Make the BEST creamy, cheesy simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese, without flour or a roux, all in one pot with just 4 ingredients. It will become a quick, easy, and cozy weeknight favorite!
Simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese without Flour
This simple stovetop Mac and Cheese without flour is made quickly on the stovetop in one pot, no roux required. The easiness (and clean-up!) rival the boxed macaroni and cheese.
The creamy, cheesiness cannot be beat. It is perfectly cozy, cheesy, and the ultimate comfort food. It's made with just 4 ingredients, and comes together in just minutes. You'll never need the box stuff again.
Do I Have to Use Evaporated Milk to Make Stovetop Mac and Cheese without Flour?
No, but it's highly recommended. After testing with evaporated milk, milk, cream, and half-and-half, I can confidently say that evaporated milk will give you a perfectly smooth, creamy sauce because it helps the cheese melt into it properly. It melts so smoothly that it looks like melted American cheese.
Milk, cream, and half-and-half can all be used in place of evaporated milk with similar flavors, but the cheese doesn't incorporate and melt into the liquid as fully and smoothly as it does with evaporated milk.
Do I Need to Add Flour to Thicken It?
Nope! No flour required for this recipe!
Can I Use Pre-Shredded Cheese to Make Mac and Cheese?
I highly recommend freshly grating your own cheese for this recipe. Freshly grated cheese will melt more smoothly into the sauce.
This is because store-bought pre-shredded cheese has potato or corn starches on it to prevent it from sticking or caking. It's not necessarily bad for you, but it's not ideal for melting cheese into a perfectly melty gooey sauce.
Of course, in a pinch, you can use pre-shredded cheese. Your sauce will probably just not be as smooth.
Can I Make this Mac and Cheese Gluten Free?
Yes! Easy peasy to just swap out regular macaroni for gluten free macaroni.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese Variations
Perhaps one of the only things more amazing than eating a big bowl of warm gooey mac and cheese is personalizing it and inventing new ways to make it even better. Here are a few ideas to try to change up the flavor or add a little extra.
- Bacon - because adding bacon to anything makes it better
- Protein - Opt for other proteins such as sausage, tuna, chicken, ground beef (bonus points if it's taco-seasoned ground beef) chickpeas, or black beans. Just make sure the protein is cooked, and add it in at the end.
- Veggies - Add some cooked or quickly sautéed veggies to round out the meal. Try mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, broccoli, or zucchini.
- Cheese - Definitely experiment with different types of cheese. A smoked gouda, creamy Havarti, or spicy Pepper Jack would all go great here. Use your favorites!
You can also use a different cooking technique with this Instant Pot Mac and Cheese version or this Crock Pot Mac and Cheese version, which both also have no flour!
More Cheesy Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- Creamy Sausage Pasta - Italian sausage and noodles swimming in a creamy, tangy rosa sauce.
- Fettuccine Alfredo - a creamy, cheesy alfredo, made without flour!
- Chicken Alfredo Lasagna - a creamy twist on classic lasagna made with chicken, alfredo sauce, and spinach.
- Bacon Cheddar Bow Ties - bacon, cheddar, and pasta, all in one dish. Need I say more?
- Swedish Meatball Mac and Cheese - a fun twist on traditional mac and cheese by combining it with my Swedish family's meatball recipe.
Stovetop Mac and Cheese (without Flour!) Video
Simple Stovetop Mac and Cheese without Flour
- 8 oz package elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese freshly shredded
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook noodles to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter with evaporated milk.
- When butter is melted and mixture is hot and steaming, turn the heat down to medium-low and add about a quarter of the cheese. Stir until melted and combined. Repeat until all cheese is added.
- Add noodles to the cheese sauce, stirring to coat.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Evaporated Milk: Evaporated milk makes the smoothest, creamiest sauce. You can use milk, cream, or half-and-half, and it will still taste good. But the cheese will not incorporate as well into a perfectly smooth sauce.
- Use freshly grated cheese to make sure it melts smoothly for a perfectly creamy sauce.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Freezer Directions: Allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to freezer dish or bag. Freeze for up to 3-6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then heat on in a pot on the stove, adding a little more cheese if necessary.
UPDATE INFO: This recipe was originally published in July 2014. It has been updated with new pictures, tips, and a video and republished in July 2022.
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I followed your directions exactly and my cheese sauce came out curdled and very soupy. I used half&half, half a block mozzarella, half a block of munster and two table spoons of butter. What could I have done wrong?
It's hard to know without knowing *exactly* what you did. But if I had to guess, I'd say the half-and-half was either too hot or not hot enough when you added the cheese. It should be hot and steaming, but not boiling when you add the cheese, and it should mix in nicely.
You might consider using the evaporated milk as well because it's not as nit-picky about the temperature. Cream and half-and-half can curdle if they're introduced to too much heat.
Please let me know if you have any other specific questions. I'll be happy to answer 🙂
Marc wachter says
It may also have been the cheese selection. I made ours using 1 block of extra sharp yellow cheddar and 1 block of extra sharp white (mixed in some onion powder and garlic salt and crushed Club crackers) and it turned out great. I will probably try other cheeses as well but will try to keep a strong cheddar base. The mozzarella may have released too much moisture?
That's a good thought too. I've used mozzarella with this cheese sauce recipe for my Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas recipe, and it actually worked great. But I've never tried it with munster. I'll have to try it and see what happens.
natalie nichols says
hello so haw do you not over heat the half and half
Just heat over medium heat until it's hot enough to steam but hasn't started boiling. Just hot, but not boiling.
Jennie, did you use Munster or Muenster cheese? I'm going to test out Marc's theory about the type of cheese, and I want to make sure we're on the same page 🙂
You can't use mozzarella. That's a stringy cheese, not a smooth-melting cheese.
Can you bake this recipe after it is prepared?
I've never tried it but I would guess that you can. The sauce will likely thicken/ evaporate a bit more. I would probably make a little more sauce than the recipe indicates to counteract that. But I think it would be okay to pop it in the oven for 10-15 minutes with extra cheese on top or a breadcrumb topping.
This was a hit in our house! I wanted to make Mac n cheese, but I hate how it gets gritty when I use flour. We used cheddar, and heavy cream and it turned out fabulous!
I JUST made this recipe to go with sausages tonight and it was great!
It is a great recipe, and this sauce is a perfect cheese base for any of your favorite flavours, or delicious just on its own!
Jason Brazinski says
Dad here with a Gluten free son, my kids absolutely loved this rendition. Super simple and as good as it gets. Great base for other recipes too.
Yay! I'm glad it was a win with the kiddos! (Mine love it too 🙂
You do know that the macaroni contains a ton of flour? I'm going to try it with either rice pasta or corn pasta. Corn pasta is very yummy, thank you for the recipe. My cheese sauce is going over broccoli.
Yes, I'm aware. This is not a gluten issue for me. I'm okay with traditional pasta. Just a flourless cheese sauce 🙂
Oh...my...goodness!!! My family loves that you shared this! I often make homemade "mac'n cheese", but was frustrated with the graininess and finally did a search to see if there were any solutions out there besides using a higher fat milk (not skim with a roux). I found your recipe this week and I added it to the meal plan. It...was...DELICIOUS!!! I used 4 oz. Fontina and 4 oz. Cabot Extra Sharp White Cheddar. Next time I would do 2 oz. of each and 4 oz. of Sharp Cheddar and add just a splash of milk because it does get a little thick and we loved the creamy, creamy texture. Thank you again so much for sharing!
Just found this recipe via a Google search for "mac and cheese without flour" (too lazy to go to the store right now). I used a blend of cheeses I had in my fridge and it turned out delicious! I'm just cooking for myself so I halved the recipe, figuring I would eat some now and save the rest for lunch tomorrow, but I don't think there will be any left over...
The cream base is what I use for my Philly Cheese Steaks and Steak N Cheese sandwiches. So easy to prepare and a a superb creamy texture. My customers love the cheese. I use a little starch to thicken it though.
I have not made this yet but will experiments for that perfect mac n cheese!
Benjamin B. says
Although I didn't have any cheddar cheese, I substituted it for a Mexican cheese blend and a tiny bit of parmesan, and it still worked out nicely! Additionally, this recipe was a lifesaver, as I wanted to make breakfast for my parents, but I didn't have any flour, so thank you for this.
- Benjamin B.
Gerasimos Makaras says
Does this sauce reheat well? I want to make it to put over steamed broccoli, but know that we won’t eat it all at once. We’ll have leftovers.
I'm not sure as I've never tried it. We're cheese fanatics here! No leftovers. My best guess would be that the sauce will separate when reheating, especially if you reheat it in the microwave. Please let us know how it goes if you try it!
I LOVE that this recipe doesn't require making a roux or really anything and it's still SO creamy! Such an easy throw together weeknight meal in my opinion
I love how easy this recipe is! And with only five ingredients, I can't wait to try!
I've always been a roux gal, but I had to make a mac for a group of folks, and one of them can't have flour! So this was perfect, and honestly, still super creamy and thick without the roux.
Loved this idea and came out so good. I saved some carb here since its without flour. Will make this again.
Gina Abernathy says
I've been looking for the perfect mac and cheese recipe and this is it. I added a little smoked gouda and it was amazing.
Mandy Applegate says
I've been looking for a mac n cheese recipe without flour and this turned out perfect!
Evaporated milk is such a great way to thicken the cheese sauce without flour!
Amanda Wren-Grimwood says
What a great idea for a fuss free sauce! I'll be using this on vegetables too, not just pasta.
Shadi Hasanzade says
Love how easy and straightforward this recipe is! It's foolproof and just perfect in every way!
I've never thought to use evaporated milk for mac and cheese- I love how smooth the sauce turned out!
My kid is a big fan of this easy Mac and cheese recipe. I love that there’s no flour!
This stove top mac and cheese turned out perfect. The evaporated milk adds so much creaminess. Adding this to my weekly menu.
My kids love mac and cheese for dinner. I tried your method without the roux and it works! Came out delicious too!
Creamy, cheesy, comforting goodness right here. This is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
Such simple ingredients for such a delicious mac and cheese! Perfect recipe for the kiddos, too. Yum!
Carrie Robinson says
Using evaporated milk is the way to go when making homemade mac & cheese! 🙂 This looks so perfectly creamy and cheey.
This is so easy and tasty. I do the gluten-free option.
Such a great option for those that need a flourless cheese sauce.