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?
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Melt the cheese. Add the Velveeta – it’ll melt easier if you cube it up – and stir until until the sauce is creamy.
- Stir in the mac. Add the drained mac, mix everything up and enjoy!
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.
Instant Pot Velveeta mac and cheese
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Set on low for 1.5 hours with the lid on, stirring occasionally.
- 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.
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
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
If you’re looking for the creamy mac and cheese of your childhood, this is it.
- 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
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.
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.
Add the cubed Velveeta and shredded cheddar and stir until melted and creamy.
Add in the drained macaroni, mixing until evenly coated, taste and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
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.
Velveeta Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12.8g80%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.