Stovetop Mac & Cheese

Quick Mac and Cheese

Okay, let’s be real. If I’m making mac and cheese and don’t want to put in too much effort, I’m probably getting a little help from my friend Annie. But that said, a smidge of effort for this recipe elevates dinner WAY past the blue box.

Quick Mac and Cheese

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Course: Main Course
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 449kcal
When you want to put in a bit of effort into dinner but also need a guaranteed win with the kiddos, this dish checks all the boxes.
Print Recipe


  • 2 cups elbow pasta uncooked
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • cups milk*
  • tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cayenne pepper optional
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning


  • Fill a large saucepan two-thirds full with water and some salt and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain.
  • In the same pan, melt the butter over medium heat. While that melts, measure out your milk and shredded cheese. (We'll be working fast from here!)
  • Once melted, whisk in the flour until smooth and cook for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking to combine. Add the Dijon, salt, cayenne pepper and dried Italian herbs. Stir constantly until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the cheese, whisking until smooth. Heat for 2 more minutes. Stir in the pasta and serve.


  • Anytime I have a recipe calling for Italian herbs, I use Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning. Anything with thyme, oregano, or dried basil would be lovely.
  • Substitute a sharper cheese like Gruyere or fontina if you’re looking for something with more punch.
  • Make ahead and pour into a greased casserole pan. From the fridge, bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until heated through.



  • Use 1/4 cup of arrowroot in place of the flour and your favorite gluten-free noodles.


Calories: 449kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 666mg | Potassium: 222mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 709IU | Calcium: 353mg | Iron: 1mg