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Southern Baked Mac And Cheese


  • 8 ounce uncooked macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 cup half and half (or ½ cup cream and ½ cup milk)
  • ½ -1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ -1 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
  • ½ cupsharp cheddar cheese,grated
  • ½ cup jack cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.
  • Add butter to skillet, as soon as butter melts whisk in flour. Continue whisking until flour is fully mixed with butter. Then cook for about a minute to get rid of the flour taste.
  • Slowly add the evaporated milk a little at a time, followed by the half and half; you do not want the mixture to form any lumps. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Add seasonings, onion and garlic powder, Creole seasoning, and cayenne pepper.
  • Bring to a simmer and let it simmer gently for about 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the cheeses (reserve some as toppings later), and continue stirring until everything’s melted, evenly combined, and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Then add the cooked pasta to the pot, and stir to incorporate evenly.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture to a pan or a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish; top with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake at 375F°/190℃ for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.


Bread crumb topping (optional)

  • Place a small skillet on medium heat with 2 tablespoons butter, then toss in 1 teaspoon minced garlic, stir for about 30 seconds and throw in bread crumbs. Saute for about 3-4 minutes or until fragrant. Lightly season with salt and pepper, if desired. Then top the mac and cheese with the bread crumbs and bake.

If using an egg (optional)

  • In a medium bowl, beat the egg then add about ½ cup of the sauce to the egg, return the egg mixture to the sauce, stirring to blend well. Proceed with the cheese and the proceeding steps.

Cheeses and Cheese Sauce

  • Don’t use pre-shredded bagged cheese as it is drier. You have to get blocks of it and shred it yourself.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and jack cheese are my top faves. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
  • More mozzarella cheese can be added for it gives it a nice gooey pull in every bite.
  • Do not cook cheese sauce too long.


  • You can also throw in special ingredients such as garlic herbs, dried mustard, crispy fried onion strings, and so on.
  • For extra flavor, add chicken breast pieces, spinach, and red bell peppers.


  • In case you want to cut down on the calories, use low-fat milk instead of evaporated milk and cut back on half of the cheese.
  • It’s best to warm milk. Cold liquid interrupts the cooking process. Heated milk also has a richer flavor than cold milk.
  • To avoid lumps, try adding the milk about 2-3 tablespoons at a time. Whisk until it’s incorporated before adding more. Once the can of evaporated milk is all mixed in, add in all the half and half at once.

Make-Ahead Instructions

  • Mac and Cheese can be made ahead up to the point of baking, then bake about 30-40 minutes before serving, so it’s hot and fresh.  It can as well be made right in the morning and baked just before dinner time.
  • It can also be made ahead up to the point of baking and then frozen. It freezes better if you don’t bake it first.
  • Reheat in the microwave if there are any leftovers then spray the top with oil or butter for moisture.

More Baking Notes

  •  You don’t cover baked mac and cheese with foil as it would steam the inside and prevent it from achieving that slightly crusty golden bubbly top.
  • If making for bigger groups of people, you can double or triple the recipe.
  • In the absence of cast iron, Mac and Cheese can be baked in almost any oven-safe casserole dish.
  • Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 492kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 324mg | Iron: 1.3mg