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One staple that is on my families holiday table is a baked southern macaroni and cheese casserole. It’s so good that it doesn’t feel like the holidays without it.
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There is something so comforting about this baked macaroni and cheese recipe. This casserole uses simple ingredients like elbow macaroni noodles, sharp cheddar cheese, milk, and eggs. Baked in the oven, it makes enough to feed a large crowd at your next holiday gathering.
Every holiday I make this recipe for my family. And every holiday this is the first side dish to be completely devoured. It is THAT good!
Southern Macaroni and Cheese Just like at a Restaurant
Visit any restaurant in the south and you may be surprised to find baked macaroni and cheese as a “vegetable” option or side dish. It is no secret we love macaroni and cheese in the south.
In the south we tend to do baked macaroni and cheese a little differently by using eggs. The use of eggs makes the southern macaroni and cheese bake into a casserole. It is firmer and holds its shape unlike traditional stovetop macaroni and cheese that is creamier.
Baked Macaroni & Cheese Casserole: A Southern Family Tradition
The tradition of having this recipe served at our family table during the holidays began with my grandmother. We have reserved this recipe to only making it during a family get together. This isn’t something that we make year round which is what makes it extra special.
Although grandmother’s recipe will always be the best, I’ve since taken the family recipe and added my own unique tweaks to it.
Save Time: Make this recipe the day before your celebration
What I love about this recipe is that you can easily make it ahead of time. If you have a lot of dishes to cook the next day like on Thanksgiving for example, save some time by assembling this southern macaroni and cheese casserole the day before. That way all you have to do is pop it into the oven to finish baking the day of your big celebration.
Need to bring something to a party?
This recipe also travels really well. I love glass baking dishes with lids just for occasions such as this. After baking this recipe, just pop the lid onto your baking dish and it’s ready to be taken to your next party.
Baked Southern Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 4 cups dry elbow macaroni
- 3 TBSP salted Butter
- 3 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese halved (for layering before baking)
- Preheat oven to 400°F
- Cook 4 cups dry elbow macaroni according to package directions. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
- While the elbow macaroni is draining you will prepare the cheese sauce in the original pot that you cooked the macaroni in. First melt 3 TBSP salted Butter on low-medium heat. Then, whisk in 3 TBSP all-purpose flour and let cook for approximately 3 mins.
- Whisk in 2 cups whole milk. Continue stirring on low-medium heat until mixture begins to thicken. Don't Rush! Keep your heat low, if the heat is too high you will curdle the milk and not have a smooth cheese sauce.
- Once your milk mixture has thickened, add 3 cups Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese and stir until melted.
- Remove the cheese sauce from the heat. Add the drained elbow macaroni noodles to the cheese sauce and stir to coat all of the noodles.
- Once combined, stir the egg mixture into the macaroni and cheese. Stir well until everything is combined.
- Pour half of the macaroni and cheese mixture into a glass 13"x 9" casserole dish.
- Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese onto the first layer of macaroni in the casserole dish.
- Add the rest of the macaroni and cheese mixture on top of the cheese in the casserole dish then top with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F covered with aluminum foil for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the middle of the baked macaroni and cheese is no longer runny and the top has started to brown a little bit.
- Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.