January 28, 2022| By

Old Fashioned Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
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This five cheese creamy baked mac and cheese is the BEST old fashioned baked macaroni and cheese you'll ever have. It's easy to make and comes together in under an hour. If you love a cheesy, easy, and incredibly flavorful mac and cheese, this recipe is for you!

Looking for some more soul food and comfort food recipes? Check out my Smoked Mac and Cheese, these Easy Homemade Biscuits, and don't forget to try this cornbread!

a cheese pull from a spoon
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I've been keeping this recipe in my back pocket for a rainy day. It's a classic southern baked mac and cheese recipe that's been in my family for years. It's got the perfect combination of cheeses for the best flavor.

This creamy baked macaroni and cheese is ridiculously good and is easily one of my favorite recipes.

I made this recipe for Thanksgiving last year and then again (by popular demand) for Christmas... and then all the time randomly whenever my family comes to visit! The whole family loves it and I could not be more excited and proud to share this mac n cheese recipe with ya'll!

It's creamy, has five types of cheese, is perfectly seasoned, and is SO simple to make. It's both a great side dish and can easily double as a main course at the same time. Can we just have a moment of appreciation for the versatility of mac and cheese? It's the ULTIMATE comfort food!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese in a baking dish

Key Ingredients

The best part about this easy recipe is that it only requires a few simple ingredients. No need to make a cheese sauce, no velveeta cheese, just combine everything and bake it up!

  • Elbow macaroni: I like using elbow or cavatappi noodles for an old fashioned macaroni. The cheese hugs every curve! However, any short cut pasta works.
  • Heavy cream and Whole Milk: these two star ingredients mix together and make this mac creamy and rich. As the cheese melts in the oven and everything comes together, it forms its own cheesy sauce in the baking dish to make each spoonful decadent and cheesy.
  • Sour Cream: adds a tang to this creamy mac, making it nice and decadent and flavor.
  • Butter: you only need 4 tablespoons of butter for this recipe for that silky cheesy texture.

The Cheeses

  • Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese: for that zingy, classic cheese flavor that we all love! If you prefer a less cheesy taste, you can use mild cheddar cheese instead.
  • Asiago Cheese: it's one of my personal favorites. While not particularly an "old fashioned" cheese, it adds a nutty yet creamy flavor to this easy baked mac. You can use parmesan cheese if you're unable to find asiago.
  • Colby Jack Cheese: for smooth yet tangy flavor.
  • Mozzarella Cheese: for the epic cheese pull.
  • Cream Cheese: to mellow out all of the other cheese and bring it all together.

The Seasonings

  • Thyme
  • Onion Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and Black Pepper

Tips for Making the Best Macaroni and Cheese

a spoonful of baked macaroni and cheese
  • Grate your own cheese! Use block cheese and shred the cheese with a grater. Pre-shredded cheese is drier and tend to have additives to prevent the cheese from clumping. This may seem like a minuscule step but it makes the world of a difference!
  • Don't overcook your pasta! Only cook pasta until it's al dente. If you cook the pasta as per normal, it'll be too soggy when you bake it in the oven!
  • If you want a crispy top, broil the macaroni and cheese for about 2-3 minutes once it's done baking in the oven. The crispy top give it a really nice crust!
  • When boiling pasta, add salt to your water. This enhances the flavor of the pasta! Also, do not rinse your pasta while draining. You want to keep all of the flavor in! 
  • Adjust the amount of salt as per your preference. Taste as your go and add salt as needed. Cheese is naturally salty so be mindful of this!

How to make Baked Mac and Cheese

Ok, this goes fast so listen up! Just kidding, it's super simple to make this baked macaroni and cheese. Like REALLY really simple. Check out the steps below:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then cook macaroni/elbow pasta until according to package directions until it's al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Grate the cheeses, add to a large bowl and mix them together.
  3. Pour heavy cream, melted butter, milk, and seasonings into the cheese mixture and mix together.
  4. Add cooked macaroni to a 9x13 baking dish and pour cheese mixture on top. Add cream cheese and sour cream to the macaroni mixture and mix together again (I use my hands).
  5. Add any leftover cheese on top and then bake for 35 minutes. Broil for 2-3 minutes for a crunchy topping.

That's it. No, really, it's THAT simple. Baked Southern Mac and Cheese in under an hour?! Yes. Get ready for an EPIC cheese pull too.  

Variations

  • Make it spicy! Add a little red pepper, jalapenos, and/or hot sauce for a nice kick of spice! You can also add pepper jack for a little heat too.
  • Add a protein - add bacon, pulled pork, or even your favorite seafood.
  • Add breadcrumbs - Use panko bread crumbs and make a crunchy topping for this simple mac. Some people even top their mac with ritz crackers.
  • Gluten Free option - use your favorite gluten free noodles for a gluten free dish.
  • Mix up the cheeses - try. adding smoked gouda for a touch of smoky flavor. American cheese and monterey jack are also delicious cheeses to add to this recipe as well.

What to eat with Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Storing, Freezing, and Reheating

a spoon in a serving dish scooping food

This mac and cheese recipe is best stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days - that is of course if it even lasts that long. I'm telling you, everyone will be devouring this recipe!

To freeze it, add to an airtight container that's freezer safe and store for up to 3 months. When you're ready to eat it again, let it thaw completely and heat in the microwave or stovetop in a large saucepan.

If heating on the stovetop, as it warms, you can add a little bit of milk for added creaminess to give it that "fresh out of the oven" taste.

More Recipes

Recipe FAQs

What cheese is best in mac and cheese?

Cheddar is the best! Followed by mozzarella, parmesan, and colby jack. These are all exceptionally good melting cheeses with a lot of flavor.

How do I make leftover mac and cheese creamy again?

Reheat the mac and cheese over low heat in a nonstick pan. As it warms, slowly add milk and stir together. The milk will loosen up the cheese and make it creamy again.

Should I cover my mac and cheese while baking?

Bake the mac and cheese uncovered to get a nice crunchy top. If you prefer mac and cheese without that cheesy crisp coating, you can bake it covered with aluminum foil.

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Let's stay connected on social media and continue to cook together! Also, if you decide to make this recipe, please leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below! Tag @BritneyBreaksBread on Instagram and hashtag #britneybreaksbread so I can see your creations! I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This five cheese creamy baked macaroni and cheese is the BEST macaroni cheese you'll ever have. It's easy to make and comes together in under an hour. If you love a cheesy, easy, and incredibly flavorful macaroni and cheese, this recipe is for you!
Serving: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Calories: 553kcal

Equipment

  • 9x13 baking dish

Ingredients

  • 16 oz Macaroni/Elbow Pasta
  • 1 cups Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Mozzarella, shredded
  • 2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Colby Jack, shredded
  • 2 cups Heavy Cream
  • 4 tbsps Butter
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tbsp Thyme
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ tsp Nutmeg
  • ½ cup Sour cream 
  • 8 oz Cream cheese, room temperature
  • Salt and Pepper, as desired

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil pasta until al dente, according to package instructions. Drain pasta and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine shredded cheeses and pour in heavy cream and milk. Add thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg and stir together.
  • Add macaroni to a 9x13 baking dish and pour cheese/milk mixture on top. Add sour cream and cream cheese to the baking dish and mix together until evenly distributed throughout. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
  • Bake for 35 minutes. For a browned top, broil for 2-3 minutes.

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Notes

Tips for Making the Best Macaroni and Cheese

Tips
  • Grate your own cheese! Use block cheese and shred the cheese with a grater. Pre-shredded cheese is drier and tend to have additives to prevent the cheese from clumping. This may seem like a minuscule step but it makes the world of a difference!
  • Don't overcook your pasta! Only cook pasta until it's al dente. If you cook the pasta as per normal, it'll be too soggy when you bake it in the oven!
  • If you want a crispy top, broil the macaroni and cheese for about 2-3 minutes once it's done baking in the oven. The crispy top give it a really nice crust!
  • When boiling pasta, add salt to your water. This enhances the flavor of the pasta! Also, do not rinse your pasta while draining. You want to keep all of the flavor in! 
  • Adjust the amount of salt as per your preference. Taste as your go and add salt as needed. Cheese is naturally salty so be mindful of this!

Nutrition

Calories: 553kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 396mg | Potassium: 252mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1515IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 394mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Comfort Food, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: American

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Recipe Rating




  1. 5 stars
    This was SO GOOD! I made a dish and my partner immediately came into the kitchen and took half (of the 9x13 pan. I am not kidding. It is that good.) I've already sent it to several friends!

    Run, do not walk, to the grocery store for these ingredients. Don't bother with those other mac and cheese recipes, either- this is your new go-to. I promise.

    • Thank you so much Kandyce! I really am so happy that you enjoyed this recipe, it's my fave mac and cheese!

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this delicious baked mac and cheese recipe! I never thought to add cream cheese to it, and now that I've made yours, I will be doing this over an over again. I LOVE the addition of the Colby Jack and Asiago cheese too, wow this recipe is top notch!

  3. 5 stars
    Britney thank you so much for this recipe. I struggled to make macaroni and cheese for years, then I made this recipe and was redeemed!! I loved it, my nieces and nephews loved it, and on top of that - the five cheeses you picked compliment each other so well.

  4. 5 stars
    Nothing beats a good mac n’ cheese. This is one of the best recipes I have ever had yet. It was perfectly creamy and cheesy. I have saved this recipe for later!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow, this mac and cheese was so creamy. Really simple ingredients and easy to make. I made this for a family event and it was devoured in minutes. Will definitely be making this again.

  6. 5 stars
    Such cheesy goodness! Thank you for all the helpful tips and easy-to-follow instructions! My family could not stop raving about how good the mac and cheese was! I shared your recipe with everyone and now they want to make it too!

  7. 5 stars
    This was the creamiest mac n' cheese recipe I've ever made. My family couldn't get enough of this, Thank you for the recipe!

  8. 5 stars
    I love how easily this baked mac and cheese came together. All of the cheeses complimented each other so perfectly. I was able to squirrel some away and ate the rest for lunch today!