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Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

With Thanksgiving just a few days away you may be finding yourself in need of a quick last-minute side for the big day. Or maybe you are you just craving mac and cheese. Either way this unbelievably creamy and slightly tangy easy stovetop mac and cheese will have you tossing the box and opting to make homemade. Best part, this only requires 6 ingredients, and roughly 30 minutes.

*This post is sponsored by Lifeway, as always all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for your support!

On the surface this might look like your typical basic mac and cheese recipe, but what makes this recipe special is the tang you get from Lifeway Kefir. Some mac and cheese recipes call for sour cream, this one calls for Kefir. Why add Kefir? Sometimes mac and cheese is dare I say, too rich. The sourness of the Kefir cuts into the rich cheesy flavor making it well balanced. If you are new to Kefir, it is a cultured milk smoothie that is both smooth and tangy. It is a dream to bake with and a wonderful substitution in savory recipes such as this one. To learn more about Lifeway Kefir check out the SITE.

easy stovetop mac and cheese

What You’ll Need For Stovetop Mac and Cheese

  • Pasta
  • Evaporated Milk – You know all those times you go to the market and need sweetened condensed milk and have to check the label to make sure you didn’t pick up evaporated milk? It is time for you to pick up the evaporated milk.
  • Cheese– Not all cheese is suitable for mac and cheese. In fact, when I made this initially I tried using a cheddar gruyere blend… big mistake. Instead of being super creamy it was bouncy and stringy. Lesson of the story, pick a cheese that melts well. Cheddar and/or American is your friend here. I like to stick away from shelf stable cheese.
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Lifeway Kefir – As stated above this is the key ingredient. Lifeway Kefir comes in a variety of flavors, but be sure to get the plain unsweetened variety for this recipe. A little goes a long way, however if you like really sour mac and cheese add a few extra tablespoons to the recipe below.
easy stovetop mac and cheese

Why evaporated milk and not whole milk?

Evaporated milk is what makes this sauce smooth and creamy. Surprisingly there are a lot of things that can go wrong making mac and cheese, one being the cheese can separate and curdle which can happen if you are using milk. Can you still use milk? Sure, the evaporated milk just adds a safety blanket, and to be honest you can’t tell the difference here.

Can I bake this?

This isn’t a baked mac and cheese recipe, its a 1,2,3 on the stove kind of recipe. However I understand if you want extra melted cheese on top (as per the images). My recommendation is to pop it in the oven on broil for a few minutes. Enough time to melt the cheese on top but not to overcook the creamy cheese sauce.

Can I make this ahead of time?

The best mac and cheese are eaten right away, however if you are looking to reheat, reheat on the stove with a splash of milk to keep it super creamy.

easy stovetop mac and cheese

Looking for other ways to use Kefir? Check out my Pumpkin Spice Almond Muffins Recipe.

Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Print Recipe
This creamy, and slightly tangy stovetop mac and cheese will have you tossing the box.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword Cheese, Mac and Cheese, Pasta
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 people


  • 1 lb pasta
  • 3 12 oz cans evaporated milk
  • 14 oz cheese cheddar or american
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp flour all purpose
  • 1/4 cup Lifeway plain Kefir


  • Cook pasta as per packaging in salted water. Drain when done and set aside.
  • In a deep pot over low to medium heat melt the butter. Once the butter has melted add the flour and combine to make a roux.
  • Continue to cook the roux, continuously stirring, on low to medium heat until light brown color has developed (5-7 minutes).
  • Once roux has developed color add the evaporated milk and whisk to combine. Cook until slightly thickened ( it will coat the back of the spoon approx 5 minutes)
  • REMOVE FROM THE HEAT! Add cheese and stir. Add Kefir and stir.
  • Add pasta and combine. Enjoy!

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