My white cheddar mac and cheese is loaded with delicious sharp white cheddar in a creamy sauce that's in every tender bit of the macaroni pasta! It's also incredibly easy to make with this simple stove top method that everyone is sure to love!!
This amazingly tasty and versatile stove top mac n cheese is a family favorite!
Find a kid (or adult, for that matter) who doesn’t like mac and cheese. The ooey, gooey richness, comfort food texture and flavor, and belly-filling goodness make mac and cheese so irresistible!
We’re used to the easy-to-make mac and cheese from the box, which is undeniably delicious, but there’s so much more to a great mac and cheese than a packet of bright orange powder. My white cheddar mac and cheese is the “grown-up” version of this classic dish, perfect as a mouthwatering main course or a scrumptious side.
When it comes to mac and cheese, this one is a real winner. The white cheddar is unique and delicious, and blends into the pasta perfectly. If you’re used to the “old-fashioned” style of mac and cheese, this version will wow you!
The grated white cheddar melts over the macaroni as the heavy cream and butter give this mac and cheese true decadence. Combined with the right blend of seasonings and spices, the end result is a mac and cheese that is gourmet-level.
Get your saucepan ready and gather the below ingredients. In about 30 minutes, your white cheddar mac and cheese will be done in time for dinner.
- Elbow Macaroni – The classic shape cradles the cheddar. Cook, drain, and rinse so the pasta is ready to go once the sauce is done simmering.
- Butter – Everything’s better with butter! It not only adds richness to your cheese sauce, but it also makes that wonderfully smooth consistency.
- All-Purpose Flour – A thickening agent to make your mac and cheese the perfect sauce perfectly creamy.
- Garlic Powder – Flavor your mac up with a kick of garlic to keep it from being bland tasting.
- Ground White Pepper – Season without those specks of black if you love the perfect white appearance. Use ground black pepper to season if desired.
- Salt – Enhance the flavor of the mac and cheese. Start with a small amount and add more to taste as the cheese packs plenty of salty goodness!
- Onion Powder – Paired with the garlic powder, this dish will be aromatic and super tasty.
- Heavy Cream – Rich and robust to make the mac and cheese melt in your mouth.
- White Cheddar – The star of the show. Get a decent cheddar for the ultimate mac and cheese experience.
Obviously, this recipe calls for white cheddar. I'm using a sharp white cheddar in my mac for a touch more flavor.
Swap cheeses - You can use regular yellow cheddar in its place if you can’t find white cheddar at your grocery store. Other great melting cheeses are Colby, Colby-jack, and mozzarella.
Gruyere cheese has a stand-out flavor that is amazing as well! All measurements and instructions remain the same otherwise.
Some mac and cheese recipes call for a toasty breadcrumb topping. While I do enjoy that slight crunch, this white cheddar mac and cheese is a standout in appearance without the breadcrumbs to interfere with its beauty.
Bake it - If you would like to add a breadcrumb topping, take this easy stovetop mac recipe and transfer the white cheddar mac into a lightly greased baking dish. Combine 1 ½ cups Panko breadcrumbs with ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, 4 tablespoons melted (and cooled) butter, and ¼ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika.
Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl then sprinkle over the dish of macaroni and cheese. Bake at 350°F (175°C) for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the topping is a light golden color.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
My white cheddar mac and cheese recipe yields 8 hearty servings, or 4 huge ones! Make a double batch by multiplying the measurements if you have more mouths to fill or a ravenous bunch ‘round the table.
Let’s get started, as I’m sure you’re eager to enjoy!
Cook the Pasta
- Boil the pasta. Cook the pasta in a large pot or Dutch oven. Use salted water and follow the package instructions for how long to boil the elbow macaroni. Your macaroni should have an al dente texture when done (firm to the bite).
- Drain the pasta. Drain and rinse the cooked macaroni in cool water. Set aside. *You can use the same pot to make the sauce, if desired.
Make the Cheese Sauce
- Melt the butter. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt 1 stick (½ cup) of butter over a medium heat setting.
- Make the roux. When the butter is completely melted, add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and all the seasonings – 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, ½ teaspoon onion powder, and stir them all together until a paste is formed.
- Whisk in the cream. Add 2 cups of heavy cream and whisk until well-combined. Your sauce should be nice and smooth.
- Melt the cheese. Add 3 cups of grated white cheddar cheese and stir until melted completely, then remove from the heat source.
- Combine with pasta. Pour your white cheddar cheese sauce over the cooked, drained, and rinsed 1 pound of macaroni noodles and mix well, but gently, to coat all of the macaroni completely.
If you are a true cheese lover, you can garnish the dish with additional shredded white cheddar cheese and watch it melt over the top. Serve up your white cheddar mac and cheese and enjoy!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
You can store leftovers of your white cheddar mac and cheese in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-5 days. I recommend eating your leftovers within 1-2 days for freshness.
Store your cooked macaroni and cheese in a freezer storage container for up to 2-3 months. For best flavor, your mac is best enjoyed within the first 1-2 months of being frozen.
Your mac is best reheated on the stovetop. Portion your desired amount into a saucepan and warm the serving(s) over low heat. Add more milk as needed to keep the mac creamy.
To microwave a single portion of leftovers, heat on high power for about 2 minutes if refrigerated and 4 minutes if frozen, longer if needed. Add milk as needed to keep your sauce creamy.
You can replace the heavy cream with something lower in fat, but your resulting mac and cheese won’t be as rich and creamy. To swap out whole milk, 2% milk, 1% milk, or skim milk for the heavy cream you will need to increase the amount of flour to achieve the same thickened base sauce.
Spice it up with any of your favorite spices! I'm already adding garlic powder and onion powder (in addition to salt & pepper), but chili powder, red pepper flakes, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and Italian seasoning are all great stir-ins too.
White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni (cooked, drained, rinsed)
- ½ cup butter (1 stick or 8 tablespoons)
- 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp white ground pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 cups white cheddar (grated)
- Cook your pasta according to the package instructions until al dente (firm to the bite) in texture. Drain, rinse in cool water, and set aside.1 lb elbow macaroni
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.½ cup butter
- Once the butter is melted, add the flour and seasoning - garlic powder, salt, white pepper, and onion powder. Stir until a paste is formed.2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp white ground pepper, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp salt
- Add the heavy cream and stir or whisk until the mixture is smooth.2 cups heavy cream
- Add the grated white cheddar and stir until melted, remove from heat.3 cups white cheddar
- Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni noodles, and stir to coat all of the pasta. Garnish with additional cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.1 lb elbow macaroni
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!