Skip that boxed stuff and make a dish of this classic Southern-baked mac and cheese. A gooey and delicious pasta dish, full of savory havarti, gruyere, and cheddar cheese.
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. And the best part? There’s no roux involved!
- Pasta – Although I used elbow macaroni, feel free to use any short-shaped pasta you have on hand. Just make sure to cook it til its al-dente.
- Cheese – I used a combination of cheddar, creamy havarti, and gruyere but use your favorite type of cheese. I highly recommend shredded it yourself. Avoid pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag.
- Eggs – The eggs will help thicken the sauce, and avoid a loose mac and cheese. Keep in mind that Southern mac and cheese is supposed to be creamy but firm.
TOP TIPS AND 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. Gouda, 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 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.
STORAGE & 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.
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb elbow macaroni cooked til al dente
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
- ½ cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 ½ cups creamy havarti cheese shredded
- 2 ½ cups cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 ½ cups gruyere cheese shredded
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
- Add the chicken bouillon powder to a boiling pot of water and cook the elbow macaroni for 6 minutes.
- Combine the cheddar, havarti, and gruyere in a large bowl.
- Once cooked, drain the macaroni and place it in a cast-iron skillet. Add the butter and stir it in until well combined. Then add the sour cream and half of the cheese mixture.
- In a bowl, combine the evaporated milk, heavy cream, eggs, salt, pepper, granulated garlic, paprika, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.
- Pour the milk mixture all over the mac and cheese, but don't stir. Just make sure you pour it evenly all over the noodles. Feel free to press the noodles down into the sauce using the back of a spoon.
- Top the mac and cheese with the remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes.
- Allow the mac and cheese to sit for 10-15 minutes before serving and enjoy!
- 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.
- There are a ton of cheeses out there to choose from that would go nicely with this recipe. Gouda, mozzarella, Colby Jack, Monterey, you name it!
- Make sure to cook the macaroni until it’s al dente.