SOUTHERN BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE RECIPE! THIS ONE IS PERFECT!
WHAT IS SOUTHERN BAKED MAC AND CHEESE? (ALSO KNOWN AS SOUL FOOD MAC AND CHEESE)
There are several variations of Macaroni and Cheese recipes online however you will see varying differences when it comes to ingredients and preparation and cooking technique.
Most people are familiar with the mac and cheese that is creamy, orange in color and cooked on the stove top. What makes Soul Food Mac and Cheese different is the variety of cheese which all have different textures and the fact that the recipe is baked in an oven creating a crispy and delicious topping.
When I received the new cookbook The Up South Cookbook written by Nicole Taylor, I was immediately drawn to the southern macaroni and cheese recipe. I definitely knew I wanted to include this book in my #BlackGirlMagic Cookbook series (more on that here).
It seemed like pure comfort food in a cookbook that knows its way around the Southern kitchen. Nicole really has a way of adding her Brooklyn modern flair to traditional recipes that shaped her Georgia culinary history. If there was another mac n cheese I would be open to trying, it would certainly be one from Nicole.
SOUTHERN MACARONI AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
This baked macaroni and cheese is quite delightful because of the following CRUCIAL KEY ingredients:
- Heavy Cream
- Half and Half
- Shredded Cheese
Butter is always essential in Southern Mac and Cheese recipes. It adds richness and additional fat. For liquids to create additional creaminess, both heavy whipping cream (which also has butter) and half and half are used.
The eggs are essential since it will add stability to the baked dish and allow everything to come together perfectly.
This mac and cheese is made of cheeses like sharp cheddar, manchego and gruyere that really give it a lovely depth of flavor.
P.S. I also loved that no velvetta cheese showed up in this recipe. No need for fake cheese in Southern Macaroni and Cheese making. There is a hint of spice with smoked paprika that added a great note as well.
SOUTHERN BAKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE CHEESES: THREE CHEESE MACARONI
This southern style baked macaroni and cheese is quite delightful and made with three cheeses:
- Sharp Cheddar
These really give it a lovely depth of flavor. Sharp cheddar is a conventional cheese choice and is often used in many macaroni and cheese recipes.
The other two cheeses are a little more unique. Manchego is a hard, sharp Spanish sheep’s milk cheese that has a buttery nutty taste that melts well and is perfect for macaroni and cheese.
Gruyere is a sweet, yet slightly salty cheese that originates from Sweden. As it ages, the taste of gruyere changes from creamy and nutty to more earthy and complex. This combination of cheeses gives this mac and cheese recipe a delicious and distinct taste that you’ll love!
IS THIS AN EASY BAKED MAC AND CHEESE RECIPE?
This recipe is also a very easy baked mac and cheese that many beginner cooks can try. It’s important to add salt to the water when boiling your macaroni to insure it is flavorful.
This baked mac and cheese recipe is pure soul food. It reminds me of the macaroni and cheese my family would have every Thanksgiving and Christmas. I can’t wait to try more recipes from Nicole’s soulful book.
If you love this Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese recipe, you will love these other soul food inspired recipes:
- If you love it smothered, try my Southern Smothered Chicken recipe !
- And of course this recipe for Smothered Pork Chops too!
- For dessert, how about a piece of this Southern Sweet Potato Pie recipe!
- And there’s always my Southern Caramel Cake recipe which is the real deal!
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Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 3 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese about 1 pound
- 1 cup shredded manchego cheese about 1/4 pound
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese about 1/4 pound
- 8 cups water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons butter.
- In a heavy saucepan, whisk in cream, half-and-half and 4 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat. Add black pepper, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and mustard, and whisk in flour. Cook the mixture about 2 minutes, until there are no more flour lumps. The mixture should not be bubbling. If so, reduce heat.
- Whisk in the cheddar, manchego, and Gruyere. Keep cheese sauce on low heat until ready for the baking dish.
- Using a stockpot or Dutch oven, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Sprinkle in salt. Put in the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes. The macaroni should not be mushy. Drain and transfer to prepared baking dish.
- Mix the eggs well into the pasta. Next, pour cheese sauce over macaroni and stir well. Sprinkle paprika on top of macaroni and cheese.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until you have a golden crust.
- Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
I love love this recipe. My family and friends have made this my #1 baked macaroni and cheese. Haven’t tried any that comes close❤️❤️
Anne McKinney says
Like Nicole above, I also am not good at mac and cheese. I’m a good cook but can never get this right. I’m going to be making this for Easter. I’ll try and take a pic and come back and let you all know how it went. Finger crossed!
This was really good! Made it for Superbowl. I halved the recipe and omitted the smoky paprika and red pepper flakes. Will definitely make again. Thanks for a great recipe.
DID YOU USE THE MUTMEG AND MUSTARD ??
Donna O says
I cooked this today for my family and they Loved it! I followed recipe exactly. This is a taste from my childhood. Wonderful recipe!
New family fav! Flavors are on point. Can’t wait to make this again.
NICOLE JACKSON says
I have never had good luck with macaroni and cheese. And I’m a good cook but still it’s always come out either blah or not good or whatever. This came out perfectly and it tasted even better the next day. I know that you can experiment with cheeses but how do you know what cheeses to use if you want to change it up?
Taste and research
Terria Northern says
The cheese flavors were spot on. A true grown up recipe! Super rich and yummy.
Can the nutmeg be omitted? I can’t find it in stores, I actually think it is sold out! Just wondering if it would change the taste if I didn’t add it?
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Yes you can omit.
Mama Lo says
This was a nice change from my home made mac and cheese I liked the variation with the two additional cheeses (I already use cheddar) . The only change is it needed a little more flavor therefore next time I will add 1/4 tsp of Lowery’s season salt.
This looks delicious, going to try it in a smoker (gonna set at 225 for an 60-90 mins, instead of baked at 350 for 40 mins) and see how it turns out!