Delicious extra cheesy mac & cheese recipe that you make on the stove top with only 4 ingredients! Ready in under 20 minutes. Gluten free option!
This 20 minute stovetop mac and cheese is amazing! You only need 4 simple ingredients, noodles, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and milk, to make some of the most creamy and cheesy mac and cheese ever! No butter, no eggs, and made without flour! But with this creamy sauce you would never know how easy it is to make.
This simple mac & cheese is the perfect easy side dish for bbqs, potlucks, or any time you want a quick and delicious dish.
Free from: wheat, gluten, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, fish, shellfish, crustaceans, mollusks, celery, corn, sesame, mustard, lupin, sulfites, and more
Why you’ll love this recipe
Easy. With only 4 ingredients and 1 pot on the stove you can make some of the most amazing mac and cheese. Nothing artificial and it comes together in about the same time as a box mix takes.
Great base recipe. Mac and cheese is such a favorite for both kids and adults alike! This makes a great main dish when you add a protein like chicken and extra veggies like broccoli.
Travel friendly. Need to make this for a potluck or BBQ? No problem! Make this ahead of time and pop it into a slow cooker to keep it warm. It travels super well. And, in my opinion, is even more delicious as leftovers the next day.
These ingredients are all ones you can pick up at your local grocery store.
Noodles - Classic elbow noodles make a classic mac and cheese. Any kind of gluten free pasta noodle works in this recipe as well. I like using Barilla Elbow or Banza chickpea noodles.
Evaporated Milk - This is essential to the recipe. Evaporated milk has a high protein count than other milks, helping. You don't want to use whole milk or heavy cream in this as they don't have the right amount of protein that the evaporated milk does.
Cheddar cheese - Make sure that you purchase a block of cheese and shred it yourself. I've used both mild cheddar and extra sharp cheddar. The choice is up to you! Pre-shredded cheese is coated with flour (not gluten free!) or other anti-caking agents. That helps to keep the cheese shredded in the bag but will prevent your cheese from coming together in the mac and cheese!
Cream Cheese - This is my extra addition to this recipe to make it extra creamy! I find that the gluten free noodles need this extra little bit of fat and creamy texture to elevate this dish.
To make this corn free, make sure that you purchase noodles that are made without corn. Many times gluten free noodles rely on corn in their ingredients. My favorite corn free gluten free noodle is from Banza. They only use chickpeas! A red lentil pasta would also be delicious in this recipe.
For the full instructions, complete with recipe measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Start by placing your dry pasta in a large pot. Cover the pasta until it is just covered with cool water. You don’t want to add a lot of water to this recipe to boil the pasta.
The reason is because by using a small amount of water, you are containing the starches which will help the cheese sauce come together without any roux or flour. Using the natural starch in the pasta helps to make this recipe easy!
Bring the water to boil over a medium heat and let the pasta cook for about 7 to 8 minutes. It will depend on how long your unique pasta takes to cook, so follow the package directions. But you want basically all of the water to boil off, leaving you with nice al dente pasta.
When the water is mostly gone, add the evaporated milk. Give this a good stir and bring it back to a low boil for about 2 more minutes.
Finally, add both types of cheese. Stir this while it is still on the stove, but turn the heat down to low. Keep stirring as the cheese melts. After the cheese is melted, remove the pot from the stove.
Mac and cheese will thicken the longer it rests. Don’t be tempted to add more cheese, trust me! It will get thicker and creamier the longer it sits after cooking.
And that’s it! Enjoy!
Want to spice things up? You can! Here are some ideas to spice up this simple mac and cheese:
Add spices like onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, or red pepper flakes depending on if you want it savory or spicy.
Hot sauce adds a super flavorful kick!
The key to this pasta is trusting the process. It is a different method of cooking, one that was inspired by J Kenji Lopez-Alt. But ever since I started to make mac and cheese this method, I don’t want to make it any other way!
Mac and cheese is such a yummy side dish! Serve it with BBQ, at Thanksgiving, with chicken nuggets, or any time you feel like some comfort food.
Yes! Use a combo of any cheese that you like. Just make sure that it is the same amount of cheese as listed here. And remember that a block of cheese will metl a lot better than a bag of pre-shredded cheese. Some ideas for different cheese are:
- Cheddar and Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack
- Yellow Cheddar, Pepper Jack, and Blue Cheese
- Mozzarella with Parmesan
Yes! Cook this up on the stove ahead of time. If you are storing to take to a potluck or other event, pop it into a slow cooker and plug it in on low or warming heat for the best results. You can also add this to an ungreased baking dish and cover and store in the fridge. When you are ready to serve, pop it into the oven for 30 minutes or until it's warmed through. That gives it a baked macaroni flavor! I would add a little extra cheese on top if baking it.
This mac and cheese makes for some great leftovers!
Fridge: Keep this mac and cheese in a sealed container for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Want more noodle inspired dishes?
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- measuring cups
- mixing spoons
- Cooking pot
- Cheese grater
- 8 oz noodles approx 2 cups
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 8 oz cheddar cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese
- Salt to taste
- Start by placing your dry noodles in the cooking pot. Cover with water. Make sure that the water only covers the pasta by about an inch or so. You don’t want a lot of extra water in the pot.
- Place it on the stove and bring to a boil. Let the pasta cook for about 6 minutes or until most of the water has evaporated.
- Add the evaporated milk, giving it a good stir. Bring it to a simmer and again cook for about 2 or 3 minutes.
- Add the freshly shredded cheese and cream cheese. Mix this until the cheese has fully melted. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired.