Feature Area/ Holiday Recipes/ Side Dishes/ Soul Food Classics

Southern Mac and Cheese

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Southern Mac and Cheese is easy to make, loaded with flavor, and perfect to share with your friends and family. Few ingredients and worth every bite!

Southern Mac and Cheese in baking dish and on two round plates

Macaroni and Cheese is one of those dishes that can go very wrong very fast.

Which is actually surprising when you think about the few ingredients that are involved.

Macaroni pasta.




This dish is also not that complicated at all, but I have had some mac and cheese that is too dry, too wet, not enough pasta, too much pasta, not enough cheese, no seasoning…the whole thing sounds like a science experiment gone wrong. The best mac and cheese to me has all of those things in the perfect balance.




I had an uncle that made the absolute best mac and cheese ever! He only used Cracker Barrel cheese, along with a little bit of sugar, and instead of milk, he used heavy cream and half-and-half. It was always amazing and at get-togethers, if it was on the table, there was definitely not going to be any leftovers for you to take home to enjoy later.

Legends are made of this stuff.

Over the years, I have tried to duplicate his recipe with no success, but along the way, I came up with my own version that I will share with you now.

This recipe makes a large rectangle 9×13 inch baking dish, but you can cut the recipe in half and bake it in a square baking dish instead. I took a page from my uncle’s book and chose to use half-and-half and heavy cream instead of milk. It definitely makes for a thick and creamy cheese sauce that binds well to the cooked macaroni pasta. For the shredded cheese, it is best to buy the cheese in bulk (the block) and shred it yourself because it melts so much better in my opinion. You can also use a mixture of cheese such as half sharp cheddar cheese and half Gouda. Whatever combination you prefer as there really aren’t any rules for this part.

Close-up of Southern Mac and Cheese in baking dish

overhead view southern mac and cheese

Southern Mac and Cheese

Southern Mac and Cheese is easy to make, loaded with flavor, and perfect to share with your friends and family. Few ingredients and worth every bite!
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: southern mac and cheese
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 460kcal


  • 6 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups shredded cheese + extra for topping


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and set aside a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • Using a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  • Add the flour, stirring constantly until completely dissolved and thick.
  • Slowly stir in the half and half and heavy cream. Cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken.
  • Stir in the mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Add the cheese, stirring the sauce to allow the cheese to completely melt. About 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked pasta and stir until fully covered in the cheese sauce. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread evenly, top with additional shredded cheese, and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
  • Serve warm.


Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 101mg | Sodium: 453mg | Potassium: 135mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 1045IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 334mg | Iron: 0.8mg
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @simplylakita on Instagram and hashtag it #simplylakita!

Southern Mac and Cheese portion on round white plate with fork and napkin

Do you have any tips, kitchen hacks, or ideas for this Southern Mac and Cheese? Please share them in the comments below!


  • Reply
    November 28, 2018 at 11:39 PM

    Hi there, I just checked out your Insta page after you like one of my Insta posts, I couldn’t help but notice your Mac & Cheese… one of my family favourites too. I fry up some diced bacon and onion to toss through the mixture, I usually use two varities of cheese, one of them always being parmesan and I toss some fresh breadcrumbs through the cheese that goes on top, makes a nice crispy top. LottiesKitchen

    • Reply
      November 30, 2018 at 11:26 AM

      Thank you so much and welcome! I love the addition of breadcrumbs on top to make a crispy top layer…sounds delicious!

    Leave a Reply

    Recipe Rating