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!
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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