This easy recipe for stovetop mac and cheese is ready in 30 minutes. Cheesy comfort food at it's finest!
Do you remember the food you survived on in your University/College/flatting days? I missed the 2 minute noodle bandwagon but our go to my first year living in the halls at Uni was Easy Mac. The nasty, single serve packets that involved teeny macaroni and a flavour sachet being stirred into boiling water and microwaved for 2 minutes. They were so bad but so good! Nothing like a bowl of orange Easy Mac at 3am after a big night out! I guess it's not so hard to see why I gained that "first year 5".
I still may not be an amazing cook but I sure like to think I've come a long way since my Easy Mac days. I still eat macaroni cheese but I like to call this the extended version - fully homemade, sans neon orange colouring!
As much as I love a classic baked mac & cheese, complete with breadcrumbs on top and bacon stirred through, there is something so comforting about this plain and simple cheesy version. Not to mention it's on the table in 30 minutes and only uses 2 pots. That's what I'm talking about!
Boiling the macaroni only takes 20 minutes, and while that's happening you can focus on the cheese sauce. And focus you will. This cheese sauce is the business. Cheese sauce gets a bit of a rap as being something complicated, but it really isn't. As long as you have the quantities right it is hard to go wrong. Some people like to melt the butter first then whisk in the flour, I prefer to add them at the same time and let them melt together, but it's up to you. As long as you keep whisking it so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn, either will work.
You can also skip the step of heating up the milk first, but this really cuts down on the cooking time and is easy to do. Then it's just a matter of cooking for 5-8 minutes until the sauce is nice and thick, removing it from the heat and stirring in the cheese, nutmeg and salt & pepper.
Mix the sauce through the cooked macaroni and dinner is served!
You are more than welcome to add cooked bacon bits, peas or any other add ins, but I like to keep it simple. As Josh likes to say, it's called mac and cheese for a reason!
30 Minute Stovetop Macaroni Cheese
- 250 g dried macaroni
- 50 g butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups grated cheese I used a mixture of tasty & parmesan
- Salt & pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg optional, but awesome
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the dried macaroni.
- In a microwave proof jug, heat 2 cups of milk for about 1 minute, until warm-hot. Set aside. (This step is optional but speeds up the cheese sauce)
- In a medium sized pot add the butter and flour and cook over a medium heat until the butter has melted, whisking constantly. Cook for a couple of minutes, being careful not to let it burn.
- Add about ½ cup of the milk and whisk it into the flour mixture until there are no lumps. Add the rest of the milk and bring to boil, whisking all the time to make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom and go lumpy.
- Once the sauce thickens (5-8 minutes) take it off the heat and whisk in the grated cheese, nutmeg (if using) and salt & pepper.
- Drain the macaroni when it is cooked and stir through the cheese sauce.
- Serve with more grated cheese, a sprinkling of breadcrumbs or bacon bits. Or just as it is!