Macaroni and Cheese is synonymous with Southern entertaining and you would be hard-pressed to find any type of holiday or celebration involving food in the South without a macaroni and cheese casserole front and center on the table.
My Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese is an old-school, traditional, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe and I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve served it or brought it to covered dish suppers or other gatherings. No matter what occasion is being celebrated, there is always room on the table for mac and cheese, and most often it is the first side-dish folks look for.
There are thousands of mac and cheese recipes out there, some fancy and some not, and some with additional ingredients like lobster, bacon, hot dogs, hamburger meat or tomatoes. You can find recipes in which the mac and cheese is cooked in a crockpot or an instant pot, or even in a pan on the stove. And, while all are delicious, sometimes classic and simple is best, and my Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole recipe is just that, a simple, classic, delicious casserole. I hope you will give it a try.
If you like this recipe, you might also like these other classic Southern casserole recipes: Southern Sweet Onion Casserole, Ultimate Broccoli Cheese Casserole, and Easy Spicy Southern Corn Casserole.
How to make Southern Style Baked Mac and Cheese!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions to the al dente stage. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot or dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.
When the butter is melted, add the flour, salt and mustard, a little at a time, whisking constantly.
When the flour and butter mixture is smooth, add the milk, a little at a time, constantly whisking to make sure you don’t have any lumps.
Continue to cook for about two minutes or until the sauce is thickened and smooth. Test the mixture often by coating the back of a spoon with the sauce. Run your finger across the sauce. If the line is thick enough that it stays put without dripping or running, it’s done.
Add the cheese slowly to the sauce, about a cup at a time, and stir until melted. Once you have added all of the cheese, add the cream cheese and stir until combined.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Add the pasta to the sauce and mix well to combine.
Pour the macaroni mixture into a large 5-quart baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
Add Ritz crackers to your food processor and pulse until the crackers are crushed into fine crumbs. Or, you can place all the crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until they are broken into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and parmesan cheese and mix well to combine.
Top your casserole evenly with the crumb mixture and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the crumb topping is golden brown.