How to Make Delicious Southern Mac and Cheese

Southern Mac and Cheese: A Classic Recipe for Comfort Food Lovers

Are you a fan of comfort food? Do you love the rich, creamy goodness of mac and cheese? Then Southern-style mac and cheese is the perfect dish for you! This classic recipe is a staple in southern cuisine and is loved by people all over the world.

Made with simple ingredients like pasta, cheese, and butter, Southern mac and cheese is easy to make, but it does require a few important steps to get it just right. In this article, we will show you how to make the best Southern-style mac and cheese, step-by-step. From preparing the ingredients to baking the dish, we’ve got you covered!

So, let’s get started and learn how to make the most delicious Southern mac and cheese that will have your taste buds singing!


Step 1: Choosing the Right Pasta

The first step in making Southern-style mac and cheese is choosing the right pasta. You want to use a shape that will hold the creamy cheese sauce, so we recommend using elbow macaroni or cavatappi. These shapes are perfect for catching all that gooey goodness.

Step 2: Boiling the Pasta

Once you have your pasta, it’s time to boil it. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your pasta. Cook it according to the package instructions until it’s al dente.

Step 3: Making the Cheese Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, it’s time to make the cheese sauce. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until it becomes a paste. Pour in milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Cook until the sauce thickens, then add grated cheddar cheese and stir until it’s melted and smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4: Combining the Pasta and Cheese Sauce

Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the cheese sauce. Stir until the pasta is coated evenly with the sauce.

Step 5: Adding Extra Cheesy Goodness

For an extra cheesy flavor, add more grated cheese to the pasta and sauce mixture. It’s up to you how much cheese you want to add, but we recommend at least another cup of grated cheddar.

Step 6: Preparing the Breadcrumb Topping

To add some crunch to the dish, prepare a breadcrumb topping. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.

Step 7: Layering the Dish

Now, it’s time to layer the dish. In a deep baking dish, layer half of the pasta and cheese mixture. Sprinkle half of the breadcrumb mixture on top. Add the rest of the pasta and cheese mixture, and top with the remaining breadcrumb mixture.

Step 8: Baking the Dish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). Bake the mac and cheese for 25-30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Step 9: Letting the Dish Rest

Once your mac and cheese is finished baking, let it rest for at least 10 minutes before serving. This will allow the dish to set, so you can cut and serve it easily.

Step 10: Serving and Enjoying

Now that your Southern-style mac and cheese is ready, it’s time to serve and enjoy it! We recommend garnishing with chopped parsley or chives for a pop of color and flavor.

Step 11: Storing Leftovers

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. To reheat, microwave individual portions or bake in the oven until heated through.

Step 12: Experimenting with Additions

Southern-style mac and cheese is great on its own, but you can also experiment with different additions to make it your own. Try adding bacon, jalapenos, or even lobster for a fancy twist on this classic dish.


Now that you have the steps for making Southern-style mac and cheese, let’s dive a little deeper into the process and why each step is important.

Choosing the right pasta is crucial for this dish. You want to choose a shape that will hold the cheese sauce and provide enough surface area for the breadcrumb topping to stick to.

Boiling the pasta to al dente is important because it will continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want it to be too soft.

Making the cheese sauce from scratch allows you to control the flavor and consistency of the sauce. Adding grated cheddar cheese to the sauce creates a creamy, cheesy sauce that is perfect for mac and cheese.

Adding extra cheese to the pasta and sauce mixture creates a more intense cheesy flavor that will make your taste buds happy.

The breadcrumb topping adds texture and crunch to the dish, which balances out the creamy cheese sauce. You can also experiment with different types of breadcrumbs, such as panko or seasoned breadcrumbs, for different flavors and textures.

Layering the dish creates a beautiful presentation and ensures that every bite has a little bit of everything.

Baking the dish at a moderate temperature allows the flavors to meld together and creates a golden brown, crispy topping.

Letting the dish rest before serving allows it to set up, so you can cut and serve it easily.

Experimenting with additions to the dish allows you to make it your own and create new flavors that you and your loved ones will enjoy.

Tips and Tricks

1. Use high-quality cheese.

Using high-quality cheese will make a huge difference in the flavor of your mac and cheese. Choose a good-quality cheddar cheese or experiment with different types of cheese for unique flavors.

2. Add some spice.

If you like a little heat, add some cayenne pepper or chopped jalapenos to the cheese sauce for a spicy kick.

3. Mix up the pasta shapes.

Experiment with different pasta shapes to create different textures and flavors in your dish. Try shells, penne, or even spaghetti.

4. Don’t overcook the pasta.

Make sure to cook the pasta al dente to avoid a mushy texture in the finished dish.

5. Use a baking dish with high sides.

Using a deep baking dish will prevent the cheese sauce from spilling over the sides during baking.

6. Add some crunch.

Experiment with different toppings, such as crushed potato chips or crumbled bacon, for added crunch and flavor.

7. Use a mixture of cheeses.

Mixing different types of cheese can add complexity and depth to the flavor of your mac and cheese.

8. Let the dish rest before serving.

Letting the dish rest for at least 10 minutes will allow it to set up, making it easier to cut and serve.

9. Reheat leftovers gently.

If you have leftovers, reheat them gently in the oven or microwave to avoid overcooking the pasta.

10. Serve with a salad or vegetable.

Serve your mac and cheese with a side salad or roasted vegetables for a balanced meal.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Making Southern Mac and Cheese

Mac and Cheese is a classic comfort food that is enjoyed all over the world. When it comes to Southern Mac and Cheese, it is known for its creamy texture and delicious flavor. While making this dish can be rewarding, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider.


  1. Southern Mac and Cheese is a crowd-pleaser at potlucks and family gatherings.
  2. The ingredients are easy to find and affordable.
  3. It can be made in advance and reheated for later consumption.
  4. The simplicity of the recipe allows for creativity in adding additional ingredients.
  5. It can be a satisfying comfort food for those who need a little pick-me-up.
  6. The creamy, cheesy goodness of Southern Mac and Cheese is a nostalgic nod to childhood memories.
  7. The dish can be served as a main course or a side dish.
  8. The recipe can be adjusted to accommodate dietary restrictions.
  9. It’s a versatile dish that can be prepared using different cooking methods.
  10. Leftover Southern Mac and Cheese can be used as a base for other dishes like mac and cheese balls or grilled cheese sandwiches.


  1. Southern Mac and Cheese can be a calorie-dense dish that is high in fat and sodium.
  2. The dish requires constant attention while cooking to prevent the cheese sauce from breaking.
  3. The consistency of the dish can be challenging to perfect, resulting in soggy or dry mac and cheese.
  4. Clean up after making the dish can be time-consuming and messy.
  5. The dish may not be suitable for those with lactose intolerance, making it inaccessible to a portion of the population.
  6. The dish can be overcooked easily, resulting in burnt or crispy edges.
  7. Southern Mac and Cheese may not be a suitable dish for those with cholesterol concerns.
  8. The dish may be challenging to transport, causing it to cool down or arrive at the destination in an unappetizing condition.
  9. The dish can be bland if the appropriate herbs and spices are not added.
  10. The cheese sauce can be challenging to thicken without using an excessive amount of flour or cornstarch.

Despite the disadvantages, Southern Mac and Cheese is still a beloved dish that is enjoyed by many. While it may not be a perfect dish, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, making it a delicious and worthwhile recipe to try at home.


1. What is southern mac and cheese?

Southern mac and cheese is a popular dish in the Southern United States which is a combination of pasta, cheese, milk, and butter baked in a casserole dish.

2. What type of cheese is used in southern mac and cheese?

Usually, a blend of cheddar and American cheese is used in southern mac and cheese to give it a creamy texture and a rich flavor.

3. Can I substitute the cheese with other types?

Yes, you can use any type of cheese you prefer but it may change the texture and the flavor of the dish.

4. What type of pasta is best for southern mac and cheese?

Elbow macaroni is the classic pasta used in southern mac and cheese but you can use any type of pasta you like.

5. Can I make southern mac and cheese without baking it?

Yes, you can make stovetop southern mac and cheese by cooking the pasta and cheese sauce in a pot on the stovetop.

6. Can I add vegetables or meat to southern mac and cheese?

Yes, you can add any vegetables or meat you like such as bacon, ham, peas, broccoli, etc. to enhance the flavor and nutrition of the dish.

7. How long does it take to bake southern mac and cheese?

It usually takes around 30-35 minutes to bake southern mac and cheese until it is golden brown and bubbling.

8. How many servings does this recipe make?

This recipe makes about 6-8 servings.

9. Can I make ahead southern mac and cheese?

Yes, you can prepare the dish ahead of time and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it.

10. Can I freeze leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze leftovers in airtight containers for up to 3 months.

11. How do I reheat leftovers?

You can reheat leftovers in the oven or microwave until they are heated through.

12. Can I use low-fat or skim milk in the recipe?

Yes, you can use low-fat or skim milk in the recipe but it may affect the creaminess of the dish.

13. What sides go well with southern mac and cheese?

Southern mac and cheese pairs well with collard greens, baked sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad.

Are you in the mood for some comfort food? Look no further than Southern mac and cheese! This classic dish is creamy, cheesy, and oh-so-satisfying. In this article, we’ll walk you step-by-step through how to make the best Southern mac and cheese you’ve ever had.

Coming to Your Conclusion

There are a million ways to make mac and cheese, but Southern-style is in its own league. By using a combination of cheeses, spices, and creamy ingredients, you’ll achieve a rich and indulgent dish that will make your taste buds dance. You’ll be able to find all the ingredients you need at your local grocery store, so let’s get started!

Closing Thoughts

We hope you found this article helpful in your quest for the perfect Southern mac and cheese. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to make a savory and indulgent dish that’s sure to impress any guest. Remember to experiment with different spices and cheeses, and make this classic dish your own. See you soon, and happy cooking!