Southern Macaroni and Cheese [+ Video]

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol's ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese! ohsweetbasil.comWhen we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol’s ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol’s ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol’s ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol’s ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol’s ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!


sour cream macaroni and cheese in white baking dish

It’s so nice when we get to go back to the Carolinas to visit family; we wish we could go more often. There’s so much history there, and we love to see it all. As much as we love to visit all the places, we can’t wait to get together with family for some good old family food favorites and great chats. When we get together with Grandma Carol and Grandpa Lou it is a sure bet that one of the dishes will be macaroni and cheese and that not one morsel will be left in the dish at the end of the meal.

We carry on this tradition as often as we can with our little family.  The first time we made it with our little ones they did not recognize that it was the “real macaroni and cheese.”  They were used to one of their favorite boxed macaroni and cheese meals.

Don’t get me wrong, boxed macaroni and cheese is a life saver at those meal times when time is just not on your side. However, when we have the time we love making our southern macaroni and cheese from scratch, where every bite is full of cheesy, buttery, heart stopping goodness!

Southern macaroni and cheese is soul food and it’s much different from other mac and cheese recipes. Southern baked mac and cheese is not creamy like the macaroni and cheese Carrian grew up with. Carrian still prefers creamy macaroni and cheese with a panko bread crumb topping, but she can appreciate a baked southern macaroni and cheese.


close up of southern baked mac and cheese


What’s in Southern Macaroni and Cheese?

Most baked macaroni and cheese recipes stick to butter, milk, and cheese, but this southern version takes things to the next level with the addition of sour cream. There’s also a little salt in this recipe, plus a few eggs to bind everything together. 

For the cheese, we used a shredded sharp cheddar, but you’re welcome to play around with the type of cheese you use to suit your tastes. As for the pasta, we prefer classic elbow macaroni, but any short and sturdy pasta should work (just don’t use thin pasta like spaghetti!). 

How to Make Southern Macaroni and Cheese

This is such an easy macaroni and cheese recipe! To make this baked mac and cheese recipe with sour cream, follow these steps: 

  1. Cook the macaroni according to package instructions. 
  2. While still hot, place the cooked macaroni into a large bowl and stir in the butter and cheese. 
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sour cream, and salt. Stir into the macaroni mixture. 
  4. Turn the southern macaroni and cheese into a greased baking dish and sprinkle with additional shredded cheese. 
  5. Bake until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown on top. 


southern macaroni and cheese in white baking dish


Can I Double This Recipe? 

Very easily, yes! You’ll likely need to bake this homemade macaroni in cheese in two baking dishes, though. 

Can I Freeze Macaroni and Cheese? 

Unfortunately, you cannot. Dairy doesn’t freeze very well, so you’ll want to eat any leftovers within a week of making this sour cream macaroni and cheese. 

Is There an Egg Substitute I Can Use? 

No, you can’t substitute the eggs in this recipe. That’s just how Southern macaroni and cheese is made, sorry! 

Tips for Making the Best Macaroni and Cheese

It’s so important that you salt the pasta water. If you don’t salt the pasta water, the macaroni itself will be bland and it’s likely that your Southern macaroni and cheese won’t be as flavorful as it should be. 

You also must use whole or 2% milk in this easy macaroni and cheese recipe. That extra bit of fat in the milk adds moisture and flavor to the baked mac and cheese. Skim milk is a major no-no in this recipe! 

Lastly, there’s no sour cream substitute you can use in this recipe. If you want to make this recipe healthier by using a substitute like Greek yogurt…just don’t. Trust us, the sour cream is a game changer. 


Southern macaroni and cheese recipe


More MACARONI RECIPES You’re Going to Love:

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 6

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

When we think of macaroni and cheese we always think of Grandma Carol's ultimate comfort food, her cheesy Southern Macaroni and Cheese!


  • 1 Pound box elbow macaroni
  • 3 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (reserve 1 cup for topping)
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x11" casserole dish.
  2. Cook the macaroni per package instructions.
  3. Place the pasta in a large bowl and while still hot and add 2 1/2 cups cheese and butter.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking to combine, and add to the macaroni mixture.
  5. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish, top with remaining 1 cup of cheese and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 714 Saturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 182.4mg Sodium: 0mg Carbohydrates: 61g Fiber: 2.4g Sugar: 5.9g Protein: 30.9g

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Carrian Cheney

Lover of all things beautiful, good and delicious. Wife, mother, friend, foodie.

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55 comments on “Southern Macaroni and Cheese [+ Video]”

  1. Pingback: SOUTHERN MACARONI AND CHEESE – Creative recipes

  2. Hi! This recipe looks so yummy! My husband always wants me to make homemade Mac n cheese. I love that we don’t need to make a roux. He wants the crunchy topping on top? Can that be made in a separate pan and added to the top of the cheese before or after baking? 

    • Hi Amy! I would make this recipe as it is written and add your crunchy topping on top of the cheese for the last 5 or so minutes of the baking time. Enjoy!!

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  6. Hi. This recipe sounds so delicious that I am going to make it for Easter this year. Since I have to make it for at least 25 people, should I double every ingredient exactly?

  7. I’m planning on making this some time this week. I was wondering if it would freeze well? Thanks for sharing!

  8. Can I cook this at 300 instead of 350? If so for how long? 

  9. Yes! So good and just like my mom made. Thank you for the recipe!

  10. I honestly think 1 1/2 cups milk was too much. Mine is as very soupy. It’s still in the oven. I’m hoping it thickens. 

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  12. Mmm, I love macaroni and cheese.. I can’t wait to try this delicious recipe. All that cheesy goodness!

  13. Can this be made ahead of time…..Like assemble the macaroni and the cheese and then the next day whisk the other stuff together and pour it on top of the macaroni and cheese mixture so the noodles wouldn’t get soggy ? Also do you have to add the sour cream cause I have some in my family that arent very big sour cream eaters……Hoping for a reply before Christmas day

    • I’m so sorry! We took the last two days off to spend uninterrupted time with our kids! Did you try it? Yes, that should work great, and you can’t taste the sour cream in it, but you need it to get the right creamy texture.

  14. Hi!!  This recipe sounds so good and I making it for Thanksgiving… Can I make this ahead of time and just put in the fridge and bake it tomorrow? Thank you

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  19. What can I substitute for eggs?

  20. great recipe will make again. instant favorite for the entire family.

  21. Followed the directions perfectly and the cheese turned out lumpy not creamy 

  22. This recipe would really benefit from including measurements of salt for both the pasta water as it cooks and any additional salt to be added to the mixture. Not all pasta dishes call for the same amount of salt in the cooking water, and not all packages of pasta offer the same advice for salting the water. If, as seems to be the case here, there is no other salt called for in the recipe, it might be a good idea to note that instead of cooking the pasta per the directions on the package, you should generously salt the cooking water. I tend to fall somewhere in the mid-range on salting pasta water, and it this case it resulted in a really bland dish. I can see why, absent instruction in the recipe, others had the same experience.

  23. Can this be doubled and baked in a 9×13 or should I do two separate dishes?

  24. This recipe is perfect timing!

  25. I made this twice and it was pretty bland. I think it needs more salt…or something.

  26. What temperature for the oven? Bake for how long.
    I dont see it in the reciepe above.


  27. Just made this last night and was so happy with the results! Absolutely delicious!

  28. Could I use a glass baking dish instead of a casserole dish?

  29. This was awesome!I am curious to know if it would be safe to mix it up a day ahead of baking it?

  30. YES-this is exactly my kind of mac and cheese!!! I adore it

  31. Apologizing for what might be an obvious answer that I can’t seem to find – but does the butter get put in with the remaining ingredients and whisked? is it melted first? Maybe it goes in with the hot pasta?
    I’m so clueless. 😀

  32. I would also strongly urge not to change the quantity of the ingredients. At least for the first time you make it. For us they are perfect!

  33. This particular Mac ‘n Cheese is the bomb. My wife tried different recipes for years until she settled on this style and ingredients. It canalso be topped with panko every once in a while also.