Homemade Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 4

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.

Related Posts



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.