Skip that boxed stuff and make a dish of this classic Southern baked macaroni and cheese. A gooey and delicious pasta dish, full of savory muenster and cheddar cheese. Quick and easy, while being pretty dang impressive.
Mac and cheese….need I say more? It’s comfort food like no other and is at the top of most people’s favorite food list. It’s soft, gooey, and hits every spot that needs to be hit. It works well as a main dish like my Lobster Mac and Cheese. However, it acts just as nice as a side like my Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese, Loaded Mac & Cheese, Baked Mac and Cheese, or Instant Pot Mac and Cheese.
Ok, let’s be honest, mac and cheese basically fits any role there is, except dessert, although I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I eat it for lunch all the time. I even make it as an appetizer when the occasion calls for it in the form of these Deep Fried Mac and Cheese Balls.
How Do You Make Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Scratch?
- Prep – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and coat a baking dish in butter. Boil your pasta and drain.
- Make the cheese sauce – In a large bowl, mix together both milks, eggs, mustard, sour cream, muenster cheese, 6 ounces of cheddar, salt, and pepper. Grate the ginger over the top.
- Combine – Add your prepared pasta to the mixture and mix. Stir in remaining butter and top with remaining cheddar.
- Bake – Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
Top Tips and Recipe Variations
- Add meat – If you want to spruce up your mac and cheese, you can add some protein. Be sure the meat is cooked before adding it to the dish. Some delicious additions are crab meat, crispy bacon, shredded chicken, etc.
- Use other cheeses – There are a ton of cheeses out there to choose from that would go nicely with this recipe. Gruyere, mozzarella, Colby Jack, Monterey, you name it!
- Make it spicy – Add some crushed red pepper to the cheese mixture, diced jalapenos, cayenne pepper, or even some sriracha sauce!
- Use other pasta – If you don’t have elbow macaroni on hand, any short pasta will do the trick. For example, shells, penne, rigatoni, etc. I wouldn’t suggest long pasta though.
- Top with Ritz crackers – A classic topping that many people add before baking their mac and cheese recipe is crumbled Ritz crackers. They add a great texture and flavor to the dish to mix it up.
Why Does My Baked Mac and Cheese Come Out Dry?
If you don’t use enough liquid when you go the baked route with your macaroni and cheese, it will come out dry. It’s also easy to dry out your recipe if you cook it too long or at too high of a temperature. It’s important to remember that you’re basically just wanting to melt the cheese and evaporate some of the liquid. This causes the contents to get thicker and bring the entire dish together. It’s not like you’re trying to cook meat to a specific temperature. So, there’s no reason to go hog wild on the cooking and the temperature or you’ll end up with dry mac and cheese.
Does Mac and Cheese Thicken in the Oven?
It depends on the mac and cheese recipe. Some recipes make the cheese sauce before they place the recipe in the oven. This means that not much will happen to most of the dish, just the added, unmelted cheese on top will melt. However, with this recipe, nothing is melted beforehand, so yes, it will melt and everything will thicken.
Storage and Reheating
- Fridge – Store in a sealed container for up to 5 days.
- Freezer – Freeze in an airtight container for up to 2 months. I don’t normally freeze macaroni and cheese though because I don’t like the texture of the pasta once it’s been frozen and rewarmed.
- Reheating – Reheat in the microwave or in the oven. The air fryer would work as well, but it would need to be in an oven-safe dish.
What Can I Serve This With?
You can serve this as a main entree or side dish. However, if serving as a side, I highly recommend serving it with Honey Butter Fried Chicken or
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni cooked
- 1 cup whole milk
- 24 ounces evaporated milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 garlic clove
- 4 tbsp butter cut into pieces
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces Muenster cheese
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Butter an oven safe baking dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the evaporated milk, whole milk, eggs, dijon mustard, sour cream, 6 ounces cheddar cheese, muenster cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Grate the fresh garlic into the mixture.
- Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese mixture and mix well.
- Place the macaroni into the greased baking dish.
- Stir in the remaining butter and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 35 mins or until golden brown.