Classic Southern Baked Macaroni: A Taste of Home & Comfort

As a southern cuisine chef, I take great pride in serving up dishes that bring comfort and joy to those who enjoy them. That is why I am thrilled to share with you my recipe for Southern Baked Macaroni – a comforting and soulful dish that will surely satisfy all of your cravings.

Macaroni and cheese is already a beloved classic in many homes, but when it comes to Southern-style mac and cheese, it’s a whole different ball game. This dish incorporates extra sharp cheddar cheese, colby jack cheese, monterey jack cheese, and mozzarella into a decadent cheese sauce that perfectly complements the tender elbow macaroni pasta.

The beautiful thing about this dish is its versatility; it can be made as a simple weeknight dinner, served at a gathering or fulfilled as a standout selection in your spread. Once you have given this recipe your time and love, you’ll never see mac and cheese the same way again.

Join me as we dive straight into the heart of Southern cuisine with this winning Southern Baked Macaroni Cheese recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Southern Baked Macaroni
Southern Baked Macaroni

If you’re a fan of soul food, then you’re going to love this southern baked macaroni recipe. Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also incredibly delicious. This dish is perfect for any occasion, whether it’s a family dinner or a holiday gathering.

The combination of sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese with a touch of creaminess from the cream cheese and heavy cream makes this macaroni cheese divine! The macaroni pasta is cooked to perfection and coated in a creamy, cheesy sauce that is just right.

This baked macaroni recipe has been handed down from generations, making it a time-tested classic. For those looking for heart recipes, this macaroni casserole is a winner. You’ll savor every bite of this rich and indulgent comfort food.

Plus, this recipe allows for personalization with its various substitutions options. Choose between extra sharp or sharp cheddar cheese and experiment with different cheeses like Colby Jack or Monterey Jack. Condensed milk or sour cream can be used instead of heavy cream as well.

This southern-style baked macaroni will have everyone at the table begging for seconds. It’s an ideal choice for those who want to put on their aprons and whip up something special without too much hassle or confusion.

In conclusion, if you’re in need of a new cheesy dish to add to your repertoire or endless recipes for baking some good old-fashioned soul food, then this southern baked macaroni recipe is the perfect choice for you!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to dig into this cheesy and creamy Southern Baked Macaroni!
Get ready to dig into this cheesy and creamy Southern Baked Macaroni!

Get ready to fill your pantry with the best ingredients for this Southern Baked Macaroni recipe.
Cheese Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (8 oz) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 oz) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup (4 oz) colby jack or Monterey jack cheese, shredded
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

Macaroni Pasta and Cheese Sauce:

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni pasta, uncooked
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Additional Ingredients:

  • Bread crumbs to sprinkle on top of the macaroni cheese (optional)

Invest in high-quality ingredients such as sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese, unsalted butter, and fresh macaroni pasta to achieve the best taste for this outstanding Southern Baked Macaroni.

The Recipe How-To

 Transform simple ingredients into a crowd-pleasing and delicious meal.
Transform simple ingredients into a crowd-pleasing and delicious meal.

Here is my detailed guide on how to make Southern Baked Macaroni:

Step 1: Preheat oven and cook macaroni
– Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) before you start.
– Cook the elbow macaroni according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water.

Step 2: Make cheese sauce
– In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over medium heat.
– Add in 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and whisk for about 2 minutes until golden brown.
– Slowly pour in 3 cups of whole milk, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth.
– Add in 1 cup of heavy cream, 8 oz of cream cheese and continue whisking until melted and creamy.

Step 3: Mix ingredients together
– Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and mix well until combined.
– Then, add in 2 cups of Colby Jack cheese, 2 cups of extra sharp cheddar cheese, and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Mix together with salt and black pepper.

Step 4: Bake the macroni
– Transfer the macaroni mixture to a greased butter baking dish or casserole.
– Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top.
– Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until it’s bubbly around the edges and golden brown on top.

Step 5: Serve hot
– Once baked to perfection, remove from the oven with oven mitts.
– Allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Enjoy your soul food baked Southern Baked Mac And Cheese!


Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect comfort food, ideal for chilly nights and family gatherings.
The perfect comfort food, ideal for chilly nights and family gatherings.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to mix things up, there are plenty of substitutions and variations you can try with this Southern Baked Macaroni recipe. Here are some ideas:

– Cheese: While I recommend using sharp cheddar and mozzarella cheese, you can experiment with different types of cheese. Colby jack, Monterey jack, or even cream cheese can add a unique flavor to the dish.

– Milk: If you don’t have whole milk on hand, feel free to use 2% or even skim milk. Alternatively, you could use a combination of evaporated milk and half-and-half cream for a richer flavor.

– Eggs: The eggs in this recipe help bind everything together and make the dish creamy. However, if you’re allergic to eggs or prefer not to use them, you can omit them entirely.

– Pasta: While elbow macaroni is the traditional choice for baked mac and cheese, you could also use penne or bowtie pasta for a fun twist. Additionally, you could substitute some of the macaroni with cooked cauliflower or butternut squash for a healthier version.

– Bread Crumb Topping: You can make your own bread crumbs by pulsing stale bread in a food processor until they form fine crumbs. Alternatively, if you don’t have bread crumbs on hand, crushed crackers or potato chips work as well.

Remember that while these substitutions and variations are fun to experiment with, they may alter the texture and taste of the final dish. So be sure to keep these adjustments in mind and adjust quantities accordingly.

Serving and Pairing

 The gooey cheese, crispy top, and tender pasta will keep you coming back for more.
The gooey cheese, crispy top, and tender pasta will keep you coming back for more.

When it comes to soulful comfort food, nothing beats this Southern Baked Macaroni Recipe. This classic dish with its creamy, cheesy, and rich flavor is hearty enough to be served as the centerpiece of a meal or as a side dish.

To serve, remove the baked macaroni from the oven and allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes. This will allow the dish to set and make it easier to cut into portions. Slice into squares or scoop out generous spoonfuls onto each plate.

For a complete Southern-style meal, pair this delicious macaroni cheese recipe with some crispy fried chicken or juicy baked ham steak. You can also add some roasted veggies like broccoli, peas, or carrots on the side.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try something new, switch up the traditional pairing and serve it with a simple garden salad or steamed green beans. The key is to balance out the richness of the baked macaroni cheese with lighter sides that add texture and freshness.

Some people love to sprinkle some bread crumbs on top before serving for an extra crispy finish. But whether you choose to keep it classic or add your own twist, this soul food baked macaroni will be a winning dish at any dinner table. So go ahead and give it a try!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Nothing beats homemade baked mac and cheese from scratch!
Nothing beats homemade baked mac and cheese from scratch!

Once you’ve enjoyed this soulful baked macaroni and cheese dish, you may have leftovers on hand. Fortunately, reheating this southern-style macaroni cheese recipe is easy and can be done without losing its classic flavor.

To make ahead, assemble the dish as directed but do not bake it. Simply store in a tightly sealed container and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. This is a great option for those who want to prepare the dish ahead of time for holiday gatherings or any event that requires preparation time.

If you have leftover baked macaroni cheese, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to reheat, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you can pop it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes on high heat.

To keep your baked mac cheese tasting fresh and deliciously creamy, store separately any bread crumbs, toppings or garnishings that might get soggy when stored alongside the casserole.

Whether it’s a leftover or a pre-planned meal idea, this southern macaroni and cheese dish can easily be reheated for a hot and satisfying homemade meal.

Tips for Perfect Results

 A classic dish everyone loves with a southern twist.
A classic dish everyone loves with a southern twist.

When it comes to baking the perfect southern-style macaroni and cheese, it’s all about the cheese sauce. Here are a few tips to ensure that your baked mac and cheese turns out creamy, cheesy and utterly delicious:

Firstly, be sure to choose the right blend of cheeses. A combination of sharp cheddar, extra sharp cheddar, mozzarella, colby jack and Monterey jack create a well-rounded flavor profile that truly shines through in this dish.

Secondly, don’t skimp on the dairy. Use a mixture of whole milk and heavy cream for a decadent and creamy consistency. If you’re looking to lighten things up a bit, you can substitute half-and-half or even evaporated milk for some or all of the heavy cream.

Thirdly, choose your pasta wisely. Elbow macaroni is the traditional choice for macaroni and cheese, but feel free to experiment with other shapes such as fusilli or shells. Just make sure to cook them al dente and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Fourthly, season your cheese sauce well with kosher salt and black pepper. These simple ingredients go a long way in enhancing the flavor of the cheese sauce.

Lastly, top your macaroni and cheese with breadcrumbs before baking for an added crunch. And if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, add a few slices of butter on top before baking for a browned and crispy finish.

By following these tips, your southern baked macaroni and cheese will be as close to perfection as possible!


Before we move onto the FAQ section, let me remind you that Southern Baked Macaroni is a classic soul food dish with a cheesy and creamy flavor that everyone loves. Now let’s address some questions you may have on how to make this recipe even better.

Should I bake my macaroni covered or uncovered?

When it comes to making southern-style macaroni and cheese, there are a few tips and tricks that can make all the difference in the final dish. For starters, while it may be tempting to cover your mac and cheese when baking it, leaving it uncovered ensures that the top layer becomes irresistibly golden and crispy.

While cheddar is the classic cheese choice for mac and cheese, don’t be afraid to experiment with other types of cheese to give your dish a unique flavor profile. I recommend trying a combination of sharp cheddar, gouda, and maybe even a sprinkle of smoked paprika for some added depth.

To really make your Southern mac and cheese dish into a filling meal, pair it with some veggies and a healthy protein option like grilled chicken. Not only will this balance out your meal, but it will also help you feel satisfied and energized. So give these tips a try and enjoy a mouth-watering dish of Southern-style macaroni and cheese!

What are the best cheeses to use for baked macaroni?

When it comes to incorporating cheese into your southern-style cuisine, Gruyere is a favored choice due to its ability to melt and its delightful nutty taste, similar to Cheddar. Some additional popular options you can consider are Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, fontina, Havarti, and Monterey Jack. While Brie also makes an excellent choice, ensure to remove the rind before adding it to the mix.

How do you make Paula Deen’s mac and cheese?

Let’s get started on making some delicious southern-style mac and cheese. First, grab a pot, fill it with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, toss in some macaroni and let it cook for about six minutes until it’s tender. Drain the noodles and set them aside for now.

Now it’s time to make the cheesy sauce. In a saucepan, mix together some butter and cheese and stir until the cheese has melted completely. This will be the base for our mac and cheese.

Next, grab a slow cooker and pour in the cheese mixture. Add in some sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard, and pepper to give the dish some extra flavor. If you don’t like the idea of adding eggs, you can skip them altogether.

Give everything a good stir and then set the slow cooker on low heat for 2 ½ hours. Make sure to stir the mixture occasionally to ensure it’s cooking evenly.

After 2 ½ hours, your mac and cheese should be ready to serve. The cheesy sauce should be thick and oozy, coating each piece of macaroni perfectly. All that’s left to do is grab a bowl and dig in!

Why is my baked mac and cheese not creamy?

Making a perfect macaroni and cheese sauce requires the right balance of butter and flour by weight. It’s crucial not to add too much flour, which can result in a lumpy, floury sauce. Even if you get the roux right, overusing or reducing the sauce too much can lead to a dry mac and cheese.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this southern baked macaroni recipe is a delicious and comforting dish that will never disappoint. With its rich and creamy cheese sauce, tender elbow macaroni, and a perfectly golden top, this dish is a true heart-warming soul food. This recipe is also perfect for meal preps, family gatherings or potlucks because of its versatility and ease of preparation.

Don’t hesitate to try this southern masterpiece in your kitchen today! Make sure to follow the tips and recommendations provided in this article to achieve perfect results every time. With simple ingredients that can easily be substituted to fit your preferences, there’s no excuse not to give it a try. So grab your apron and baking dish and get ready to indulge in the best cheesy goodness you can imagine!

Southern Baked Macaroni

Southern Baked Macaroni Recipe

My Southern family favorite! The KEY is to taste each stage (except the egg stage) to ensure PERFECTLY seasoned macaroni.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern American
Calories 763.1 kcal


  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) box elbow macaroni
  • 3 -4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese


  • Cook macaroni according to directions on box, DO NOT OVER COOK!
  • Drain pasta in strainer.
  • In a deep and large casserole pan place macaroni.
  • Add butter, taste, add salt, taste, add pepper and taste again. Make adjustments at each stage if necessary.
  • Minus 1 cup of cheddar cheese, add all remaining 5 cups.
  • In a separate bowl mix eggs well.
  • Stir in eggs with a large wooden spoon.
  • Cover all with foil tightly.
  • Cook for 45 minutes at 350°F.
  • Uncover after 45 minutes and add last cup of cheese over the top. Bake uncovered for another 15-30 minutes until desired brownness is achieved.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 128gCalories: 763.1kcalCarbohydrates: 56.9gProtein: 38.8gFat: 41.8gSaturated Fat: 25.2gCholesterol: 185.9mgSodium: 1943.5mgFiber: 2.5gSugar: 2.8g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Cheese, Easy, High In..., High Protein, Inexpensive, Oven
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