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 930 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 930 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)


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

Key #2: Use Evaporated Milk

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.

Why is my baked 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.

What to add to mac and cheese to make it better? ›

Here are a few of my favorite ways to upgrade boxed mac and cheese in three ingredients or fewer:
  1. Broccoli + Shredded Chicken. ...
  2. Bacon + Peas + Egg. ...
  3. Garlic + Pickled Jalapeños. ...
  4. Mushrooms + Thyme + Grated Gruyère. ...
  5. Pesto + Sun-Dried Tomatoes. ...
  6. Kimchi + Bacon + Chopped Scallions. ...
  7. Cherry Tomatoes + Basil + Mozzarella.

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.

Why use condensed milk in mac and cheese? ›

Start your cheese sauce by making a roux. Add 1/2 stick of butter to your sauce pan and melt. Add sweet condensed milk (1-2 tbsps) and combine with butter. This step is optional, but the sweetness helps balance the natural acidity from all of the cheese and ties all of the flavors together.

Why do people use evaporated milk in mac and cheese? ›

Smooth sauce.

The cheese sauce also uses evaporated milk to stabilize all the cheesiness that doesn't separate, curdle or become grainy. Multiple cheeses: The recipe is seasoned to perfection with hand-picked seasonings and using three cheeses – sharp cheddar, smoked Gouda and Gruyere for maximum cheesy seduction.

What not to do when making mac and cheese? ›

Here's what several experts say are the biggest mistakes when it comes to making macaroni and cheese at home and how to avoid making them.
  1. Using Only Cheddar cheese. ...
  2. Not Adding Spice and Seasoning with Salt. ...
  3. Choosing the Wrong Pasta. ...
  4. Overcooking. ...
  5. Skimping on the Toppings.
May 21, 2020

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

That higher concentration of milk proteins means evaporated milk is more stable, so it's less likely to “break” or curdle. Evaporated milk also usually contains stabilizers, such as carrageenan, which help keep your mac's sauce super smooth and silky.

What is the trick to keeping mac and cheese creamy? ›

Cook your noodles in milk instead of water

Cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes your resulting mac and cheese creamier. According to The Kitchn, cooking your noodles in milk instead of water makes the sauce creamy before you even add the cheese sauce.

What is the most perfect cheese to use on Mac & cheese? ›

Gruyere is a classic addition because it melts much like Cheddar, but has a lovely nutty flavor. Other classics include Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, fontina, Havarti and Monterey Jack. Brie works well too, just make sure you remove the rind before mixing it in.

What is the best cheese combination for mac and cheese? ›

For a mac and cheese recipe, consider the combination of sharper cheddar cheeses and a flavorful Parmesan. This cheese adds a boost of fruity, nutty notes to your favorite macaroni recipes. Parmesan is also ideal for grating on top of mac and cheese before you bake it to add golden color.

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

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

Feta, queso fresco and paneer

As delicious as feta is in a salad or sprinkled over soup, this dry and crumbly cheese just isn't ideal for mac and cheese. Feta has a high moisture level and doesn't melt properly, so it would clump rather than give you a smooth sauce.

Is Velveeta real cheese? ›

Though Velveeta is no longer an FDA-defined genuine cheese, it does have some similarities, namely pasteurized milk and cheese culture.

How many cups of cheese are in an 8 oz block? ›

Cheddar cheese commonly comes in 8-ounce blocks. This will be equivalent to about 2 cups when grated.

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 milk product for mac and cheese? ›

Evaporated milk is a great choice for making boxed mac and cheese. However, there are many other options. For a standard box of kraft mac and cheese, you can use heavy cream, pasta water, yogurt, oat milk, soy milk, cream cheese, and more!

Which is better milk or evaporated milk? ›

In terms of nutritional value, evaporated milk has a higher nutrient concentration than fresh cow's milk and, therefore, more calories. It has over twice as many grams of carbohydrates, protein, and fat – except for the reduced fat and fat-free varieties – and higher mineral content.

What does evaporated milk do to cheese? ›

Those starch molecules thicken the sauce, while the concentrated milk proteins from the evaporated milk add that signature dairy flavor, without all the water you'd get from cream or regular milk. Translation? Smooth, shiny, perfectly emulsified cheese that doesn't clump, taste floury, or break into greasy pools.

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