This easy macaroni and cheese is always a favorite and the best news? All that stands between you and a bowl of creamy, cheesy pasta is 20 minutes and a few simple steps.
It was inevitable – my slow cooker and I had our first fight.
If you’re new here (oh, hi!), let me catch you up. After many years of estrangement, I reunited with my slow cooker in January and we had the most wonderful honeymoon – together we made a cozy warm French onion soup and tender melt-in-your-mouth short rib sliders and we were happy. So happy.
And then we tried to make macaroni and cheese. It was a disaster! I was so mad – I worked hard measuring, and stirring, and watching it like a hawk to make sure it turned out right and what did my slow-cooker do? It turned out a macaroni and cheese best described as a pile of pasta glue. Cheese flavored pasta glue.
We didn’t speak for three days.
And then I felt bad. The slow cooker wasn’t at fault. Pasta wasn’t meant to be cooked in a slow cooker. Besides, why spend an hour and a half making macaroni and cheese in a slow cooker when you can make easy macaroni and cheese on the stove top? Creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese in just 20 minutes. 20 minutes! On the stove top!
What was I thinking?
Easy Macaroni and Cheese
Back in 2009, I shared a recipe for stovetop macaroni and cheese and it’s been my go-to way to make a quick and easy bowl of cheesy goodness. It’s simple, fast, and customizable. The recipe has evolved over the years, but the method has stayed pretty much the same – boil pasta, mix it with butter, cream, milk, and cheese, and serve. Sometimes I dress it up sometimes I don’t. It just depends on how I feel.
So, there never was a real reason to make macaroni and cheese in the slow cooker and, in retrospect, it all seems sort of silly. I already had the best recipe for creamy, cheesy macaroni and cheese. No need to figure out a different way to make it. It already worked as is.
I hate that my slow cooker and I had a fight, but sometimes that’s how we learn, right? There’s more to explore together, but I think we’ve turned the page on this whole pasta and cheese thing – I’m sticking to my easy macaroni and cheese on the stove top. It really is the best.
More Delicious Pasta RecipesPrint
This quick and easy stovetop macaroni and cheese has always been a favorite. It only takes 20 minutes to get a creamy, cheesy plate of pasta to the table. This recipe serves 4 as a side dish although I usually serve it a main dish – I love to curl up on the couch with a big bowl of this cheesy goodness.
- 8 ounces mezze penne, or other short pasta
- 4 slices of bacon (optional)
- 8 ounces grated white cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces grated provolone cheese
- 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, sliced
- 1/4 cup of cream
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Generously salt the water until it tastes like the sea (try it, you’ll see what I mean). Boil the pasta according to package directions (about 8 minutes if you are using mezze penne)
- In a small pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Remove from the pan (discard the fat) and drain it on a plate lined with paper towels. Once it’s cooled a couple of minutes chop it into small pieces.
- When the pasta is cooked, drain it and then return it back to the hot pot (turn the burner off). Add the butter and cream and stir to coat all of the pasta. Add the cheese and stir until melted.
- Serve with chopped bacon, parsley, and freshly ground black pepper.
- Category: Side Dishes
- Cuisine: American
- Calories: 833
- Sugar: 5g
- Sodium: 1417mg
- Fat: 56.3g
- Carbohydrates: 47.9g
- Fiber: 1.8g
- Protein: 33.3g
Keywords: macaroni and cheese