November 25, 2019 | Last Updated on February 8, 2021 by Patricia Valbrun
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese also known as soul food mac and cheese, is the ultimate comfort food. Rich, Creamy, ooey-gooey, decadent with an abundance of cheese and those crispy browned cheese edges no one can resist.
This mac and cheese recipe has many similarities to another of my favorites; Ultimate Baked Ziti. They are both creamy, and dreamy, comfort food that gets baked to cheesy, bubbly perfection in the oven.
SOUTHERN MACARONI AND CHEESE
Who doesn’t love Mac and cheese, it’s a classic southern dish your friends, family and of course kids love, even though they’re hard to please. There are many recipes out there that you can experiment until you find exactly what works for you. To making a roux, custard or just an easy mix of everything in one bowl, no flour no eggs but I honestly love them all.
This baked macaroni and cheese is quite delightful because of the following CRUCIAL KEY ingredients:
Butter:is always essential in Southern Mac and Cheese recipes. It adds richness and additional fat.
Heavy Cream/Half and Half:For liquids to create additional creaminess, both heavy whipping cream (which also has butter) and half and half are used.
Eggs:The eggs are essential since it will add stability to the baked dish and allow everything to come together perfectly.
Shredded Cheese: This mac and cheese is made of cheeses like sharp cheddar, havarti and gouda for a lovely depth of flavor.
WHAT TYPE OF CHEESE?
Don’t be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used five types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, don’t use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
Tips for Making the Best Macaroni and Cheese
It’s so important that you salt the pasta water. If you don’t salt the pasta water, the macaroni itself will be bland and it’s likely that your Southern macaroni and cheese won’t be as flavorful as it should be.
You also must use high in fat milk in this easy macaroni and cheese recipe. That extra bit of fat adds moisture and flavor to the baked mac and cheese. Skim milk is a major no-no in this recipe!
Lastly, you can leave out the condense milk if you like as it is optional but also a game changer, in my opinion.
WHAT GOES WITH MAC AND CHEESE?
Mac and cheese is great as a side dish or a main course. I often serve it as a side dish with one of the following options.
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow pasta
- 1 32 oz chicken stock
- 32 oz water
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 cups half n half
- 1- 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp sweet condense milk no more than this amount
- 1 stick butter 1 tbs for skillet
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp white pepper
- 7 oz harvarti cracker barrel
- 7 oz white/cheddar marble cracker barrel
- 7 oz gouda cracker barrel
- 8 oz monterey jack cabot vermont
- 8 oz mozzarella krafts shredded
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a large put add water, chicken stock, olive oil and salt. Bring to a boil then add pasta and cook for 15 mins. Make sure to do not overcook better a little under cook.
- In a small bowl start making the custard. Add eggs ( if you have small eggs use three), half n half, heavy whipping cream, sweet condense milk stir and set to the side.
- Shred all cheese if you do it ahead of time which is better reserve it in the refrigerator.
- Once pasta is fininshed cooking drain water and add to a large boil. Also, add butter, sour cream, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, white pepper and salt. Stir until well combned then add 1 cup of cheese.
- Grease skillet with 1 tbsp of butter. Start layering macaroni and cheese like you do lasagna. Pasta, cheese and then custard just about three layers ending with custard.
- Sprinkle paparika and a little bit of basil on top.
- Cook on 375F for 45 mins total. 20 mins covered and remaining time uncovered .
How did you like this recipe? Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Looking for another amazing recipe ? Try these Fried Chicken next!