Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

I love the blue box Macaroni and Cheese.  I know it’s a terrible thing, but it has been my favorite food ever since I can remember.  When I didn’t feel good, my mom would make me mac & cheese.  It’s so creamy and comforting.  I’ve been on the search for a homemade version that will give the same texture and flavor as the blue box, but of course is better for you because you know what’s going into it.  I’ve made a few macaroni & cheese recipes and this one in particular is both the most popular post on my blog and the most controversial. Some of you tried it and loved it, while some tried it and and did not like it at all.  I think that may be because I’ve found that mac & cheese can be a very personal dish.  It evokes feelings of comfort and brings back memories of childhood and loved ones.  Some like stovetop versions, others prefer baked, some like creamy and some like extra cheesy. I think mac & cheese in particular can be a dish that is very much based on personal preference.  What’s your favorite way to eat mac & cheese, baked, stovetop, creamy, cheesy??

With that said I decided to make Alton Brown’s version at the recommendation of Valerie . I really, really loved it, even more than the revolutionary kind I made.  It still wasn’t quite as creamy as I like it, but it was really cheesy and the flavor was fantastic.  I kept eating noodles right out of the pot before we made it to the dinner table!:) So while I might still be on the lookout for the creamiest mac & cheese recipe I will definitely be making this one again because I loved how cheesy and melty it was! I will say, I only had a 5 oz. can of evaporated milk and it called for 6 oz., so that may have made a slight difference in the creamy factor.

Alton Brown’s Stove Top Macaroni & Cheese
Source: Alton Brown, Food Network

1/2 pound elbow macaroni (I mixed elbow & ditalini)
4 tbsp. butter
2 eggs
6 oz. evaporated milk (fat free is fine and I used a 5 oz. can)
1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for boiling
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground dry mustard
10 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil.   Add a sprinkling of salt, then boil your noodles according to package directions.  Once al dente, drain the pasta and return it to the pot.  Add the butter and stir until butter has melted.

Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, whisk together the eggs, evaporated milk, cayenne, 1 tsp. salt, pepper and mustard.  Once the noodles are cooked, drained and the butter has melted, stir the milk mixture into the noodles until incorporated.  Add in the cheese and stir over low heat until cheese has melted, approximately 3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings as a side dish (may serve more but we loved it so much we went back for seconds!)

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  1. I LOVE MAC AND CHEESE IN EVERY FORM! Oh my gosh…noodles AND cheese?! I’m DONE. It’s OVER. When I see it I have to have it.
    I love putting extra spices in the Kraft blue box when I’m too busy for lunch…like cilantro, chili powder, a dash of paprika, salt and black pepper. Sometimes even a dash of ginger powder. My god…YUM.

    Please come to my home and make me mac & cheez!

    • Great idea to jazz up the blue box! I will have to try that!

      • I have actually taken the packets out of Kraft Blue Box and used them in my “homemade” mac and cheese, that’s bad but what’s unforgivable is that I never shared my “blue box” secret when everyone started complimenting me about my delicious dish!! haha

  2. I’m so excited about this recipe! I love mac & cheese (I’m a blue box girl too!) but we’re not big milk drinkers in the house. With just two of us who barely drink milk, it gets used a little bit and then goes bad and we throw it out. I hate that! So anyway, we hardly ever have milk. And you need milk for mac & cheese. But never once have I thought to use evaporated milk, which we often have. I think this’ll change my mac & cheese life 😉

  3. I tend to prefer stovetop mac and cheese because it seems moister – cheesier and gooey-er.

    • I agree with you on that one!

    • I’ve never been a home made mac-n-cheese lover. Love the box kind with a T. of shredded cheese mixed in….just enough to make it stringy but not grainy.
      I made a recipe last night that I got from Pinterest.
      Jalapeno bacon mac-n-cheese.
      I should have stopped at the sauce before mixing it. It was cheesy and velvety.mmm but when I mixed it with my pasta( large elbow mac) it thickened and was grainy…I did not care for the breadbrumb topping…Oh well, I guess I’m spoiled to melting velveeta cheese and a little milk and then baking just till a nice c
      risp crust forms.

  4. Wow, that looks yummy. Another recipe to add to my list!

  5. YUM!!!!!

  6. Just made this for dinner and it was awesome! I will never buy box mac n chees again! 🙂

  7. Meredith says:

    I might have to try this one also! I have 2 PICKY eaters, so I like to try new things with them!!

  8. jeninga75 says:

    OMG…Let me just say that I tried this one on the author’s suggestion after not being too fond of the Revolutionary Mac and Cheese. I don’t say this lightly but this is about as perfect as you can get without using processed cheese. It’s tasty and very creamy. I had a few changes only out of necessity. I had an 8oz of block of cheese only because at the store I couldn’t remember how much I needed. And instead of real butter, I replaced it with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. I don’t usually use real butter unless I’m baking. When I was done, I had a lot of cheese sauce to the amount of pasta so I added about a cup of broccoli and that soaked up alot. So I think the 5 oz would be enough unless you’re going to add veggies or meat. I can see doing that and making it a meal.

    Anyway, enough of my rambling. I will be making this again and again with a combo of different cheeses and seasoning. Thank you so much!

  9. I’m going to make this tonight to go with burgers on the grill. Hoping this is a quick and delicious alternative to my baked mac n cheese.
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  10. This looks delicious! My daughter has an egg allergy and I was wondering how important the eggs are in this dish? Do you know whether they can be omitted or replaced? Thanks!!

    • Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’m not sure if you could replace the eggs or not. They act as a binder in this recipe, but I did just do a google search and came up with a forum where someone had asked that question about this very recipe. They omitted the eggs and still got a great result, so maybe give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

  11. Do the eggs get cooked enough is just a few minutes?

    • The noodles are hot enough and you cook them with the sauce long enough to cook the eggs to a safe level. If you don’t feel comfortable with just a few minutes, just cook it a bit longer. Or I have read some people have had success with the recipe without using the egg. Hope that helps!

  12. frogcooke says:

    I’m going to have to put this on my to try list for sure. I actually liked the revolutionary one. Tried it off pinterest but its basically the same one LOL. I usually add a touch more milk at the end and use a variety of cheeses.

    Whats worse than me loving blue box is that I LOVE velveeta even more!!! My perfect mac and cheese has velveeta milk and butter on it. It’s mac and cheese connoisseur blasphemy. I cant help it. We’d usually have box mac and cheese but when my dad wanted to do “homemade” mac and cheese it would be that. Yummy, creamy, mild cheesy goodness.

  13. Did you use packaged shredded cheddar or did you shred your own? Can’t wait to try this! Mac-n-cheese is Reed’s favorite!

  14. I just made this and it was just as easy as the boxed stuff and just as good and all without all that processed stuff! This will definitely be my new go to recipe…I did use regular milk because I didnt have any evaporated. i also omitted the egg just because I thought it sounded like a weird thing to add. It turned out great this way. I did cook it a little longer after adding the cheese and milk so that the liquid would cook off a bit. Consistency and taste were just great though. Thanks for sharing!

  15. I am excited to try this! I am with you . . . Nothing beats that powder from the blue box!! I am trying to be healthier and was recently diagnosed with Celiac. So my quest to find a near match with natural and gluten free ingredients continues!
    Thank you!

    • Oh I hate you were diagnosed with celiac! Hopefully you can find a gluten free mac & cheese alternative that comes close! This recipe is the closest one I’ve found to the blue box so far. 🙂

  16. Brittany M. says:

    This recipe was DELICIOUS! I made it tonight because I wanted something to indulge in. 🙂 I will say this: I had a 12 ounce can of evaporated milk in my baking cabinet, so I used around 9 ounces of it and made the rest of the recipe as listed; it was SUPER creamy and rich. Just wanted to add in my two cents and say THANK YOU for posting this! 🙂

  17. This recipe is SO delicious. I have tried both normal and ‘light’ evaporated milk and I would DEFINITELY go for full fat/normal evaporated milk. I found that the lighter version curdled the sauce a bit but the normal stuff results in a beautiful silky smooth cheese sauce and it really is such an amazing alternative to the ‘blue box’ which is of course legendary.

    I don’t add salt to mine as the cheese is quite salty so you might want to leave it until the end and add the salt then if you required.

    Many thanks for such a great recipe!

  18. Hi, I noticed this is for 1/2 lb of dry pasta. I would like to make enough for a large group. What would the conversion be? Any suggestions for large batches?

  19. So delicious! I omitted the eggs (Just didn’t have any) and it worked great! I added broccoli and combined it with the herbed chicken from one of your other recipes, delicious!

  20. I don’t know if you’ve seen this recipe, but I am a huge fan of the blue box as well and love this one. I try to use different cheeses and have found a mixture of gouda and white cheddar work perfectly.

  21. Just made this recipe and I am VERY impressed. I have made many Pinterest homemade Mac and cheese recipes and they’ve always failed miserably. I made one recipe and ended up throwing the whole pot away. But this recipe was completely different! We loved it! I ended up using close to 2 cups of cheese, and a dash of skim milk as well a the recipe. I also added hot dogs afterwards. Very yummy, although the sharp cheese was a little too sharp. Haha! So next time I will mix sharp with something else to still get that great flavor but not a much of a slap in the face.

    Thank you for sharing and will definitely remake!!!

  22. This might be a silly question but do you measure the 10 ounces of cheese before or after you shred it? I have an 8 ounce block of cheese, but when I shred it and measure it, it is over 16 ounces…

  23. I love the taste of this, but the texture was off! The sauce seemed more grainy than creamy! Not sure what i did wrong. 🙁

  24. I made this this afternoon and it turned out wonderfully. so amazingly creamy and gooey (stovetop is so much better than baked mac n cheese!) and the evaporated milk was most definitely the kicker. I had to make a few substitutions based on what i had on hand. I used half mild cheddar and half freshly grated parmesan. i also used a pinch of habanero powder in place of the cayenne and a heaping teaspoon of stoneground mustard in place of the dry mustard (clearly, I need to restock my spice cabinet!) I will definitely make this again!

  25. Just made this TONight. I don’t think i added enough milk (whole milk was all i had) to make a real sauce since my cheese was still stringy, but it was really delicious. Better than the blue box, I must say!
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  26. Loved the Mac and Cheese !! And so easy to make and quick…what else would you want at the end of a day:) Glad I found this on Pinterest

  27. Brian Ricciardi says:

    I’ve been making this recipe ever since I saw it on “Good Eats” a few years back. I, like you, love creamy mac and cheese, and have found that the secret to getting this recipe perfect is doubling the evaporated milk, but keeping everything else the same. The flavor is just as good as if you only use 6 oz. of milk, but it’s perfectly creamy, just like the blue box we all secretly love. To reheat, I add about 2 tbsps. of cream or evaporated milk to my bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and heat in the microwave at 80% for about three minutes. It always comes out perfect. Hope this post helps!