Make this delicious Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese that's gooey, velvety, and melty in the center and boasts of it's bold cheese flavor from four kinds: Mild cheddar, Sharp cheddar, Gruyere, + Muenster-----comfort food at its best! Vegan + Gluten-Free options.
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I literally have a variety of mac + cheese recipes on my site because I'm just hooked on this stuff. Growing up as a picky eater, mac + cheese was just one of those things that I enjoyed wholeheartedly. Matter of fact, I re-created my childhood fave, Copycat Broccoli Mac + Cheese to pay homage to the amazingness that was/is mac + cheese. Haha. Anyone else grew up on Velveeta mac + cheese (with or without the broccoli)? Well, look no further, because besides enjoying it baked, a good ole' Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese is exactly what you need!
I had to of course keep it truly Southern with the mix of cheeses and ultra smoothness + gooeyness. It's just a MUST. Besides, you can enjoy this vegan or gluten-free if you need to. It's purely indulge worthy for the entire family----kids + adults like!
But if you're very into baked mac + cheese, I have you covered with this Southern Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs also! It's SO good and SO easy.
If you're used to making mac and cheese on the stovetop, this recipe will be pretty much the same process, unless of course, there aren't particular ingredients that you are accustomed to using. Once you boil + drain the pasta, you'll start things off by sautéing the butter, flour, and seasonings a bit together so that once you pour in the milk, you can whisk everything to a thickened, smooth consistency for a good base.
Then, you'll add in the grated cheeses (they melt better; see further notes on this throughout the post), stir until melted and then add in the cooked pasta. Stir, stir, and wallah!
The ingredients for this Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese is pretty standard (besides the cheeses), and you may have most of them at home right now!
Even though this Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese is based on using mild, sharp cheddar, Gruyere, + Muenster cheeses, you can also switch things up and add a new flare in their flavor profile by adding any of the following grated cheeses:
It's so important to use freshly-grated cheddar cheese for the creamiest results in your mac + cheese, in general. While you can use shredded cheese, it won't melt as seamlessly because it has a special "coating", which prevents it from melting smoothly. NOTE: If you only have shredded cheese, then I recommend adding it to the mac + cheese right after adding the pasta and let it simmer, stirring until melted.
Here, I’ve curated a list of cooking + baking essentials that I use to achieve my favorite baked goods or cooked meals, especially with this Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese. Everything from my fave dutch pot/oven, wooden spoons, immersion hand-blender, mixing bowls, and more. SEE THEM HERE!
If you want to ensure that you make the creamiest Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese every time, I've gathered a few of the tricks + tips that I've learned along the way that can help you to achieve this:
Use cream. While I like to use Almond milk as the base for most of my recipes, if you're not restricted to dairy-free, then feel free to use a creamier base like half + half.
Add a bit of yogurt. You'll need a plain creamy yogurt and adding just a few dollops to your sauce can add extra creaminess.
Use premium, high-quality cheeses. This is my major tip! Using high-quality cheese is super imperative and as I've stated before, using brick cheeses that you grate yourself creates the best results opposed to pre-shredded packaged cheese.
Boil your pasta in milk. This one is such a simple tweak but it does wonders to create fluffier and softer pasta shells. Plus, the starch in the pasta helps to thicken the milk, which you can later use for the base of your sauce.
Always carefully add your flour and butter. I like to start with the lower end of the amount of flour to be used and then add a pinch more to the maximum amount. In doing so, you ensure that your roux isn't too thick which will make your sauce not the creamiest.
You can serve this Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese as an entree all on its own (with a tall glass of Traditional Southern Iced Sweet Tea or Southern Peach Iced Tea) or treat it like a side dish. It’s great with Southern Hot Honey Fried Chicken, Sticky Peach Chicken Wings, or Braised Apple BBQ Braised Ribs and a Quick + Easy Fall Harvest Apple Kale Salad.
Of course, if you're looking to keep things entirely meatless----these Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings/Bites or these Everything Bagel Cauliflower Bites work as the perfect mains for this Mac + Cheese also.
If you're feeling super fancy and you decide that sprinkling homemade breadcrumbs atop your Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese is what you prefer, then be my guess! I'm with ya! Store-bought breadcrumbs will work just fine, but it's also very easy to make your own!
Here's how I make breadcrumbs at home:
Absolutely! To make this Mac + Cheese vegan, simply substitute cheeses with dairy-free shreds and use vegan butter. Also, check out my Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To ensure that this recipe is GF, be sure to use GF-friendly pasta and flour.
Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve. To re-heat, add each serving to the oven, microwave, or stovetop until warmed through.
And be sure to check out this round-up of my favorite Southern Comfort Foods.
If you make this Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese or any other recipe from us, be sure to tag us on Instagram at #Orchidsandsweettea so that we can share the love, rate, comment below, + share!
Creamy Stovetop Southern Mac + Cheese.