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 936 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 936 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)


How do you keep homemade mac and cheese creamy? ›

Add more milk if you haven't already. More milk leads to less dry mac and cheese. If that doesn't work and you've already tried, use a different type of cheese. Velveeta works well.

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.

How do you make mac and cheese taste better? ›

Here are five tips to elevate your next dinner to include extra flavor and texture.
  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.
May 21, 2022

Why add sour cream to mac and cheese? ›

Whether making it from scratch or the box, sour cream is the secret ingredient to rich and creamy macaroni and cheese. This tart and tangy additive goes a long way regarding recipes, and just a dollop can transform any dish into a thick and creamy masterpiece.

Is evaporated milk better than milk for mac and cheese? ›

It is better to use heavy cream for Mac and Cheese instead of milk, or better yet, use evaporated milk which has the thickness of heavy cream without all of the fat! Furthermore, it is more stable than heavy cream so your Macaroni and Cheese is less likely to curdle or separate.

Why use evaporated milk in mac and cheese? ›

Evaporated milk is a highly concentrated source of milk protein micelles—bundles of proteins that can act as powerful emulsifying agents—which help to keep the sauce creamy and smooth.

What are the 3 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 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 is the best flavor to add to mac and cheese? ›

Black Pepper: Always a must! Nutmeg: This is also optional but trust me, a dash of it goes a long way to balance the tangy cheese flavor and all the fats. Cayenne Powder: A little sprinkle makes all the difference. It does not make this spicy – it just balances the flavors.

Why does my homemade mac and cheese taste bland? ›

Try adding a little more salt first, because that might fix it. If the problem was the cheese you use doesn't have much flavor, then try adding some other flavors, such has mustard or hot sauce.

What cheese makes the best mac and cheese? ›

The Best Types of Cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar. The king of all cheeses when it comes to coating your noodles. ...
  • Gouda. Gouda is a seriously underrated cheese when it comes to cooking! ...
  • Gruyère. Despite it being a hard cheese, Gruyère still melts nicely. ...
  • Cream Cheese. ...
  • Brie. ...
  • Goat Cheese. ...
  • Parmesan. ...
  • Anything pre-shredded.
Mar 14, 2023

Why is my mac and cheese never 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.

What does adding more milk to mac and cheese do? ›

Milk helps amplify the cheese flavor and gives it a rich texture. The water keeps it light, and reduces some calories. I boil the macaroni in water , drain it, and combine it with a cheese sauce made with flour, milk and butter.

How do you keep homemade mac and cheese from drying out? ›

Add more cheese

That final layer of cheese on top isn't just for looks; it also helps keep the saucy noodles underneath from drying out during baking. Breadcrumbs also help insulate the noodles, acting as a protective layer while baking that also happens to add a nice little crunch.

Why is my homemade mac and cheese not creamy? ›

Things that I've learned are:
  • don't use low fat milk -- the higher the fat content the smoother your cheese will melt/incorporate.
  • once the base is made (the flour, butter, milk "sauce" -- bechamel?) take the pot OFF the heat.The more your heat your cheese sauce, the more it will get gritty.
Sep 5, 2019

How do I make sure my mac and cheese doesn't dry out? ›

But the secret to baked mac and cheese is this crispy top, which hides a creamy, soft bottom. That extra layer of cheese helps hold in the moisture when it bakes in the oven. Just be sure not to bake it too long so the macaroni doesn't dry out! Bake just until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

How do you keep mac and cheese from drying out after cooking? ›

For an individual serving or small amounts, use the microwave or stovetop. For larger amounts of frozen mac and cheese, use the oven or toaster oven. For all methods, to keep the mac and cheese from drying out, stir 1 tablespoon milk into each 1 cup mac and cheese before reheating.


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