If you’re looking for the creamy mac and cheese of your childhood, this is it! Homemade Velveeta cheese sauce with tender mac is what mac and cheese dreams are made of.

These days we have fancy mac and cheese with gruyere and breadcrumbs and all that, but do you ever dream of just easy plain mac and cheese, like the box kind, but without the powdered cheese and that mushy pasta? Enter this Velveeta mac and cheese.

Have you ever seen a prettier mac and cheese?

velveeta mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

This mac and cheese is a people pleaser! I mean, right now the only people I’ve been serving it to are myself and Mike, but boy oh boy does it hit the spot, especially after coming in from a crisp and cold walk. Super hearty and heartwarming, so cheesy and so easy.

This super easy homemade recipe is made on the stovetop and can be enjoyed as is, or baked. I like it straight from the stovetop into a bowl, with a spoon because it’s the ultimate in cozy.

I love this mac and cheese because it works as both a main and a side. I’ll serve it up with a salad as a main or as the most amazing side at Thanksgiving. Velveeta mac and cheese can do it all!

Why Velveeta cheese?

Velveeta is the absolutely best nostalgic cheese. It’s the cheese I grew up eating and it makes for the SMOOTHEST cheese sauce ever. It’s makes mac and cheese gooey, cheesy, creamy, and so good. Velveeta shells and cheese is the ultimate taste memory that brings me right back to all the good things about being a kid.

velveeta cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

What other cheese can I use?

The reason why this particular Velveeta mac and cheese is amazing is because it uses the super smooth power of Velveeta but also has the extra added bonus of 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar. You can’t skip out on the Velveeta, but you can switch out the cheddar for your favorite cheese! Try:

  • cheddar – this is the classic, but you can switch it up by choosing between sharp, mild, or medium. Sharp cheddar has the strongest cheddar taste, medium is in the middle, and mild is subtle and milky.
  • mozzarella – extra gooey and stringy mac and cheese with pizza feels.
  • parmesan – complex and full of umami with lovely nutty notes for a little bit of a more elevated mac and cheese.
  • gruyere – smooth and velvety and full of flavor. Gruyere is nutty and earthy and using it in mac and cheese will remind you of fondue.
  • smoked gouda – super creamy and melty with delicious smoked flavors. A campfire-ish mac and cheese for those cozy feels.
  • fontina – a super melty cheese that is buttery and just a little nutty.
  • cream cheese – this is a dark horse but it’ll add even MORE smoothness and creaminess. It’s especially good in crock pot mac and cheese.

How to make Velveeta mac and cheese

  1. Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook your mac (or pasta of choice) according to the package directions, then drain well.
  2. Make a roux. While the mac is cooking, make a roux by melting butter in a saucepan. When it’s melted, add in the flour and spices and stir until everything comes together.
  3. Add the milk. Pour the milk in slowly, stirring so the sauce is smooth and creamy. When you’re done adding in the milk, let the sauce come to a simmer so it thickens up.
  4. Melt the cheese. Add the Velveeta – it’ll melt easier if you cube it up – and stir until until the sauce is creamy.
  5. Stir in the mac. Add the drained mac, mix everything up and enjoy!

velveeta mac and cheese detail shot | www.iamafoodblog.com

Stovetop Velveeta mac and cheese

To be honest, my favorite kind of mac and cheese is stove top mac and cheese because I don’t want to wait for baked! I just prepare the Velveeta mac and cheese and eat it straight from the pot.

Baked Velveeta mac and cheese

Sometimes mac and cheese with a crispy baked top can’t be beat. If you’re a baked mac and cheese lover, just pop the mac and cheese into a casserole dish, top with some extra cheese and bread crumbs and bake at 350°F for about 20-30 minutes, or until the top turns golden, crispy, and crunchy.

velveeta mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Instant Pot Velveeta mac and cheese

  1. Add 2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked macaroni, 1 3/4 cups water, 2 tbsp butter, and 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and dry mustard powder to the Instant Pot insert and stir well.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes then quick release and carefully open the lid. Stir in 1/2 lb cubed Velveeta, 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar, and 1/2 cup milk until the cheese melts and coats all the mac.

Crockpot Velveeta mac and cheese

  1. Add 2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked macaroni, 2 cups milk, 1/2 lb cubed Velveeta cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, 2 tbsp butter, 1/2 tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and dry mustard powder to the Crock Pot and stir well.
  2. Set on low for 1.5 hours with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
  3. Test for doneness at the 1 hour mark and add milk, 1/4 cup at a time if the cheese sauce starts to get too thick.

The right pasta shape

Elbow mac is THE shape for mac and cheese, but sometimes you want something a little more adult. Try these if you’re (somehow) bored of the classic smile shape:

  • Penne – fun fact: penne was intended to look like a fountain pen’s nibs. Penne comes smooth and ridged, but the ridged ones are the best for picking up sauce.
  • Zitiziti are like straightened out macaroni and they’re the closest modern version of the original maccheroni noodle. Be sure not to rinse these pasta between cooking and saucing or the sauce won’t stick as well.
  • Rigatonirigatoni sometimes feels like the overlooked shape for mac and cheese but it’s actually one of the best. The large diameter of tube picks up cheese both on the inside and out, and the ridges pick up even more cheesy flavor than elbow mac could. It’s the most adult shape, to be honest.
  • Gemelli – gemelli means twins and they’re like the DNA shape in pasta form. They’re two tubes, twisted around each other.
  • Casarecce – from the top view these look like little S’s. Because of the shape, they seem to have two layers when you bite down and have a firm and satisfying chew you just don’t get with a single layer pasta.
  • Bucati corti – These are like little telephone cords, cut into 2 inch lengths. They’re a super yummy shape to eat and the nooks and crannies carry a lot of extra cheesy sauce.
  • Cavatappialso known as Scooby Doo pasta, these are fun spirals that bounce when you pick them up. They’re like the giant version of bucati corti.

You can even go homemade! Fresh pasta is easier thank you think. Try this recipe for homemade garganelli or Lorighittas.

Mac and cheese variations

  • Pumpkin mac and cheese – stir in 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
  • Green chile mac and cheese – stir in 1 small can of chopped green chiles
  • Cheeseburger mac and cheese – stir in 1 lb of seasoned browned ground beef, 1/2 cup diced onion, 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Taco mac and cheese – stir in 1 lb of seasoned browned ground beef, 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, and 2 chopped tomatoes. Top with Mexican 4 cheese blend.
  • Bacon mac and cheese – sprinkle on crispy bacon
  • Tuna mac and cheese – stir in 2 cans of drained tuna and 1 cup of frozen green peas
  • Green mac and cheese – stir in 2 tablespoons pesto, and 2 cups cooked chopped broccoli

velveeta mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make a double portion of Velveeta mac and cheese

If you need to make even MORE Velveeta mac and cheese, there’s a handy recipe scaler that you can use below. Just change the “serves 4” to how many you need to serve. Just make sure that you use the ounce measure for the pasta because the scaler only changes the ounce amount for the pasta.

Make ahead Velveeta mac and cheese

You can absolute make this mac and cheese ahead of time and then either bake it in the oven with breadcrumbs on top or reheat it on the stove with a splash of milk, stirring until it becomes loose and gooey. It comes together super quickly but I totally understand how making things ahead for dinner parties and big events makes things easy. I think it heats up perfectly the next day and some how tastes even better?

Can you freeze mac and cheese?

Yes! you can either store it in the fridge tightly covered for a week, or freeze in an air-tight container or heavy duty freezer bag for up to 1-2 months. Don’t forget to label and date it!

How to reheat mac and cheese

Pop it in the microwave, covered and loosen with a bit of milk if needed. You can also cover it with foil and bake it in a low oven (325°F) until hot, about 20 minutes. Stir in a bit of milk after warmed through if needed.

What to serve with mac and cheese

velveeta mac and cheese | www.iamafoodblog.com

Velveeta Mac and Cheese

If you’re looking for the creamy mac and cheese of your childhood, this is it.
Serves 4
4.56 from 125 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 25 mins

Ingredients

  • 8 oz macaroni about 2 cups dry, or other small pasta of choice
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1.5 cups milk of choice
  • 1/2 lb Velveeta cheese cubed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Instructions

  • Cook the macaroni in a large pat of salted water according to the package directions and drain well. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted, stir in the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and dry mustard, until smooth and incorporated.
    Making a seasoned roux | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour the milk into the pan in a thin stream while whisking, until smooth. Keep on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, 3-5 minutes.
    combining milk and roux to make a bechemel | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add the cubed Velveeta and shredded cheddar and stir until melted and creamy.
    creamy velveeta cheese sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Add in the drained macaroni, mixing until evenly coated, taste and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
    adding macaroni to velveeta sauce | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

To bake: Scoop the mac and cheese into a oven safe casserole dish, top with 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar and 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs or crushed ritz crackers and bake at 350°F until the cheese melts and is golden and crisp, 20-30 minutes.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Velveeta Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 501 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 12.8g80%
Cholesterol 67mg22%
Sodium 920mg40%
Potassium 194mg6%
Carbohydrates 56.6g19%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 9.9g11%
Protein 21.9g44%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

37 Comments

  1. James Anurukem says:

    5 stars
    Wow i Will really love to eat this ?

  2. Nicole A says:

    5 stars
    Made this for the kiddos tonight, they loved it! Added a little green onion and had a small bowl myself, so much better than the box stuff from my childhood. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Stephanie says:

      yay happy you and the kiddos love it. the green onion sounds like a pro move!

  3. Katie says:

    5 stars
    Easy, quick, and yummy. Note, I did NOT follow the recipe exactly as written.

    Instead of milk, which I was out of, I used 1 cup of half and half, and .5 cups of cream.

    I used the Velveeta as is, but made the cheddar a mix of taco shredded cheese and parmesan. I don’t know that it made a significant difference though, as velveeta has a tendency to overtake a dish haha.

    It was delicious, easy, and took almost no time at all (outside of waiting for the water to boil!).

  4. Jacki Weiss says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight with Salisbury Steaks and Brussel Sprouts. We’re in heaven! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. Zoida says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious ?
    My Italian husband liked his lips all thru dinner.

  6. Deborah Marie Bower says:

    5 stars
    This was so simple and easy to make. My husband and kids absolutely loved it. Way better then the boxed stuff for sure. This recipe is now in my family recipe book. This is amazing

  7. Greg says:

    5 stars
    Best mac and cheese recipe I’ve ever made hands down.

  8. Jamie says:

    5 stars
    Omg I have been missing this my whole life!? Soooo good! Hubby won’t stop saying how much he loves it! Didn’t change a thing. It was perfect. Thank you!!

  9. Revali says:

    Wow this looks great, can’t wait to try!!

  10. Aaron Aldrich says:

    I am making this today

  11. Love Joy says:

    5 stars
    Just made it and we love it!! So simple yet so delicious!! Thanks!!

  12. Annette says:

    Can I make this the night before and bake it the next day? I’m afraid that it might become dry.

    1. Stephanie says:

      you can but the noodles will soak up some of the sauce so it won’t be AS creamy as the day before :)

  13. Amanda says:

    5 stars
    Made this tonight, used jack cheese cheddar mix and velveeta. How did I miss this all my life. The 18month old actually sat in her chair and ate it, ALL! I also used rotini noodles with it, soooooo good!

  14. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    I’ve been making this for years! My sons are all grown men now with kids and my grandkids love this as well! Best mac & cheese recipe out there!

  15. Jane says:

    5 stars
    I made this gluten free and it was great!!

  16. Louise Taylor says:

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight chsnged up recipe a little just used old cheddar velvetta then topped with shredded cheddar bacon bits breadcrumbs the best mac and cheese i ever had Thanks for sharing recipe

  17. deanna says:

    can i leave out the mustard?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi deanna,
      yup, but it adds a lot of flavor!

  18. Kat says:

    4 stars
    Any suggestions how to make this for a party? 30 ish people. Not sure my crockpot will be enough!

    1. Stephanie says:

      hey kat, you can definitely scale the recipe, but you’d have to make it on the stove for sure! use the part of the recipe that says “serves” and change it to 30. the cup measure won’t change though, so make sure you use the ounce measure for the pasta part :)

      1. KK says:

        Thanks for the clue on servings. I will be using this for 40 youth group kids next week. Can’t wait.

  19. Adam Holguin says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe, super creamy and seasoned perfectly.

  20. Kayla says:

    Hi, I am confused…the recipe says 2 cups (8 oz), but 2 cups is 16 oz. I wanted to use 32 oz of pasta total and was going to just double the recipe but the 2 cups/8 oz is throwing me off. Thank you :)

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi kayla,
      the ounce measurement for the macaroni is for weight, 2 cups of macaroni is about 8 ounces. hope that helps! if you want to use 32 oz pasta, you need to quadruple the recipe!

  21. Hello there says:

    5 stars
    Add little beer to the sauce, whole different meal again

  22. Linda says:

    Greetings from Vancouver,

    Hi can I make this without Velveeta or will it become a grainy mess? I need to use up the gouda and Cheddar that’s been sitting in my fridge from the holidays 😅.

    Linda

  23. Evelyne says:

    5 stars
    Wow. That was so good. Can the unused sauce keep a few days in the fridge? Will it still be tasty if re-heated? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie says:

      i haven’t keep they sauce on the side before but you can definitely do that and then reheat it with a bit of milk to thin it out

  24. Amy says:

    5 stars
    You can do it stovetop but get the baked feel/taste by putting it under the broiler after sprinkling bread and or cracker crumbs on top after putting it in a casserole or baking dish…been doing it that way for years!

  25. Dana says:

    5 stars
    Delicious, and so creamy! I changed the servings to 12 and it called for 24oz. of pasta, but after I put everything together, I had to add about another 8oz and it was perfect. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but it was still delicious and it made a ton! So easy, I’ll definitely make again!!

  26. Janine says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely yummy! Hubby, a mac and cheese connoisseur, said it was the best mac and cheese he has ever had. We like a little spice so I added 1tsp of Dijon instead of dry mustard and added pepper jack cheese. Wonderful in every way especially since it is so EASY to make.

  27. James says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious, very easy to make. I like the flavor the seasonings give it, just a little tang.

  28. Steve says:

    I make double this and add some sliced up sausages and diced jalapenos(minus the seeds) which I cook up in a little oil and pour into the mac n cheese. Easy gourmet mac n cheese. I sometimes will cook up the mac n cheese the night before and then bake covered in oven the next day with a layer of sliced cheddar and then bread crumbs on top and then uncover at end to brown bread crumbs.

  29. Georgie says:

    5 stars
    My husband and son loved it

  30. jignesh says:

    Absolutely delicious! Mac and cheese expert hubby declared it to be the greatest he has ever eaten. We enjoy very little spiciness, so I substituted dry mustard with 1 tsp of Dijon and added pepper jack cheese. Fantastic in every way, especially considering how EASY it is to make.

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Thanks for reading as always!
-Steph & Mike