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A graphite Staub gratin dish with baked macaroni and cheese on a white countertop.

Southern baked mac and Cheese


Southern baked macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! It’s rich, savory, and super cheesy. Enjoy it for holidays and special occasions. Serve it as a main dish or side. Add this baked mac and cheese to your recipe arsenal!


  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz) elbow macaroni, uncooked*
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 (12-oz) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or as desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into tiny pieces
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 pound Velveeta, cut into small cubes
  • 4 oz Colby Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 1/2 cups)
  • 4 oz mild cheddar cheese (or American cheese), shredded

FOR CREAMIER (SAUCIER) MAC AND CHEESE: Use only 2 cups (8 oz) elbow macaroni, uncooked.



  1. In heavily-salted water (it should taste like the ocean), boil pasta al dente according to package directions. Do not overcook! Drain well.
  2. Shred the blocks of cheese.
  3. Adjust oven rack to the center position. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  4. Butter the sides and bottoms of two square 8 x 8-inch baking pans, or a pair of cast-iron gratin dishes, a mix/match of both, or one 9 x 13-inch baker.


  1. Transfer cooked and drained elbow macaroni to a large batter bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, and whole milk, sugar, salt, white pepper, black pepper, dry mustard and smoked paprika. 
  3. Pour wet mixture over the macaroni. Briefly mix with a spatula or spoon to combine. Add butter, sour cream, cubed Velveeta, Colby Jack, Monterey Jack, and sharp cheddar. Fold and mix to incorporate.
  4. Transfer mac and cheese mixture to prepared baking pan(s). Sprinkle mild cheddar cheese (or American cheese) over the top.
  5. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the casserole is bubbly with a lightly-golden crust. Don’t over-bake this dish. The cheese mixture can become dry and the noodles mushy.
  6. Let mac and cheese cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy this dish while it’s warm and creamy!


  • WHY COOK PASTA AL DENTE? This prevents the pasta in the finished dish from being limp. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven.
  • CRUNCHY TOPPING FOR MAC AND CHEESE: This southern baked mac and cheese recipe has a beautiful golden crust that doesn’t need a crumb topping to make it better. But if you prefer a hearty crunch, sprinkle with lightly-crushed potato chips or corn chips just before serving.
  • HOW DO YOU STORE BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE? Once completely cooled, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. Immediately refrigerate the cheesy casserole. It will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • CAN MAC AND CHEESE STAY OUT OVERNIGHT? No. It will develop bacteria. It will not be safe to eat.
  • CAN YOU FREEZE MAC AND CHEESE? This is not recommended. The textures and flavors will not hold up well when frozen. 
  • MORE INFO ABOUT THIS SOUTHERN RECIPE: Further tips are included in the body of the post, along with helpful step-by-step recipe images.
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 Minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: African American

Keywords: Baked Mac and Cheese, Southern Baked Mac and Cheese, Macaroni and Cheese