This easy, cheesy and creamy Stovetop Shells Macaroni and Cheese recipe is made start to finish on the stovetop, and is ready in under 20 minutes! A mac and cheese the whole family will enjoy!JUMP TO RECIPE
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The easiest, cheesiest stovetop shells macaroni and cheese recipe!
This deliciously cheesy stovetop mac makes a great weeknight side dish (or main dish for my mac and cheese lovers!). With a quick and easy cheese sauce made with plenty of freshly grated cheese and creamy evaporated milk, this fool proof stovetop mac is always a hit, and ready in a flash! It's WAY better than Velveeta shells, and loaded with real cheese!
To make this easy, cheesy stovetop mac and cheese, you will need:
- A pound of medium sized shell pasta. You could also use elbows, if you prefer.
- Unsalted butter.
- All-purpose flour.
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, dry mustard powder, sea salt, cayenne pepper, and fresh ground black pepper.
- A couple cans of evaporated milk. Use full fat, canned evaporated milk. This is the key to a super creamy stovetop mac and cheese!
- Medium cheddar cheese, shredded.
- Some shredded gruyere cheese. This add a lovely, nutty richness to the macaroni and cheese.
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Note: For best results, shred your own cheese with a box grater or food processor. Stay away from pre-shredded cheese, which includes stuff like potato starch and powdered cellulose. This is great for keeping the pre-shredded cheese separated, but not good for your sauce, as it will adversely affect the thickness and consistency of your cheese sauce.
How to make the Creamy Stovetop Shells Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
This easy and cheesy stovetop macaroni and cheese comes together SUPER FAST, with minimal ingredients. Here's how to make it:
- Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a deep, high walled skillet or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
- Slowly whisk in flour until well incorporated, then whisk in spices.
- Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat, and fold in the grated cheese. Add the cooked and drained pasta, stir well, and serve immediately.
Substitutions and Additions
- If you don't have or can't find evaporated milk, you can use whole milk, but creaminess will vary.
- You can use any smaller shape pasta you like, such as elbows, shells, or rotini.
- Swap out your cheese. Try adding a sharp cheddar cheese to the medium cheddar, or replacing the gruyere with Monterey jack or Swiss.
- Add some crushed Ritz crackers or butter toasted panko bread crumbs to the top just before serving for some added crunch!
Tools for the perfect Mac and Cheese
- A large, high walled skillet or Dutch oven, for making the cheese sauce.
- One large pot to boil the pasta.
- Your trusty box grater, or a food processor with a shredding attachment, for shredding the cheese.
- A whisk and a wooden spoon, for stirring the roux and sauce.
What to serve with the Stovetop Shells Macaroni and Cheese
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Creamy Stovetop Shells Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 1 lb medium shell pasta, uncooked
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (½ stick)
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 12 oz cans of evaporated milk
- 2 cups (an 8 oz block) medium cheddar cheese, shredded
- ½ cup shredded gruyere cheese
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta shells in salted boiling water according to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside. 2. In a deep, high walled skillet or dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. 3. Slowly whisk in flour until well incorporated, then whisk in spices. 4. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. 5. Remove pot from heat, and fold in the grated cheese. Add the cooked and drained pasta, stir well, and serve immediately.
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