This skinny yet creamy and cheesy stovetop mac and cheese is my go-to version. The cheese sauce only requires a few ingredients and, with only a heaped cup of cheese, you’ll get a thick and velvety sauce with all the cheese flavor. Compared to regular mac and cheese recipes, this is a quarter of the cheese usually needed!
Which cheese for mac and cheese?
Many seem to have a strong cheese preference when it comes to this dish. My cheese of choice for mac and cheese is sharp cheddar or medium-sharp cheddar. If you use the orange kind, your mac and cheese will get a nice orange color.
Often times, I use what I have hanging around in the fridge, like sharp mountain cheeses from Austria and Switzerland or a mix of cheeses like sharp cheddar and gouda. If you have a different cheese preference, go for it.
But be aware: Since you only add 5 oz (142 g) of cheese, choosing a mild cheese like fontina or gouda will yield a very mellow mac and cheese, which I consider a bit boring. I’d rather go for an aged and sharp cheese, which will give a nice and intense flavor.
The recipe for this quick stovetop mac and cheese is super simple:
- Cook the macaroni.
- Meanwhile, make the cheese sauce, using butter, flour, milk, and cheese.
- Mix macaroni and cheese sauce.
Sprinke with crushed crackers – strongly recommendes – and chopped parsley if desired.
Skinny yet creamy and cheesy stovetop mac and cheese. You’ll only need a quarter of the cheese usually needed for a velvety mac and cheese.
Recipe: Ursula | lilvienna.com
- 1 1/4 cups (5 oz /142 g) grated sharp cheddar cheese*
- 3 cups (360 g) elbow macaroni
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) flour
- 1.5 cups (360 ml) milk
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- Some crushed crackers (like Ritz or your favorite brand)
- Fresh, chopped parsley (optional)
- Grate cheese and set aside.
- Cook macaroni according to package directions, usually about 8 minutes; drain and set aside. Do not overcook the pasta.
- Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan, Dutch oven, or a high-rimmed pan. Add the flour and whisk to combine, then cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the saucepan with this roux from the heat. Add the cold milk in one go while stirring. Put the saucepan back on the stove and heat over medium heat. Simmer until the roux thickens, a few minutes, stirring often.
- Turn off heat and stir in the cheese until melted.
- Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine. Divide between plates and sprinkle with cracker crumbs and chopped parsley. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
I love to use medium-sharp or sharp cheddar. If you use the orange kind, your mac and cheese will get a nice orange color. Sometimes, I use a mix of sharp cheddar (2/3) and gouda (1/3). If you have a different cheese preference, go for it. But be aware: Since you only add 5 oz (142 g) of cheese, choosing a mild cheese like fontina or gouda will yield a very mellow mac and cheese. Rather go for an aged and sharp cheese, which will give a nice and intense flavor.
Cayenne or Dijon mustard:
For heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper. A teaspoon of Dijon mustard (not powder) is a nice extra too.