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Southern Macaroni and cheese is one of my most favorite comfort foods. Homemade macaroni and cheese from scratch in less than 20 minutes. An easy southern macaroni and cheese stovetop recipe.
I’m not talking that yucky boxed stuff. Oh no, no, no….that simply will not do!
I prefer to make my macaroni and cheese from scratch, on the stovetop. You won’t believe how incredibly easy it is to make!
Why make Mac and cheese from scratch?
Honestly, making homemade macaroni and cheese from scratch tastes SO much better than any box mix on the market. Not to mention, it is so much better for you.
There is so much gunk that goes into boxed macaroni and cheese, just read the list of ingredients. Mac and cheese is supposed to be simple. All you need are a few ingredients like cheese, milk, and pasta noodles. That’s it! There is no reason for it to be complicated.
The best part is that one can make good, homemade macaroni and cheese from scratch in just about the same amount of time needed to prepare a store-bought boxed brand.
So today I’m finally dishing my secret to quick & easy southern style macaroni and cheese that can be made on the stove in less than 20 minutes.
Does it matter what type of cheese I use when cooking southern macaroni and cheese?
Here in the south, we always use sharp cheddar cheese. If you don’t like sharp cheddar cheese you can of course substitute it for a milder cheddar or other type of cheese that you prefer.
However, the classic southern style macaroni and cheese will always use some amount of sharp cheddar cheese. But don’t let that stop your creativity. Mix a variety of cheeses together and see what you come up with.
Block Cheese is Better when making homemade macaroni and cheese
I know buying pre-shredded cheese saves a little bit of time when cooking but the solid block of cheese is better for making macaroni and cheese.
Pre-shredded cheese is coated with something to prevent it from sticking together. This coating, however, makes the cheese sauce in homemade macaroni and cheese less smooth.
If pre-shredded is all you got, it can be used but shredding cheese from a block is preferred.
What is the easiest way to shred your own cheese?
There are also electronic shredders available that I think are worth the investment if you plan to grate a lot of your own cheese, like I do.
A food processor is a great small kitchen appliance to have for all stay at home chefs. I have the KitchenAid Food Processor attachment that I use on my stand mixer. It works quite well at shredding blocks of cheese for recipes like my homemade macaroni and cheese casserole.
Southern Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
- 4 cups elbow macaroni noodles uncooked
- 8 oz Colby Jack cheese shredded
- 8 oz Sharp Cheddar cheese shredded
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Cook 4 cups of uncooked elbow macaroni noodles according to package directions. Drain with a colander. Set aside.
- In the pot that you cooked the elbow macaroni noodles, melt 4 tbsp of butter on medium heat.
- Add the flour to melted butter and stir until combined with the butter. Cook for 1-2 minutes then add milk and salt.
- Continue cooking the milk and butter flour mixture on low-medium heat*, stirring regularly until it begins to thicken and bubble slightly.
- Stir continuously as it thickens and add in the cheese. Continue stirring until all of the cheese is melted.
- Add the cooked macaroni noodles to the cheese sauce and stir to coat all of the noodles.
- Serve as a side dish or a main dish (Mac & Cheese Night is a favorite in our house). Enjoy!
- Cook this recipe between low and medium heat (setting 3 on stovetop)*: cook your milk, butter, and flour mixture on a setting between low and medium on your stovetop. If you cook it on low it will take a long time for the milk mixture to reach the right temperature to thicken and on the opposite end if you cook on medium heat the milk will reach temperature too quickly and could create a gritty texture. The sweet spot to cook this recipe is between low and medium, on my stovetop it is a 3.
- This recipe makes a BIG pot of macaroni and cheese. If you do not want to make a lot of macaroni and cheese or just need enough for a side dish and not a main dish then you can half the recipe.
- Check out my favorite kitchen gadgets on Amazon.
Want more delicious southern recipes?
Check out these other family favorite recipes.