dish for holidays or anytime. My whole family loves it!

If you have an Instant Pot, try my Instant Pot Creamy Mac and Cheese. And check out my Cheesy Taco Pasta or Cheesburger Macaroni for more One Pot meals!

elbow macaroni, cheddar cheese, chicken broth, butter, cream cheese, cream and spices.

Ingredients for Stovetop Mac and Cheese

You only need a few simple ingredients from the grocery store for stovetop macaroni and cheese. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.

  • Elbow pasta — or short pasta, like medium shells
  • Chicken broth or stock — For added flavor
  • Seasonings — sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and paprika
  • Heavy cream
  • Butter — salted butter or unsalted butter are both fine
  • Cream cheese — makes the sauce super creamy
  • Cheese — I use a combo of shredded mild cheddar cheese and American cheese slices from the deli.

How to Make Homemade Mac and Cheese on the Stove

First, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Then, add the macaroni, and cook until almost al dente. The liquid will be partially absorbed at this point.

elbow macaroni in chicken broth on stove.

Then, add the heavy cream and spices, and allow to simmer until al dente. This takes just a couple of minutes. You will need to stir the pasta occasionally..

macaroni in creamy sauce on stove.

When the pasta is done, stir in the butter and cream cheese until melted. Then, stir in the cheese, 1 cup at a time. When the cheese is completely melted and the cheesy sauce is well blended, this dish is done!

stir shredded cheddar cheese in cream sauce.

The creamy sauce will thicken as it cools down. If you let the pasta sit for a minute or 2, it will be absolutely perfect!

pot of homemade macaroni and cheese on the table.


Refrigerate leftover macaroni and cheese in an airtight container for 3-4 days. You can reheat individual portions in the microwave or warm up larger portions on the stove. This creamy pasta also freezes well in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag.

homemade macaroni and cheese on a fork.


We prefer the taste of mild cheddar, but you can use sharp cheddar cheese, medium cheddar or Colby. You can skip the American cheese if you want, but it may not be as creamy.

Since there is no flour in this recipe, heavy whipping cream works best, but you can use half and half. Whole milk may make the sauce too runny.

Paprika adds color, but you can leave it out. You can use water in place of broth, but the flavor will be slightly different. You may need to add a little extra salt or pepper, to taste, before serving.

Helpful Tips

For best results, grate your own cheese. Pre-shredded cheese usually had additives and will not melt as well.

I like to let the cream sit out while I’m prepping the ingredients so it’s not super cold going into the sauce. This will prevent the sauce from becoming grainy.

Be sure to turn the heat down when adding the cream so the sauce doesn’t curdle. Keep the heat on low when adding the cheese, and add 1 cup at a time.

5 from 9 votes

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

By: Dee
Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this creamy stovetop mac and cheese recipe. Made with simple ingredients and no roux, this easy dinner is a true one pot meal that is sure to become a family favorite!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 16 oz elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cups mild cheddar cheese shredded
  • 4 oz American Cheese about 4 slices
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  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, bring chicken broth to a boil over medium high heat
  • Add the macaroni, and cook until just al dente, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Reduce heat to low, and stir in the heavy cream, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Allow to simmer on low heat until pasta is done
  • Add the butter and cream cheese, and stir until melted
  • Stir in 1 cup of cheese at a time until cheese melts and cheese sauce is creamy



For best results, shred your own cheese.
I use sliced American cheese from the deli, which is about 4 slices or 4 ounces. You can use all cheddar, if you prefer.
You can sub water for the broth, but you may need to add more salt and pepper, to taste, before serving.
I like to let the cream sit out at room temperature while I prep the ingredients so it’s not to cold going into the sauce. This prevents the sauce from becoming grainy.


Calories: 632kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 40g, Saturated Fat: 23g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 1185mg, Potassium: 252mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1361IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 500mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
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Recipe Rating


  1. Craig says:

    The best ever! So creamy! The cream cheese and regular American cheese do the trick! Will be making this often!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks, Craig! I’m glad you enjoyed it!