15-Minute Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese Recipe: A Kid-friendly Thanksgiving Side Dish by Ann Marie Patitucci

15-Minute Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese Recipe: A Kid-friendly Thanksgiving Side Dish

My kids love macaroni and cheese, but I don’t love the boxed varieties with the orange powdered cheese, preservatives and artificial ingredients. I have a homemade mac and cheese recipe that I love but it’s not quick to make. What I really needed was a quick and easy, kid-friendly recipe for busy days when we don’t have much time between activities.

This homemade stovetop macaroni and cheese recipe takes only 15 minutes to make. That's about the same amount of time it takes to make the boxed kind (but without the preservatives and artificial ingredients). With this kid-approved recipe, you can say goodbye to powdered orange cheese forever. This is a great Thanksgiving side dish not only because the kids will love it, but it doesn't require the oven.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8


  • 8 ounces uncooked elbow macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup whole milk (or 2 percent milk)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Here’s how to make it:

  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, sea salt, and garlic powder together. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add flour mixture and whisk to combine. Cook until mixture is slightly brown, about 1 minute. Add 1 cup milk and whisk until smooth. Add sour cream (or Greek yogurt) and whisk until smooth. Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture is thickened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let it boil.
  3. While mixture is cooking, cook elbow macaroni to al dente (add a pinch of salt to the boiling water). Drain but do not rinse.
  4. Once mixture is thick (it will stick to the back of the spatula), reduce heat to low and add shredded cheese. Whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth. Taste cheese sauce and add more sea salt and seasoning, if desired.
  5. Add cooked pasta to the saucepan of cheese sauce and stir until the sauce is evenly distributed. Let the mac and cheese cool for 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese sauce has thickened a little bit and sticks to the noodles. 

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Great idea to add Greek yogurt to Mac and cheese.
Ann Marie Patitucci
Yes! That was a new ingredient for me!
Julio Caro
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