Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
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This one-pot Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe only takes 15 minutes to make. It’s full of flavor, extra creamy, and made with two types of cheese! My family devours this easy recipe whenever I make it.

Creamy Homemade Mac And Cheese 

This incredible Mac and Cheese recipe only takes 15 minutes to make and uses just one pot. It’s just a little more work than a boxed mix, but the flavor is 100x better. It’s made with real ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen.

I use a mixture of sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese, but this recipe is easily adapted to use whatever meltable cheese is in your fridge. You can also add in your favorite mix-ins, for an elevated dinner!

It’s a dream come true for any of you fellow mac and cheese lovers out there — just wait till you try this recipe! I bet you won’t have any leftovers. ;-) 

Close up image of creamy mac and cheese

Why Make Mac And Cheese From Scratch?

If you are waffling on making your own homemade mac and cheese versus a box, let me share why I think homemade is better:

  1. It takes about the same amount of time! Just 15 minutes for this mac and cheese recipe.
  2. This recipe uses all real cheese, unlike store bought mixes. 
  3. FLAVOR. This Mac and Cheese is loaded with flavor. Just wait till you try that first bite!
A platter with sour cream, cheese, butter, cream cheese and noodles.

What You’ll Need

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to make homemade mac and cheese. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Elbow noodles – You can use other kinds of pasta too, like cavatappi or ziti.
  • Cheese – I use a blend of sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese.
  • Cream Cheese and Sour Cream: Because we are using real cheese, I like to use a little cream cheese and sour cream help to smooth out the melted cheese. You know, smooth like Velveeta, but actual real cheese.
  • Butter
  • Garlic – I know the raw garlic is a little unusual, however I promise it doesn’t taste like raw garlic. It does add a lot to the overall flavor!
  • Ground mustard – An optional addition, but most of the mac and cheese you have eaten has a little ground mustard. Just like the garlic, the final recipe doesn’t taste mustard-y, this just helps to round out the flavor of the cheese.
  • Salt and Pepper

What is the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese?

I recommend using two types of cheddar cheeses to give it the best flavor: sharp cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese. I like the Cabot block cheeses because they have such great flavor and make an epic homemade mac and cheese! Other yummy cheeses you can use include:

  • Mild Cheddar or Sharp Cheddar
  • White Cheddar
  • Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack
  • Mozzarella
  • Gouda or Smoked Gouda
  • Provolone
  • Gruyère
  • Fontina

Shred Your Own Cheese

I recommend using blocks of cheese that you shred yourself. I know, I know, but it makes a big difference. Pre-shredded cheese has starch on it to keep it from clumping and is dryer than actual blocks of whole cheese. 

If you do end up using pre-shredded cheese in this recipe, you may need to add a little splash of whole milk. The added starch from pre-shredded cheese will thicken the recipe, so you may need something else to loosen it again. You will know at the end if you want to add a little milk to yours or not! 

A serving spoon taking out a scoop of mac and cheese out of a skillet.

How To Make Mac and Cheese In 3 Easy Steps

  1. Boil pasta and drain! Return cooked pasta to the pot and place back on the stove over low heat.
  2. Add everything else. Immediately stir in all remaining ingredients and continue stirring until completely melted.
  3. Devour. Immediately dive in and try not to say MMM out loud!

Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese

  • Use block cheese and shred it. Pre-shredded cheese is coated and won’t melt the same as a block of cheese that you shredded yourself. Plus, if you let your food processor do all the work it’s not really that much extra effort.
  • Use salted water. This adds extra flavor to the noodles.

Variation Ideas

If we’re feeling crazy, sometimes we elevate our mac and cheese to a decadent dinner with some fun additions. Below are some of my favorite mix-ins or toppings:

I also love creating an epic southern dinner by topping this homemade mac and cheese recipe with my slow cooker pulled pork!

A white bowl filled with homemade Mac and Cheese

How to Store and Reheat Extras

  • Fridge: Store extra mac and cheese in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • To Reheat: Scoop the desired amount into a microwave-safe bowl and zap it until the pasta is warmed through. For extra creaminess, I recommend adding a tablespoon or so of milk and stirring that into your mac and cheese before heating.

This recipe for Homemade Mac and Cheese is as delicious as it is easy. There is so much flavor and cheese-y goodness in each bite! Plus, no one would guess that you made it in just 15 minutes with one single pot! 

When you try this recipe, make sure and come back and leave a review or comment on how this recipe turned out for you! 

Close up of creamy Mac and Cheese
4.5 from 137 votes
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Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe

This easy, one-pot Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe only takes 15 minutes to make. It's full of flavor, extra creamy and made with two types of cheese!
Prep Time3 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time15 minutes


  • 2 cups elbow noodles, about 12 oz
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter, chopped
  • 1 oz cream cheese, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard, optional
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • In a large pot over high heat, bring salted water to a boil. Add elbow noodles; cook according to package.
  • Drain noodles, lower heat to medium-low, and return cooked noodles to pot.
  • Immediately stir in both shredded cheeses, sour cream, butter, cream cheese, garlic, ground mustard (optional) salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Continue stirring until completely melted and serve immediately!



For a more yellow, traditional mac and cheese, use a combination of sharp cheedar and mild cheddar cheeses!


Serving: 1, Calories: 536kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 39g, Saturated Fat: 22g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 111mg, Sodium: 695mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Recipe Rating

58 Responses
    1. A woman holding a camera standing in front of some shelves.

      Sadly no, the noodles tend to soak up too much of the cheese and you wind up with mushy Mac and cheese once you thaw and reheat it. :-( So glad you liked it though!

  1. Shaie

    OMG thank you for is this recipe! It was the beat stovetop homemade Mac n cheese I ever made. I have an extremely picky eater and if it doesn’t taste just right he won’t eat it. This came out perfect. I did tweak it a bit, used garlic salt instead of regular salt and fresh garlic (didn’t have fresh garlic on hand) and added a bit of onion powder. This is a must keep recipe for me! Thanks for sharing! 

  2. Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

    This incredible Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipe looks really delicious! I have to put this on my menu!

  3. Dorothy Reinhold

    I bet your added ingredients add so much flavor! I love that you used different cheeses to mix it up.

  4. Beth Vachon

    Making for dinner! Using extra sharp Irish Cheddar and a smoked gouda adding in some diced kielbasa and broccoli :)

  5. Heather of Kitchen Concoctions

    I like to add cream cheese to my mac and cheese but never thought to use sour cream to achieve that rich creaminess. I’ll have to give this a try next time I am craving that comforting cheesiness of homemade mac n’ cheese.

  6. Katie

    I want the Tom Fords – and this is coming from someone who rarely wants expensive things (and even MORE rarely purchases them)! So tempting. But I feel guilty enough buying a pair that costs more than $50. Or $20 sometimes. *sigh*

  7. Sarah

    This is a great recipe! I did not add the garlic (I’m a loser!) and it tasted great! It’s very rich, so you can’t eat a whole lot in one sitting.

  8. Apron Appeal

    If you plan on wearing the sunglasses for a very long time, I think spending $300 is fine. I’ve had my maui jims for over 10 years. Sometimes when you spend a lot of money on something, you take better care of it. When I don’t buy nice sunglasses, I end up purchasing 1 or 2 pair each year – and that adds up to.

  9. Nikki

    I love making homemade stove-top, but I still can’t resist the box every now and then. :) And, cute shades, girl! TOMS knock-offs? I’m all for it!

  10. Becky

    Yum! This will definitely be the next mac & cheese recipe for me to try – I’ve tried several different kinds and while they’re good, they’re not the perfect texture/taste I’ve been trying to achieve – this looks like a keeper! :)

  11. seantellc

    I’m totaling making this tonight with my burgers, but I think I’ll add some jalapenos to it. MMmmm thanks for this recipe I loves me some mac and cheese!

  12. Stella

    I am always searching for a good non-roux based mac and cheese. Not GF or anything, just not a fan of the subtle texture the flour lends to the saucy business. Thanks for this!

  13. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    I’ve never used sour cream or cream cheese in mac ‘n cheese but it sounds like a delicious idea! This looks so mouthwatering, Jessica! Could be made light with whole wheat noodles, light sour cream and fat free cream cheese!

  14. Joanne

    If you’re going to be demanding about anything, then mac and cheese is totally the place to do it. I just feel like if I’m ingesting a ton of cheese calories it had better be showstopping. And taste like unicorns. This SO is.

  15. Ann

    It looks FANTASTIC! I love the “290 times better”….you crack me up! (and I suspect this recipe is 290 times better than the blue box)

  16. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Something is wrong with me — i’ve been living in the States for 6 years now and never tasted mac and cheese before. Gotta alter this ASAP. Thanks for this simple yum recipe :)

  17. Rebecca

    Jessica-I grew up eating homemade velveeta
    Mac n cheese. Use velveeta as your cheese
    Cube and layer with cooked pasta and
    pepper. Add milk until you can see it at the
    top. Bake 350 for at least an hour, stirring
    occasionally and add more milk if needed.

  18. Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker

    No matter how many mac n’ cheese recipes I find, I can’t resist trying new ones. This looks awesome, and I love how truly quick and easy it is!

  19. Rachel Cooks (formerly Not Rachael Ray)

    LOL, you are hilarious, but I think your reasoning is spot-on. This looks amazing but I should disclose that I will pretty much inhale any type of mac and cheese that I happen upon. My husband is one of those garlic hating losers…ugh!

  20. Kristen M.

    This past Christmas my sister got two pairs of Tom Ford sunglasses from her husband in addition to other gifts. I was like what?!?!? I am more of the knockoff girl.

  21. Lenore

    Haha I died when I read your “if a loser” comment! I looove stovetop Mac ‘n’ Cheese, so I neeeeed to try this!

  22. amy @ fearless homemaker

    my favorite sentence of this post: “If you are a loser and do not like garlic, just leave it out!” ha, love it! =D

  23. Annika

    Cabot cheese is the absolute best!! I’ve been loving the Seriously Sharp for years now and have turned all my family and friends onto it! I might just have to make this tonight!

  24. shelly (cookies and cups)

    Thank god I am not the only one with completely unreasonable expectations of designer wares!

  25. Bev @ Bev Cooks


    Dying because I UNDERSTAND the sunglasses thing. I’m about to do the SAME with some Ray Bans. Don’t tell anyone.

    Also dying because I want 35 little bowls of that awesomeness.

  26. Jessica Lynn

    Mac & Cheese (Velveeta variety) is my husband’s all-time favorite food. ever. I’ve made countless homemade versions for him to try, and while he likes them all, he keeps going back to his boxed kind. My goal in life is to make a mac & cheese—from scratch—that he’ll love. Whenever I see a new recipe for it I make it for him…maybe this one will do the trick? Crossing my fingers!

  27. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    In 2007 B.C. (before child) and before that, I bought designer shades. Now, I buy Target. lol

    And I buy camera lenses. Who am I now?!

    I love the rich purple velour styling on this post…beautiful!


I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.