You'll love this creamy Southern macaroni and cheese recipe!
All-natural, made with real cheddar (no processed or fake cheese here), this creamy concoction of cheesy elbow noodles can be served right off the stove or baked in the oven!
Want to make it au gratin? Top with breadcrumbs, a little melted butter and broil for a few minutes!
Southern mac and cheese is its own food category. You see, there's meat, potatoes, something green and "mac and cheese" and I'm not talking about the blue box--I'm talking homemade.
You'll find this Southern side dish in just about every restaurant south of the Mason-Dixon line, and in variations-some include ham, chopped broccoli, or lobster and shrimp.
But no matter how you make these fancy variations, you need to start with a good basic recipe like this one.
Why this recipe works
Uses real cheese - no packaged, pre-shredded cheeses or plastic cheese like Velveeta™
Healthier than the boxed version - if you grew up on Kraft™ Macaroni and Cheese, you're gonna be in for a big surprise! This is so much better, creamier and doesn't have any preservatives or fillers!
Here's what you need
The ingredients for this basic Southern side dish are:
- Elbow Noodles (I like large)
- Blonde Roux (Instruction in recipe below)
- Cheddar cheese
- Onion powder
- Dry mustard
- White distilled vinegar
- Salt and ground pepper (white or black)
- Tabasco (optional)
Once you combine the cheese sauce (formally known as Mornay sauce) and elbow noodles, feel free to shred a little more cheddar cheese to the mixture and fold it in with a spatula... this "final touch" provides visible shreds of cheese and makes it even more delectable!
Here's how to make it
Boil the elbow macaroni noodles as directed; drain and set aside.
Melt the butter in the saucepan; once the butter is liquid, sprinkle in the flour and whisk together.
When you add the flour to the melted butter, it will be clumpy but don't freak out!
Cook (on medium heat) the melted butter and flour for five minutes then, turn the heat down to medium low and gradually add the milk. Now, grab the whisk and whisk the dickens out of it until all the lumps are gone.
Once you're at this stage, you're halfway there! Gradually add shredded cheese to the roux, whisking all along. Add remaining seasonings and spices; taste for salt.
Sprinkle in the cheese and stir it till it melts
Taste for salt & pepper; pour the cheese sauce over the cooked elbow noodles
Serve this creamy Southern Macaroni and Cheese from the stovetop as is, or place in a baking dish for a crispy top!
Want a crispy au gratin topping?
If you want to make this au gratin, with a crunchy, crispy topping, just pour the ingredients into a lightly oiled baking dish, top with bread crumbs, drizzle a little melted butter over the breadcrumbs and broil for 2-3 minutes!
You decide how crispy you want the topping to be!
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♥ If you make this recipe, please leave a comment and a rating! I love to hear from you!
Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb. large elbow noodles
- 16 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese Block cheese; not pre-shredded
- 1 stick butter , salted or unsalted
- 3 cups milk , 2% or whole : See Recipe Notes: Milk
- ½ cup flour , all-purpose
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried mustard
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon salt to taste
- Shred cheese; set aside16 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Prepare elbow noodles in a large stock pot; cook for 9 minutes; drain and return to stockpot1 lb. large elbow noodles
Cheese Sauce Instructions
- In a large pan on medium heat, add butter; once butter has melted, gradually add flour; whisk1 stick butter, ½ cup flour
- Once flour and butter are combined, gradually add milk, whisking constantly3 cups milk
- Turn the heat to medium low
- Gradually add cheese and continue to stir; if sauce looks too thick, add more milk-See Recipe Notes: Milk16 oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese
- Add onion powder, dried mustard, vinegar, ground white pepper and Louisiana hot sauce (optional); combine well½ teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried mustard, ½ teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon white vinegar, ½ teaspoon Louisiana hot sauce, 1 teaspoon salt
- Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta; combine and taste for salt; add more if desired
- Serve from the stove top-OR-if you want a crispy topping, pour macaroni and cheese into a lightly oiled baking dish
- Turn oven to Broil setting; place baking dish on middle rack; broil until top begins to crisp and brown