This southern baked mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Enjoy this creamy mac and cheese as the perfect BBQ side or as a standalone main dish.
Classic Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
We love a good baked mac and cheese recipe over here at The Cheese Knees, which is why we’re so thrilled to be adding this southern mac and cheese to our collection.
This southern mac and cheese extra cheesy (37 oz. of cheese!) and super creamy (our roux comes together with butter, evaporated milk and whole milk), and then is baked to cheesy perfection in under an hour. You’ll love it.
why you’ll love it!
Extra cheesy: we aren’t skimping on the cheese here, people. This mac and cheese has a whopping 5 varieties of cheese!
Serves a crowd: this southern mac and cheese is made in a casserole dish, and serves 12 people.
Versatile: serve this mac and cheese as a delicious side at your next BBQ or as the main meal — kids will love it!
Pasta: we’re using a classic elbow macaroni in this mac.
Roux: we’re whisking together a roux for ultimate creaminess in this southern mac. You’ll need unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, whole milk and evaporated milk.
Seasonings: this southern mac and cheese is simply seasoned with salt and pepper, cayenne and paprika. Don’t like the heat? Feel free to skip the cayenne.
Cheese: this recipe calls for 5 varieties of cheese! You’ll need shredded cheddar, shredded Monterey jack, cream cheese, grated parmesan and Velveeta cheese.
How to Grate Cheese
Whether you have a box grater at home or find yourself in need of grated cheese and no grater, we’ve got you covered on how to grate cheese without a cheese grater!
How to Make Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package recommends.
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
Add the whole milk and evaporated milk to the pan. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to be sure the roux is whisked in.
When the milk has thickened add the spices, 3 cups of cheddar, the Monterey jack, cream cheese, and parmesan. Cook until all of the cheeses have melted.
Stir in pasta
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix. Then stir in the cubed Velveeta chunks.
Bake mac and cheese
Transfer the noodles to the baking dish, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the macaroni. Bake at 350℉ for 30-40 minutes uncovered.
Let rest & enjoy!
Allow mac and cheese to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
This le creuset casserole dish is our all time favorite casserole dish! The white color rocks, it has a cover, and it’s great for so many dishes.
Top Tips for Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
Always shred your own cheese: Try your best not to use pre-shredded cheese when making this cheese sauce. Sometimes there can be an anti-clumping agent in pre-shredded cheese.
Choose your favorite pasta: We used a classic elbow macaroni noodle in this southern mac and cheese, but you can feel free to use any shaped noodle your cheese-loving heart desires. Some great options, include:
- Bow tie
Under cook the pasta: Regardless of the variety of pasta you use for this southern baked mac and cheese, make sure to boil the noodles UNDER al dente. The noodles will continue to cook and absorb moisture during the baking process.
Store this southern baked mac and cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
Reheating Southern Mac and Cheese
The key to reheating mac and cheese is to add a little moisture (milk works great!) since the noodles continue to absorb moisture even after they’re originally cooked, and to reheat low and slow to avoid the cheese breaking down and changing texture.
If you have time to reheat your southern baked mac and cheese in the oven, that is a great method! Simply add a little milk (start with a tablespoon, and go up from there depending on how much mac you’re reheating!), and stir thoroughly before covering an oven-safe dish and placing in the oven at 350°F.
You’ll need 10-20 minutes of reheating time, depending on how much mac you’re reheating.
Southern Baked Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. elbow macaroni noodles
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1.5 cups whole milk
- 12 oz. evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese divided (~4 cups)
- 4 oz. shredded Monterey jack cheese ~1 cup
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 5 oz. grated parmesan cheese ~2 cups
- 8 oz. Velveeta cheese cubed (~2 cups)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package recommends. About 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the whole milk and evaporated milk to the pan. Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot to be sure the roux is whisked in. Cook for another 2 minutes.
- When the milk has thickened add the spices, 3 cups of cheddar, the Monterey jack, cream cheese, and parmesan. Cook until all of the cheeses have melted. About 3 minutes.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and mix. Stir in the cubed Velveeta chunks.
- Transfer the noodles to the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of the macaroni.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes uncovered.
- Allow mac and cheese to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Tips & Notes
- We chose a variety of cheeses for this dish. We recommend keeping the cheddar the same.
- Skip the cayenne pepper if you don’t like spice.