This Soul Food style baked macaroni and cheese is made with a homemade cream sauce and layered with lots of cheese to make it extra creamy.
There is something about making and eating baked macaroni and cheese. This is the only way I can remember ever eating macaroni and cheese and loving it. This can be made so many different ways and use so many different cheeses. It's the versatility for me! But, let's get into this.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE BAKED MACARONI AND CHEESE…SOUL FOOD STYLE!
For a full list of ingredients and instructions, please scroll down to the recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Elbow macaroni
- Cheese, Cheese, and Cheese
- Eggs (optional…I'll explain)
- Seasonings (don't make bland mac n' cheese)
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- dried parsley flakes
- Sour cream
Let's talk Cheese
Cheese does make a huge difference. Every cheese offers it's only individual taste and I'm going to be honest, some cheese will never make its way into my house ever again (that discussion is for another day). But, there are some I buy every single month because I'm going to use it in some way. Here are a few favorites to add into the goodness of baked macaroni and cheese.
- Cheddar cheese – staple for mac n' cheese. Sharp is stronger in flavor and my preferred choice.
- Mozzarella cheese – it's mild, milky, and will give you that ultimate pull.
- Smoked gouda – gives a creamy texture and has an intense flavor that is delicious.
- Colby/Monterey Jack – creates a buttery & gooey texture. Mild in flavor.
- Parmesan – gives a salty boost with hints of nutty notes. It's so good.
- Havarti – smooth and creamy. It gives elasticity and has a sweet taste with mild flavor
- Cream cheese – thick, mild and milky
These are some of the cheeses I have used in the past. My biggest surprise was the parmesan cheese. I just wanted to try it out and it blew me away with the depth of flavor it offered. A little hint, these make up my seven cheese baked mac n' cheese. It could be considered eight but I typically always buy the Colby mixed with Monterey jack. I just like it that way. As this blog grows, I will be sharing a lot of different ways to make macaroni and cheese. Baked is my ultimate favorite but making it on the stove or in the crockpot is also a great way to enjoy some good old mac n' cheese.
Okay, looka' here, what we're not going to do is start using all kinds of different noodles for this classic. 😂 Let's just stick with elbow macaroni noodles. If you really want to experiment, get some pasta shells. That's the most you'll get out of me.
This particular recipe I have written down on an index card and it has all kinds of stuff on it from cheese to milk, to sour cream…yeah, it's been through a lot but it's my original with scribbles all over it. So, today, you get my classic recipe that has been tweaked until it became perfect. Let's dig in.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Cook macaroni according to package until al dente about 7-9 minutes.
Whisk milk, eggs, sour cream and seasonings together.
Shred your cheeses. I had a ninja to help with the big blocks of cheese and then I used my adjustable coarse grater for my gouda cheese.
When the macaroni is done, drain and put back in the pot. Stir in butter until melted. Add in 1 cup of the sharp cheddar and 1 cup of the Colby Monterey Jack cheese. Stir until melted and you see the cheese pull looking stringy.
Add in your milk, egg, sour cream mixture and mix well. Add in 1/2 cup gouda cheese and mix well.
Grease pan. Pour half mixture into the pan. Top with half of each cheese. Pour remaining mixture on top. Top with 1/2 of remaining sharp cheddar cheese and remaining of other cheeses. Add a little sprinkle of parsley flakes (optional). Bake for about 20 minutes.
Take out the oven and sprinkle remaining sharp cheddar cheese on top. If you have more or want more cheese, add it now. I like to add a little sprinkle of paprika for more pop of color here but that's optional. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.
TIPS, SUGGESTIONS, and ALTERNATIVES
Do not overcook your macaroni. It will get a mushy texture that is unpleasant.
If you want to eliminate the eggs, please do. I have someone within my family that can't eat eggs and when she comes over, I don't add any in and it still turns out amazing. I did a test one day and the kids didn't even realize the eggs were missing. Here's the funny part, they liked the one without eggs better. 🤯
If all you have on hand is the pre-shredded cheese, then use it. Yes, fresh block cheese is so much better because it melts better, but again, I will keep saying it; use what you have on hand. Please try different cheeses for yourself and your family, using your favorite cheeses. Then, let me know what you used. I'd love to try it out.
Sour cream is optional but it just gives another depth of creaminess. Some people use sour cream in place of milk. I use both. I love using both to make sure my baked mac n' cheese is not dry. No one wants a dry mac n' cheese. Trust me, I've thrown one away years ago.
Half & half, cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, yep, you can use them all. Now, using ALL of them with sour cream and milk all together, may be a bit much. Mix and match and try them all, just not at the same time.
The seasonings – Of course we all use salt & pepper, but along the way I realized adding in a little bit of onion powder and garlic powder, elevated the flavor. The paprika is mainly for color but if you get smoked paprika, it will give it some smokiness. Parsley flakes is just for color as well for me. That is why I use dried. No need to use it. That's just me being extra.
I have two versions of Mac n' cheese on my YouTube channel. I'll add one below and then you can watch the other one while you're there.
Soul Food Baked Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 lb Elbow macaroni cook according to package
- 2 tsp Salt to salt the water
- 2 cups Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 1 cup Sour cream
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Parsley Flakes, dried divided
- 2 cups Sharp cheddar cheese or 1lb block
- 2 cups Colby Monterey Jack or 1lb block
- 1 cup Smoked gouda
- 1/2 stick Butter, unsalted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Whisk milk, eggs, sour cream and seasonings together. Set aside.
- Shred your cheeses. Set aside.
- When the macaroni is done, drain and put macaroni back in the pot.
- Stir in butter until melted. Add in 1 cup of the sharp cheddar and 1 cup of the Colby Monterey Jack cheese. Stir until melted and you see the cheese pull looking stringy.
- Add in your milk, egg, sour cream mixture and mix well.
- Add in 1/2 cup gouda cheese and mix well.
- Grease pan. Pour half mixture in pan. Top with half of each cheese. Pour remaining mixture on top. Top with 1/2 of remaining sharp cheddar cheese and remaining of other cheeses. Add a little sprinkle of parsley flakes(optional). Bake for about 20 minutes. Just to let it set a little.
- Take out the oven and sprinkle remaining sharp cheddar cheese on top. If you have more or want more cheese, add it now. I like to add a little sprinkle of paprika for more pop of color here but that's optional. Bake for another 15-20 minutes.