How to make the creamiest bacon mac and cheese ever

This is the creamiest, most delicious bacon mac & cheese that you’ve ever made, all without turning on your oven. Our secret ingredient is the ever-controversial American cheese, but just trust us — it melts like a dream!

Stovetop Bacon Mac & Cheese

Serves: 5-6 people

Total Prep & Cooking Time: 1 hour


8 slices bacon, chopped

1 onion, finely minced

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

3/4 pound small pasta shells

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup American cheese

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish

1. First, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your paste according to package directions. Drain and toss with a little olive oil to keep from sticking. Set aside, but reserve a bit of the bacon for garnish later.

2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, cook your chopped bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan, and add in your minced onion. Cook for 8 minutes or so over medium heat, until translucent. Add in your minced garlic and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant. Place on the same plate as the bacon.

3. In the same pot, reduce the heat to medium-low. Add in your butter and flour, and whisk until smooth, being careful not to let the mixture brown. Turn the heat up to medium, add in 1/2 cup of milk at a time, whisking until slightly thickened before adding in the next 1/2 cup. Bring to a simmer, then add in the cheddar cheese. Whisk until smooth, then add in the American cheese and use a wooden spoon to mix until smooth. Add in your salt and spices and stir to combine.

4. Add in your pasta shells, crisped bacon, scallions, and cooked onions and garlic. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Garnish with extra scallions, bacon, and cracked black pepper. This will keep well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.

Written and produced by Sydney Kramer and Kristen Griffin

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