Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (2024)

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posted by divas can cook on Dec 6, 2009 (updated Sep 18, 2021) 792 comments »

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4.59 from 943 ratings

Southern Baked Macaroniand Cheese

(Soul Food Style)

Watch me make this southern baked macaroni and cheese from start to finish!

I’m pretty sure you all know how hard it is to find a good, southern, soul food style baked macaroni and cheese recipe, right?

People tend to keep a tight grasp on their prized macaroni & cheese recipes, but not in my family. We share our favorite recipes like they are going on out of style! “Aint no sense in taking recipes to the grave” is how my grandmother sees it.

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (1)

Well, imagine my shock when my sister sashayed in on Thanksgiving and casually placed this baked macaroni & cheese on the table. I could have sworn I had all of my family members baked mac n cheese recipes.

What was this impostor all about! The proof was in the taste. I had one (ok three) plates of this macaroni and cheese and was on her heels like ash in the wintertime trying to get this recipe.

My husband took a bite and said, “um, you need to take your mac n cheese recipe off your blog and put this one up. This one is way better than yours!”

THANKS A LOT, MATT…You’ll pay for that comment dearly! lol

Yall this baked macaroni and cheese is FULL OF SOUL!! That is the first thing that came to mind when I took that first bite. Usually, I’m not that into mac and cheese recipes that involve Velveeta, but this one….yeah, this one gets a pass!

I just love how that top layer of smoked cheese forms like a crust. It’s super creamy, flavorful, and easy. The MVP is definitely that SMOKED CHEDDAR! Good God, I couldn’t stop eating this stuff.

So big sis…I will bow down gracefully to you and say that you make THE BEST Baked MAC N CHEESE EVER!
I have printed out this recipe, took a photo of it, laminated it, and put it in my recipe album. Not many recipes get to make it to the album. She’s a keeper!

I’m sure that if you give it a try, it will end up going into your recipe collection, as well.

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (3)

Get the Recipe: Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

4.59 from 943 ratings

This southern baked macaronis and cheese is full of soul and flavor. Smoked cheddar is the secret to this truly addictive, baked macaroni and cheese recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 35 minutes mins

Total Time: 45 minutes mins

Servings: 6

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  • 3 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup Colby & Monterey Jack, shredded (cheese blend)
  • 6-8 oz Velveeta cheese, shredded (feel free to cut back on the Velveeta if you don't want it to be super creamy)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded (can use less if you don't like a sharp taste in your mac n cheese)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (a must)
  • paprika, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.

  • Cook macaroni until just al dente or a little under al dente. (Look on the back of the box to see how long you need to cook your pasta for it to reach al dente.) Be careful not to overcook.

  • Drain pasta and set aside.

  • In a large bowl, add milk, heavy cream & cheeses (except for the smoked cheddar).

  • Stir to combine.

  • Taste the milk mixture and add salt & pepper until it has a good taste. (You can also add in other seasonings like onion powder, paprika, etc. Tasting will help avoid having a plain, bland baked macaroni & cheese.)

  • When you are content with the taste, add the eggs.

  • Stir well until combined.

  • Butter a 9 x 9-inch baking dish.

  • Add macaroni to the baking dish.

  • Pour cheese mixture over macaroni.

  • Make sure the cheese is distributed well.

  • Top with the smoked cheddar cheese. (I add a little more Colby jack as well.) Sprinkle with paprika and/or black pepper, if desired.

  • Bake for 35-45 minutes. Do not overbake. It may be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven. It will firm up as it cool.

  • Let cool for about 10-15 minutes or until fully set.

  • Enjoy!



Smoked cheddar cheese can be found in grocery stores in the specialty cheese section, not with the shredded, common cheeses. I get mine from Walmart.
Do not over bake! Mac and cheese may be a tad jiggly when removed from oven but it will firm up as it cools.
Feel free to use other cheeses, but that smoked cheddar is a MUST!

Cuisine: American, southern

Course: macaroni and cheese, Main, Main Course, Side Dish

Author: Divas Can Cook

Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.

*UPDATE* Sorry sis but I think I’ve discovered a new best-baked macaroni and cheese recipe lol I’ll be posting it soon guys, but this one is still a favorite!!

Wait I’ve got more macaroni and cheese recipes!! Check these out!

Creamy baked macaroni and cheese!

(this one is great for kids and adults It has no Velveeta)

The first mac and cheese posted on my site.

Holiday Holiday Side Dishes Juneteenth Food Main Dish Side Dish Soul Food Classics Southern Classics Thanksgiving

originally published on Dec 6, 2009 (last updated Sep 18, 2021)

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792 comments on “Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe”

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  1. Shauna Smith Reply

    Still not able to find the smoked cheddar cheese shredded here in Chicago

  2. Ruth Reply

    I have mine in the oven right now.

Leave a Reply

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (2024)


What is the difference between Southern mac and cheese? ›

Southern-style mac and cheese is typically made with a milk-and-egg base rather than a roux. Here, the milk component is an infused milk-and-cream mixture reserved from cooking the noodles (which adds even more richness to the dish). The finished macaroni and cheese is firm enough to slice into solid squares.

What to add to macaroni and cheese to make it taste better? ›

8 Ways to Elevate Your Macaroni and Cheese Dinners
  1. Add extra cheese to your dish.
  2. Mix in some hot sauce and chicken to make buffalo chicken mac n' cheese.
  3. Add in vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and spinach.
  4. Sprinkle some bacon bits or breadcrumbs on the top of your dish.
  5. Add spices and fresh herbs to your dish.
May 21, 2022

What are the three best cheeses for mac and cheese? ›

What Is the Best Cheese for Mac and Cheese? Sharp cheddar is the overwhelming popular choice, but for extra-creamy results, we think medium cheddar is even better. Other delicious options include Gruyère, smoked Gouda, and Monterey Jack.

What is the most flavorful cheese for mac and cheese? ›

Gouda - aged gouda can spike your mac and cheese with deeper, pungent flavors, while a smoked Gouda has a meatiness that never disappoints. Blue cheese can add real zing to any mac and cheese. Feta features a tart and salty Mediterranean taste.

Why do white people put bread crumbs on mac and cheese? ›

Why put breadcrumbs on mac and cheese? Not only does a breadcrumb topping for mac and cheese provide great textural contrast to the creaminess within, but it also adds even more flavor to the dish.

How does Gordon Ramsay make the best mac and cheese? ›

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, combine the pasta and milk. ...
  2. Once the pasta is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, cheddar cheese, salt, and pepper. ...
  3. Divide between serving bowls and top with the bread crumbs.
  4. Enjoy!
  5. All your favorite recipes, stored in one place.
May 4, 2023

Why do people put mayo in mac and cheese? ›

The reason mac and cheese with mayo works is because the acid in mayo prevents the dish from ever being too cheesy. Yes, “too cheesy” is a thing, hear us out. Every time you take a bite of your steaming hot mac and cheese, you want to enjoy the delicate mix of flavors.

Why is my homemade mac and cheese not creamy? ›

Pro Tip: Don't use pre-shredded cheese. Many store-bought shredded cheese brands coat their cheese with an anti-caking agent than can make sauces grainy and less creamy. While it requires a bit of an arm workout, grating your own yields the best texture.

Why does my homemade mac and cheese taste bland? ›

If your mac and cheese tastes bland, it's either because it's under-seasoned, you didn't use flavorful cheese, or you didn't use enough cheese. Try adding a little more salt first, because that might fix it.

Can I use yogurt instead of milk for mac and cheese? ›

Finally, using a plain yogurt is one of the best options for replacing milk in kraft mac and cheese! A plain whole milk yogurt or a greek yogurt would work well. Mix it in the same way you'd mix in sour cream, until it is well incorporated. This may have a slightly tangier flavor, but that is a personal preference.

What keeps mac and cheese moist? ›

As a rough guide for 500g (1 pound) pasta you need a sauce made with about 1 litre (1 quart) milk. The pasta should be slightly submerged in sauce when in its baking dish, but once your mac and cheese emerges from the oven the macaroni should be nicely coated with sauce, rather than dry.

Why add cream cheese to mac and cheese? ›

While the cream cheese adds an important lusciousness, it doesn't do the macaroni and cheese any favors when it comes to its flavor, so it's important to use the sharpest, tangiest Cheddar you can get your hands on. For perfectly coated noodles, make sure to cook the pasta in the sauce for a minute or two.

What kind of milk is best for mac and cheese? ›

Milk: Keeps our cheese sauce super creamy. I use whole milk or reduced-fat milk. Mustard and spices: A combination of Dijon mustard, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt makes this macaroni and cheese extra delicious. Cheese: I use white cheddar and parmesan or pecorino cheese.

What cheeses are not to use for mac and cheese? ›

Those preservatives keep the pieces from melting evenly, and you'll end up with gritty, lumpy mac & cheese. Dry, crumbly cheeses like feta or cotija are not ideal. With their high moisture levels, they don't melt properly and will leave you with clumps of cheese instead of a smooth sauce.

What is the difference between northern and southern mac and cheese? ›

It's not southern mac and cheese if it doesn't have eggs in it- this is one of the primary differences between northern and southern. I also suggest mixing everything together before pouring into your casserole dish for better distribution.

What is Southern cheese? ›

The best known "types" of traditional Southern cheese are pimento cheese (which is a dip, not a cheese itself), and hoop cheese, which is now a relative rarity, but was ubiquitous before the 1960s in local stores.

Do Southerners consider mac and cheese a vegetable? ›

The south is a magical wonderland where the okra is fried, the gravy is plentiful, and even mac and cheese is considered a veggie.

Why is mac and cheese southern? ›

The inclusion of macaroni and cheese in “The Virginia House-Wife” helped to popularize the dish in the South and cement its place as a staple of Southern cuisine.

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