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This Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese is THE best any night of the week, any occasion, mac and cheese. The secret to this simple, easy, and delicious cheesy mac is a couple of eggs, lots of cheese, and a touch of spice. Every bite is layered with southern flavor, creamy pasta, and cheese. It’s the creamiest bowl of baked mac and cheese that’s fancy enough for the weekend, but easy enough to make any night of the week. And most importantly, it’s so delicious…especially with an extra sprinkling of basil on top.

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

I’m not sure there’s much that tops homemade mac and cheese. I mean, it’s just so easy and delicious. It’s definitely a staple dish around here. I’ve been talking for weeks about how inspired I am by vintage recipes. And while this recipe isn’t technically “vintage”.  It feels like something my mom or grandma could 100% get behind.

The other thing about this mac and cheese? It reminds me of the Stouffer’s mac and cheese I used to eat all the time when I was a kid. I was an oddball child that didn’t love junk food, passed on potato chips, and stuck to only Reese’s peanut butter cups and Malley’s chocolate bars. I ate carrots with ranch as a snack and all-in-all was a somewhat “healthy” eater who loved my vegetables.

But I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my mac and cheese. I didn’t grow up on the Kraft Mac and Cheese, instead, my mom bought Stouffer’s frozen mac and cheese that you could pop in the microwave. I ate a lot of those after school throughout my third, fourth, and fifth grade years. What I loved about them was that the top was always a bit more baked with crusty edges, but they had the creamiest cheesy pasta underneath. This mac and cheese is exactly that…but better…because it’s homemade with more flavor and more cheese.

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

This southern mac and cheese is easy, here are the details

When it comes to a southern-style mac and cheese, there are a couple of things that are different.

First up, it uses eggs to help bind everything together, which makes it even simpler.

I also like to add a touch a cajun seasoning to mine, which adds a nice little southern kick. This is optional, but we find it extra delicious.

And lastly, the process. It’s much simpler than you might ever imagine. Boil-off the pasta, while that’s happening, whisk together the milk, eggs, the tiniest amount of sour cream, and that cajun seasoning. Now add the pasta and the butter and toss it all to combine.

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

Bake then broil.

This is key. Bake the mac and cheese for thirty or so minutes to melt that cheese, then switch the oven to broil. Let the cheese start to bubble up, but be sure to watch closely, the broiler cooks quickly.

As soon as you pull this out from under the broiler, add a bit of basil, serve, and ENJOY.

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

Super easy, right?

But yet so very good. The pasta underneath stays soft and creamy, while the cheese on top turns crispy and just the slightest bit crunchy. Yes, the corners of the dish will form an insanely delicious, cheesy crust.

Creamy cheesy pasta underneath, crunchy cheddar on top, a little bit of spice, and fresh basil over it all…

Just. So. Darn. Good!

And guys, that’s pretty much it. Dinner in less than an hour, and something I feel like the whole family can really enjoy. Make this over the weekend for the Kentucky Derby, then make it for every other party that follows.

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other easy pasta bake recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

One Pot 30 Minute Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta Bake

One Pan Baked Cheesy Basil Pasta

Caprese Pesto Pasta Bake

Lastly, if you make this Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 464 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound short-cut pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
  • 2-3 teaspoons cajun seasoning (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • fresh basil or parsley, for serving

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
    2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.
    3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, sour cream, cajun seasoning, or 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add the pasta, butter, cheddar cheese, and 2 cups Colby Jack cheese. Pour the pasta into a 9x13 inch baking dish and cover with foil.
    4. Bake 25 minutes, then remove the foil and top with the remaining Colby Jack cheese. Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Switch the oven to broil and broil 2-3 minutes, until just a little crispy on top. WATCH CLOSELY.
    5. Serve the mac and cheese immediately with fresh herbs and black pepper. ENJOY 🙂

Easy Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I give this a 3.5 star rating out of five. 😊 I’m a big Mac and cheese fan and I have been using a recipe of Mac n cheese for years that uses velveeta. I know. I shudder too… but it makes THE creamiest baked Mac n cheese and we love it. However I’m so ready to find a different recipe. One that has better ingredients and namely doesn’t use velveeta. So I gave this one a try. The flavor is great! Needs a bit of salt and pepper… but otherwise yeah… great flavor. However the texture wasn’t all that for me. It was watery and not creamy at all, which was disappointing. Husband thought the flavor was on point too… but was also disappointed by the texture. Definitely not a bad recipe at all.. just not what I’m looking for. Curious why it was watery though… my oven is super dependable and I followed the instructions pretty precisely. I used high quality cheeses too. Oh well. Tiegan, I know you have 3 other Mac n cheese recipes that I’m raring to try! If you have any ideas why mine wasn’t creamy I’d love to know! Cheers. And thanks for giving us great recipes! 😊

    1. Hey there,
      So sorry this recipe wasn’t enjoyed and did not turn out creamy for you. Was there anything you may have adjusted? Did you grate your own cheese? Let me know how I can help! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for your wonderful recipe! Simple and delicious. You made my youngest son’s birthday dinner request a complete success. His approval was what I was hoping for,and definitely got that! Smiled from ear to ear,and gave 2 thumbs up. I did double it,my boys love pasta,and cheese,lol Only thing I changed a little,was the cheese,mostly bc of budget,bought on sale,I used the store brand of “Mexican Blend” shredded cheese for the Colby,and shredded sharp cheddar for the cheddar.

    1. Hey Marsha,
      Happy Sunday! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xxTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I made this today on Independence Day and it was a hit! I did put a little extra cheese on top, extra 1/2 cup. It was delicious. Definitely will be making again. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Monday! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! xxTieghan

    1. Hey Tiffany,
      Awesome! It is so great to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a go! xTieghan

    1. Hey Karen,
      Sure! I would make up until baking, keep covered in the fridge, and then bake when you are ready to serve. I hope the recipe turns out amazing for you. Please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  4. Excited to try this today but only have cheddar. Will all 6 cups of cheddar be too much of same cheese? (only other cheeses on hand are gouda and manchego right now)

    1. Hey Gabrielle,
      Honestly, any cheese that you enjoy will work here, I think gouda would also be delicious! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  5. Any ideas what I did wrong… followed recipe exact and used high quality cheeses that I grated but it came out like lumpy cottage cheese! So sad 😞

    1. Hey there,
      So sorry to hear this. It’s hard to say without being in the kitchen and seeing the dish! if you followed the recipe as is, I am not sure why you would have gotten these results. xTieghan

    2. Did you rinse the pasta after draining? Starch can help prevent curdling. Also if the oven runs hot, curdling can happen.

  6. What brand of cheese is best or you would recommend? 🙂 Any difference in pre grated vs. grading yourself?
    Thanks!

    1. Hey Janelle,
      I like to switch up my cheese brands, I usually buy from Whole Foods, but I ALWAYS grate my own cheese. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    2. The pre-shredded has a coating on it to keep it from clumping in the bag….. better to grate your own as allegedly melts better:)

  7. 5 stars
    I made this tonight and my family LOVED it! You’ve done it again! Thank you for all of your delicious recipes!

    1. Hey Jen,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! ☀️xTieghan

  8. Hi, What is the cooking temperature if I make this ahead of time and put it in the refrigerator before baking

    1. Hey Rochelle,
      You can follow the instructions as is. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    This was everything I wanted it to be. It is not bland at all. Other baked recipes I’ve tried have not held up well after the baking. This one was still very creamy and cheesy. And the crispy parts around the edges were THE BEST! This will be my go to this summer for family get togethers 🙂

    1. Hey Britney,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! ☀️xTieghan

  10. Hello! Can you confirm the amount of cheese for the recipe? The ingredient list calls for a total of 6 cups (cheddar and Colby), but the directions only direct to use the Colby (3 cups). I’m making this today and want to get it right!

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Scratch that last question! I skipped a line while reading, lol. Thanks for putting all this great food out into the world!

    2. Hey Chelsea,
      Sorry for any confusion, the cheddar cheese is also listed in step 3, so you will be using all 6 cups of cheese. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Martina,
      I would add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This truly was incredible, first time trying this recipe and we absolutely loved it !! it’ll definitely be our go to mac n cheese recipe now, thank you so much ! x

    1. Hey there,
      Happy Saturday! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  12. 5 stars
    Wow!! I have made this twice since last week. As another reviewer said, it is so much easier than making a roux! This is the Mac and Cheese that my teenage boys have been waiting for I guess because they love it!!! Come to Rocky River/Westside for a signing and demo it would be a DREAM come true!!!!

    1. Hey Alison,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a go, I am delighted that it was enjoyed! That would be fun!! xTieghan

  13. Hello! How could I use this as a make-ahead dinner if I can assemble now, but dinner isn’t for another 7 hours?

    1. Hey Terri,
      Just assemble up until the point of baking, keep covered in the fridge, and then bake when you are ready to serve. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  14. 5 stars
    Elizabeth Anthony
    MAY 13, 2021
    5 stars Love this recipe, much easier than making a rue. I did use evaporated milk, as it’s all I had , and halved the recipe. Although I over baked, I got distracted, it came out great. This Mac was to clear cheese out of the frig so I used some good sliced Swiss I had (cut in really small dice, sharp cheddar and Parmesan. This is now my go to Mac and cheese recipe

    1. Hey Elizabeth,
      So so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try!! xxTieghan

  15. 5 stars
    This is a keeper! I have been searching for the perfect baked Mac n cheese, and this is it! It’s so easy to make, and best of all, my husband loved it. I was supposed to make it on a Sunday, so I assembled it earlier that day, but plans changed, so we ended up cooking it the following evening. It was wonderful! I did let it sit out for about 20 minutes before putting it into the oven. I halved it. It also reheated so well.

    1. Hey Katie,
      Fantastic! Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

    2. Hello! I’m making this for dinner tonight and so excited to try it. But I have sharp cheddar cheese and Gruyere cheese. Do you think that would work?

      1. Hey Britney,
        Yes, those will work jut fine. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  16. 2 stars
    I was excited to try this recipe to satisfy my pregnancy carb cravings. I reduced it by half because it is just my hubby and I. although it was quick and easy I would not make it again. Even with Cajun seasoning I found it very bland. It was also very dry and not creamy at all.

    1. Hey Kirsten,
      So sorry you did not enjoy this recipe, please let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan

    2. Maybe you are looking for more of a stovetop Mac n cheese. Baked isn’t as creamy however, I thought this one was creamy for a baked Mac n cheese.

  17. Every weekend during the pandemic my boyfriend and I look forward to trying a new recipe. We often come to Half Baked Harvest for inspiration and this weekend we tried this Mac n cheese recipe and OH MY GOODNESS! This recipe did not disappoint – if anything we had high expectations from the reviews and photos and the product exceeded them. We used a spicy Colby cheese for a bit of extra heat, but otherwise we followed he recipe exactly how Tieghan wrote it. This recipe is so easy to follow and was so delicious and comforting. This will become a go to in our home when we are looking for some cozy comfort food! Thank you!!!!!

    1. Hey Kimberley,
      I am so so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for giving it a try! Happy Sunday! xTieghan

    1. Hey Karly,
      Awesome!! I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it! xTieghan

  18. 5 stars
    I was a bit concerned because this recipe seemed a bit more “traditional” than the mac and cheese recipes I usually make, but in fact we thought it was delicious. I used elbows, sour cream and 3 tsp cajun spice, and it turned out perfectly!

    1. Hey Helen,
      I am so glad this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xxTieghan

  19. I’m going to have to try this version! I grew up on homemade baked macaroni and cheese, but it started with a bechamel sauce to which you added the cheese, although my mother didn’t even do that. Instead, she poured the cream sauce into the baking dish with the macaroni, cut up the blocked cheddar cheese in small pieces, and stirred them around, dotting the top with cheese as well. My sister and I loved when she made it because she always cooked extra macaroni, and we’d each get a bowl and add butter and salt. Yummy after-school snack!

  20. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of putting Tony’s (Cajun seasoning 😉 ) in my mac and cheese. I make it with taco seasoning a lot! I’ll have to try this.

  21. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner last night and it was a-mazing!!! The way mac & cheese was meant to be!

    1. Hey Martha,
      Happy Monday! I am so glad this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it! xTieghan

  22. 3 stars
    I really enjoy the simplicity of this recipe, but next time, I will need to reduce the amount of milk next time. This turned out just a tad too soupy for our taste.

  23. 2 stars
    This is the first recipe I haven’t loved. I guess I am more a fan of smooth and creamy Mac n cheese. Not sure what I did wrong, but I found it quite oily and the cheese separated more than forming a sauce. I’ll have to reread the recipe 🙂

    1. Hey Jen,
      So sorry to hear this, was there anything you may have adjusted? Please let me know if I can help in anyway! xTieghan

  24. this is currently in my oven! i used forager’s dairy-free sour cream and fairlife milk, since hubby is a little lactose intolerant. i only had mexican cheese blend in my fridge so i used that too. can’t wait to try it!

  25. Hi there! Omg we love your recipes! And this one has a special place in our hearts (and in our tummies!) – delicious and wholesome! I added just a dash of last night’s jalapeños queso!! What a feast! Thankyou ♥️💓😍

    1. Hey there,
      Awesome!! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for making it! Have a great weekend:) xxTieghan

    1. Hey Melissa,
      Honestly, any cheese you enjoy will work here! I hope you enjoy the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Julie,
      Yes, that would be just fine to do, just keep covered in the fridge overnight. I hope you love the recipe!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Nicole,
      That would work just fine for you! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  26. 5 stars
    So good. Substituted some gruyere for the Colby…an added some parm and pepper jack too. Great side dish or more…

    1. Hey Joyce,
      Happy Friday!! I am so excited that this recipe was enjoyed, I appreciate you giving it a try!! xTieghan

  27. Hey Tieghan, this is almost exactly how my father in law taught his three daughter in laws,me included,and three granddaughters,my daughter included to make. Except for the sour cream,which sounds fabulous! Never thought of of that. Will be trying this very soon. I love your approach to all things delicious! Thank you! Keep them coming! Lynda

  28. 1 star
    The key to all Southern Style Mac n’ Cheese is you must use Evaporated Milk that gives it a distinct flavor! Never use whole milk! Beat up eggs add Evaporated milk to the bowl of eggs and beat the mixture all together. After pour a half teaspoon of salt into this mixture and pour into the macaroni mixture. With cut up cheese, after blending it in. Sprinkle margarine across the pan this will help it brown beautifully on top without broiling anything. This is the recipe that most southern use. Your pan will come out slightly brown on top, and Extremely Delicious to eat. Try it This Way.

    1. Hey Gerri,
      Thanks for sharing all of this, the recipe is for how I made my Mac and Cheese, you can certainly adjust it to your liking. Please let me know if you give it a try! Have a wonderful Friday! xTieghan

  29. In a our initial description, you talk about milk, butter, Cajun seasoning but I think you inadvertently forgot to mention the cheese?

    1. Hey Pat,
      I was referring to the items I used to make this Mac and Cheese extra special….the cheese is a given😉 I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  30. Interesting—eggs. I’ll have try try this. I have always made Mac and cheese with a roux. It sounds delicious!

  31. 5 stars
    I love this recipe, as it doesn’t rely on the gooey stovetop paste and just bakes all the goodness right in the oven. This is how my mother made it, who often used some chunks of cheese long with some shredded.

  32. will be making this and your other pastas soon can i use vegan butter cheeses coconut yogurt as am dairy free i love mac and cheese and pasta sooooooooooooo much perfect for my after office meals will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya