I really can't attest to any substitutes! Mary I just got done writing this recipe down! Im going to the store today and getting all that cheese! Thank you for posting, I'll be traveling about 45 minutes or so away I'll also be cooking this dish in one of those aluminum roasting pans the ones at Walmart you can buy. I was wondering what you think the best way to travel with it to keep it nice and warm until I get there. Thank you.
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Hey Brooke! Just don't sway from the ingredients that are listed and I know everybody will love this!! Your best bet is one of those insulated carriers, something like like this. I have one of RR's carriers for a 9 x 13 pan that I bought off of Amazon and you won't believe how well they work to keep things hot. Just make sure you get one that has the shiny, reflective insulated interior.
Absent that, cover the casserole with several layers of aluminum foil and place it on a towel lined rimmed baking sheet. Then wrap the whole thing with aluminum foil and then wrap with a couple of towels. I've done that before too! Sounds easy enough! Those cheese prices kicked my butt today at the store! It will be worth the reaction from family though that's for sure hahah Definitely a Special Occasion Mac and Cheese I cant wait to cook it! I will be back to tell you how awesome I know its gonna be. No kidding!
Grocery prices overall have gotten ridiculous anymore. Hi Mary, the recipe asks for 2 pounds of elbow macaroni noodles Is this measurement for cooked or un-cooked noodles? Can anyone answer this question please? I plan on making this this weekend for a get together and want to make sure I have everything correct. Gosh Riana, I'm so sorry but I could swear that I had already answered this a couple days ago!!
Anyway, yes it is uncooked, dry elbow macaroni, so you'll need a 2 pound bag or two 1-pound bags for the full recipe. This recipe looks amazing! Do you think I could make this in a crock pot? Hey Kristen! I have not experimented with this recipe for the crockpot so I can't recommend it personally until I do! I'm sure I'll keep trying, but it's a little costly to experiment with all this cheese!! Let us know too!! Thanks for your quick response! I will try it as written. I was just trying to figure out a way to clear up some of the dish clutter we get at our Holiday table.
Planning on attempting this Thanksgiving, my question is can u use cheese that is already grated or do u really need block cheese. Hi Cindi! I know that folks use preshredded cheese all the time for things like mac and cheese, however, for this recipe I have only ever used pure block cheese. The problem with preshredded cheese is that it contains fillers and stabilizers that could affect your results and you might end up with something you don't like.
I recommend following the recipe as it is written the first time you make it, using pure, block cheese you shred yourself, and then if you make it another time and want to use the preshredded cheeses, you'll be able to see the exact results between the two types of cheeses. To save a little time, you can do the shredding in advance too. Thank you so much for your reply, I will do as you say, I am already SOOOO nervous to make it for the guest the first time, because of the "scrambled egg thing" Hopefully I won't have that problem Just remember - tempering is simply adding hot to cold, a little at a time, while keeping the cold moving rapidly.
All you're doing really is warming the cold, then once the cold is warmed up, you add that all to the hot. It's a gentle process to keep it from scrambling the eggs, just add the hot in slow, beat the eggs as you add it! I'm glad I found this recipe. I am making a southern based thanksgiving meal, and this is the second dish on my menu that I have decided on the other is the Southern Succotash. My macaroni and cheese has always been OK, just used butter, Velveeta, evaporated milk and a little cheddar, so it was "meh".
I am a good cook however, and am planning to go all out this year. I will check back after Thanksgiving! Now, off to find a good Corn Bread Stuffing recipe This one has wonderful reviews - just don't make any substitutions the first try! There's a button on the left-hand sidebar until Thanksgiving too which will lead you to a page listing a complete southern thanksgiving menu as well as a whole bunch of alternate dishes. Welcome and enjoy!! Happy Thanksgiving Kathryn!! Hi Mary, just want to let you know I love your site and an definitely planning on trying out some of your recipes, starting with this one!
One question though; do you use small or large elbow macaroni for this recipe? I guess it would be the small ones, though not the tiny ones! They are more of a medium, or what would be considered a standard elbow. The brands I use are either Luxury or Ronco in the 2 pound bag. It's not marked size-wise, and they look small, but they double in size when they cook. I guess I should say instead, look for a more medium cut pasta. I picked up the Ronco 2 pound bag this year and it seemed like I had a lot more cooked pasta.
You want an elbow noodle that is more of a medium cut, but not the jumbo or large either! I love, love, love this recipe. It is my go to for all things mac n cheese. I used to hate eggs in mac n cheese because it as so custard-y but now it is the only way I make it. Thank you so much for this recipe; it's almost as good as my dearly departed mothers - she took her recipe with her ;-. Thank you so much Ruqayyah! This is truly one of the most loved recipes on my entire website and I am thrilled to hear it has become a favorite for you as well.
Happy Thanksgiving!!! Hi there, this recipe sounds really good. My kids love the crackers on top of the mac and cheese though, just wondering if you have ideas about how that might turn out? You may top this with any topping you like on macaroni and cheese! I don't usually comment on recipes I find, but this one definitely deserved some feedback.
After the first bite, I wanted to do a victory dance around the kitchen for finally making the best macaroni and cheese Ever!! It was so creamy and good, I think I almost went into a cheesey coma after my first plate! Even the leftovers were delicious the next day: So thank you so much for this recipe ma'am I applaud you. Btw, for anyone not knowing whether to half the recipe or not, I halved it and it still made soo much. I cooked it in a 9x13 dish and it was at the rim almost overflowing.
So I would not make the original unless you have a bunch of people to feed or you don't mind eating leftovers for a week or longer lol. I appreciate that! This is a definitely the big batch casserole perfect for the holidays, but also can be easily halved for 6 to 8 servings. Hi, this recipe sounds and looks great. The only thing is my kids love the cracker crumbs on top. Do you think it would turn out okay if I added them over the top? This sounds amazing One questions, does it matter if the butter is salted vs unsalted?
Doesn't matter except for the adjustments you'll want to make in the added salt. If you use already salted you'll want to not be so liberal in the seasonings in the layers, but that's it! Oh my garsh! Made this for two separate Thanksgivings today and it was a hit! Exactly the creamy cheesy mac i've bben looking for. Not eggy or dry at all! If ur considering it, just make it! Don't take it from me though. I brought this to my parents house and my Dad yells out, "Who made the Mac and Cheese? He never does this. His Gran is the only cook he has ever truly loved. He even asked me for the recipe later on!
Finally some real southern food!!! It is now on my completed pins board. Can't wait to make more of your recipes! Thanks so much! Oh my, it sounds delicious! I'm a bit reluctant though because my grandmother has always made the best mac n' cheese. I hated the dish until I tried a taste of my grandmother's then I was hooked on it. I compare every mac n' cheese dish to hers. Well, she's passed away now and my auntie SWEARS she knows the secret recipe so this is one that she's going to make for Christmas dinner.
But i will keep this recipe on the back burner so I can test it out with my hubby and son. If it were me, I'd definitely stick with my grandmother's recipe for sure! Why mess with perfection?! Cant wait to try this recipe! Looks delicious! I was hoping to make this dish for a holiday work party coming up. Is there anyway I could use a crockpot with this recipe? Hi Julia! I made this for Thanksgiving and it was outstanding!!! I made this for thanksgiving, but somehow it turned out dry.
I want to try again because even though it was not moist enough, it still had a great flavor. Im going to try to make this again for Christmas, but I hope it turns out better. Haven't had that issue, but I don't think adding a bit more milk would hurt it. Make sure that the elbows you are using are a medium cut. If they are too small, 2 pounds will actually end up making too much pasta and that could cause you not to have enough sauce once it's cooked.
I usually use the Luxury brand of elbows but this year I picked up the Ronco pasta and it seemed like I had a lot more pasta! Best ever out of all the mac and cheese recipes I've made- all my family says stick to this one, made it with and without the eggs and could no tell the difference. That's all I can say girl! My husband even said you can start taking this our family gatherings and give his Mother a break. I am SO happy I did. Please keep the recipes coming I am your new fan! Go Mary! Thank you so much Buttercupy!! It does make quite a lot, even halved but it's perfect for those church suppers, potluck and family celebrations!!
Mary Mary Mary I made this recipe today with the help of my son. I did a half recipe, I was worried about not having enough liquid so added just a little bit of heavy cream over the top and sides. Total perfection! I would say that I would not try to put it together ahead of time and then cook the next day as I feel that the macaroni would tend to soak up the liquid and it would be drier. Freshly made is the way to go! I would like to link to your recipe through Facebook if I may. Thank you so much for stopping by to let me know y'all enjoyed it!! I forgot to add that my husband likes it and we have been talking about "add ins" such as smoked sausage and I think I will be taking this to the family reunion this year!
Hi Mary! This looks amazing! Is it possible to prep all this ahead of time and just bake on the day of the event! I want to make sure it's as fresh as possible. Absolutely, I do! I don't bake it until right before time to eat, but I always make the mac ahead and shred up all the cheeses for sure and I've made the sauce up too! Hey, Mary. I made this tonight for a big party. Can't wait to find out what it tastes like! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
I have to make Mac n Cheese for an outing tonight. After reading the reviews I really want to make this one, however all I have is the shredded cheese would it be terribly awful to use it?
Deep South Dish: Southern Style Big Batch Super Creamy Special Occasion Macaroni and Cheese
I have never used pre-shredded cheese for this recipe so I can't tell you how that will affect the final outcome but I suspect it will be dry. Pre-shredded cheese contains fillers, stabilizers and other non-cheese stuff such as starch to help keep the cheese from sticking together, but it also dehydrates the cheese and when you take away moisture from cheese, it does affect the way that it reacts to longer exposure to heat. Freshly grated cheese melts more evenly, is more smooth and has a creamier texture, so while I do occasionally use pre-shredded cheeses for convenience, my preference when baking is always block cheese I shred myself.
The little bit of work is truly worth the effort! Hi Melanie! Well, yeah, this is a no holds barred on the deliciousness that fats provide cheese and butter but it's also quite a large batch recipe - intended for the holidays. In other words, it makes a LOT, though it may also be successfully halved and still makes quite a bit. When made as written with no adaptations , it is an awesome recipe, but intended only for special occasions and not as an everyday side! I just wanted to say that this is THE macaroni and cheese recipe I make when I want people to swoon and generally just flip out over how good my mac-n-cheese is!
Thank you so much for sharing and helping me to look like a mac-n-cheese queen! Hi beautiful Mary! Thanks for ALL you do. PS I'm making it for the office and I'm a little nervous. Wish me luck. Aw, you are too sweet! I actually just bought new appliances for my kitchen when we moved a few months ago. I actually now have a matching suite of appliances - first time ever in my life lol! Anyway, my oven is also convection, actually it has both bake and convection so it's an experiment for me too still.
Although I have not done my mac and cheese in it on convection yet, I have found that I pretty much just need to lower the temp by about 25 degrees and bake it for a shorter time. If not let it go and check every 5 minutes. The time here is really just an estimate anyway - I've found sometimes the time is spot on and others I've had to let it cook for 10 to 15 extra minutes. With convection, it's all an experiment! I was thinking of making this for Thanksgiving, and I was wondering about the cheese. As long as it's a block and not pre-shredded, is it okay?
HI Mary! I was hoping to make this for Thanksgiving, and I was wondering about the cheese. As long as it's a block and not pre-shredded is that okay? Thank you! Hey Brianna! Yes, use a block cheese and shred it yourself. It's a little more work but it really makes a difference! Thank you for responding so quickly. So, another quick question, to cut the recipe in half — just cut all the ingredients in half too?
Do you have any other advice? What about the milk? Have you made the recipe in half before? You are heaven sent, as I continue to master your recipes. Aw, it's all on you but I'm sure happy to help be a part of your kitchen!!
Yes, just halve all of the ingredients: Hi Mary,this recipe is amazing, and overall I find myself on your blog more than almost anywhere else Costco and Amazon. Thank you so much for the delicious food inspiration!! If I wanted to make this less creamy and more "macaroni pie" or holds together more, could I just add more egg to achieve this? Thank you so much Michelle - coming from a kook for Amazon:: The real creaminess for this recipe comes from the Velveeta, so if you want more sticky I would try exchanging out some of that for additional hard cheese.
I've not experimented from this recipe so if you give it a try please let me know how you liked the results! Hello Mary, I am soooo excited about using this recipe for Thanksgiving dinner this Thursday! I can't wait! I am using the full recipe as we are expecting a bunch of people over, however, I do not have a 4qt casserole dish.
I was looking at those throw away pans, you know like the Hefty EZ foil pans that are usually in the grocery store but everytime I google 4qt, only the 3qt one pops up. I won't be able to split the recipe up into two dishes because I'll have other things in the oven going at the same time. Do you have any suggestions of which of those pans I could use for the full recipe? Thanks in advance!! A half recipe fits very nicely in my 4 quart baking pan, and to be honest, it's still quite a lot.
With all of the other dishes at Thanksgiving that may be enough for your group! Well, of course they are!! Nothing weird about it. I am from the Deep South afterall! I made this Mac and cheese recipe at a gathering a few months ago. It was gone in less than an hr! I have know been crowned the Mac and cheese person at ALL gatherings now lol. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I'm making it for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, also!
Full disclosure- I am on a gluten free, wheat free and mostly dairy free program for life. I crave this classic comfort like a junkie craves crack. I tweaked your recipe and used full fat coconut milk instead of dairy, Daiya dairy free cheese and ghee as a butter subsitute for Thanksgiving. My husband is going crazy over it, fighting me for it!
I thank you so much for this recipe, but I'm a rebel to the bone and I'm so glad that my experiment worked! This will be my go-to when I crave this all-American classic. You ROCK! Oh wow, awesome!! I'm so glad that you were able to use this recipe as a backbone - it really is a favorite around here. Thank you SO much for taking the time to come back and share your tweaks for our GF readers. I know that they will be thrilled!! I made this for my inlaws' Thanksgiving yesterday and it was such a hit, everyone raved about it and want me to bring it to all holiday meals!
Thanks for helping me start a new tradition with my new family! I have been on a 4 year quest for the perfect homemade mac n cheese recipe and I have finally found it! It is so creamy and cheesy and delicious and perfect! I made it today for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit! The kids especially loved it! A lot of folks like the stringy mac and cheese but I'm in the same camp as you - I want creamy!! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed my recipe and thank you especially for taking the time to come back by and let me know!! I'm sorry but I have not tried this recipe in the slow cooker. Seeing as it's not exactly an inexpensive venture, I'm not sure how much more I'll experiment!
I always recommend making a recipe exactly as written the first time you make it, then if you decide to experiment with the slow cooker, you'll have something to compare it to. Please let us know if you give it a try! The first time commenting on your site. I have been a fan for sometime and always wanted to try one of your recipes. I tried this mac and cheese last night. My 10 year old went berserk. I gave her a VERY generous portion and she still came back for seconds.
I guess I'll keep trying, but clearly I am a creamy mac and cheese kinda gal!! I made this today to go with a cajun ham I baked. I only changed one thing. I used canned milk to give it a richer taste. I tasted it before I baked and it is great. Thanks for such a good recipe. Hey Heather! I haven't given up so I'm sure I'll play around with it some more!
My 16 year old daughter has been begging for some homemade mac'n'cheese. She came home with a friend today so we made your Everyday recipe. It was absolutely delicious! It's very rich! We served with seamed broccoli. I had to make a couple changes. I used medium size shells and half extra sharp cheddar and half Monterey Jack.
The topping was so yummy that next time I'll use a 9" by 13" baking dish so we'll have more topping. My daughter's friend loved it - this was her first time having homemade and we all had fun making it then devouring. Thanks for the recipe! You're welcome - so glad that y'all enjoyed it! I know that topping was marvelous!!
If I prepare this dish in the morning and wait to bake it until the afternoon, will I need to alter the recipe? Lots of people do make mac and cheese ahead but I'm not too big of a fan. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce in the resting and seems to take away some of the creaminess. It's just not quite the same to me. What I always do when I want to make it ahead is to prep everything ahead - cook the noodles, make the sauce - but store it separately, so all I have to do is warm the sauce and put it together right before baking. That's my preference! Hi Mary, made this recipe for Sunday dinner.
I said, yes I did. He loved it. Hubby didn't have any comments, but I noticed he kept eating it first. Then we had it for leftovers Monday nite. He surprised me with his comment, it taste better tonight than it did yesterday. He actually said he liked it better than my regular recipe, so I guess that's my go to recipe from now on for mac and cheese. It went well with your recipe for grilled ribs I also made on the grill, for the first time, with no help.
Thanks for the great recipes! You are so welcome Louise and thank you so much for stopping back by to let me know!! Can the special occasion Macaroni and cheese be made the day before the celebration, if yes do I cook it all the way and then just warm it the next day? Can you help. Some people do make ahead macaroni and cheese but I'm not a fan of it myself.
The pasta tends to absorb too much of the sauce and then by the time you bake it, it's not creamy any longer, and very often pretty dry. I do prepare the components of it ahead though - boil the pasta, shred the cheeses - then I just put it together right before baking. That's as make ahead as I get! I will prepare as you suggest, thank you so much for responding. The dish is for my granddaughters first birthday party and hope it will be a hit.
It's certainly a family favorite for us and it got me a couple of happy dance's on QVC too!! We are still talking about the special occasion recipe, right? Yes the special occasion mac and cheese we have 80 people coming and I plan on cooking it in the oven and keeping it warm with a sterno I am making two batches. Let me say that my mother is from the low country Walterboro, SC and to me she is the best cook ever.
My husband's favorite side dish is Mac n Cheese, to the point where he wanted it for every Sunday dinner. Then I stumbled upon your site and decided to do something different. That something different was my husbands Mac n Cheese obsession. Well, I haven't used Paula's recipe since that faithful day! Keep putting out these delicious recipes because I'm a city girl and can never cook like my momma, but your recipes sure do help, LOL! Aw Carole, I'll bet you're a great cook! Thanks for trying my recipe and especially for letting me know that you and your husband enjoyed it!!
That means a lot to me. Mary, this is a great recipe that we enjoyed quite a bit! Do you think it is possible to cook the macaroni al dente and then freeze the casserole? I am trying to get some freezer meals done as both husband and I have cancer and he is beginning treatment so I want easy meals we can pull out and heat up. Oh gracious, what a challenge you and your husband have. Sending love and healing prayers and may God keep you in this difficult time.
I haven't frozen this, though you probably could. I am not really preparing food for the freezer these days, but if I recall correctly, the key to freezing pasta is that it must be completely covered with sauce. Otherwise the pasta gets mushy. Reheating may be easier if you bake it too - I'm afraid stovetop would be too sticky and maybe burn. Let it cool, transfer to a foil pan, cover well with foil and freeze. To prepare, you might be able to take it straight to the oven, or I would thaw over night in the fridge, then bake at degrees covered.
Not sure on the time, but check it at 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover when it begins to bubble up if you want to brown the top. Not sure if that will work, but I think it will! Thank you Mary! I just love your recipes and am going through to pick his favorite meals. Thank you also for the well wishes.
Followed this recipe to the letter and it was very tasty but DRY! I even put the crackers and butter on top. What did I do wrong? I'm a very good cook and was very disappointed in the result for tonight's dinner. Oh no! I bet you were. I know the feeling. I actually baked a banana bread today but I only tested it in the middle once and assumed it was finished.
It was beautiful! Unfortunately after it cooled and I cut it - it was raw in the middle. That was really frustrating after running the oven nearly an hour in this heat. Oh well. That's the way it goes sometimes. I just sliced it up and air fried the slices! Was it creamy before it went in the oven?
When did you add the saltines? You aren't adding additional cook time, you just add them towards the end of the cooking time. All ovens differ in the way they cook, so times in a recipe are always only recommendations and may need adjustments according to your own oven. Thank you so much! I've even been inspired to try biscuits I can never consistently get them just right. I've been wanting to make this for a long time. I finally made it the other night and now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long to make it!
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It was so creamy and good, we had a bit leftover and when reheated it was still super creamy! I will be making this again for sure. Thanks for all your delicious recipes. You're very welcome Bonnie - I'm so glad that you finally took the plunge! All I can say is that it was wonderful! Highlight of the meal! Now I must go back to my diet tomorrow! Thanks for a great recipe! Even better than Cracker Barrels! I told my husband that this recipe makes me want to never buy boxed Mac and cheese again, and only ever make this recipe!! Thanks for sharing this deliciousness with us, and I'm looking forward to all the other recipes I will be making from your site!!
No, I have not tried this recipe in the slow cooker. Seeing as it's not exactly an inexpensive venture, I'm not sure how much more I'll experiment! I always recommend making a recipe exactly as written the first time you make it, then if you decide to experiment with the slow cooker, you'll have something to compare it to. Please let us know if you give it a try! Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from readers and I read every single comment and try to respond to them right here on the site, so stop back by! I also reserve the right to edit, delete or otherwise exercise total editorial discretion over any comments left on this blog.
If your comment serves only to be snarky, mean-spirited or argumentative, it will be deleted. Please mind your manners. One of my favorite kitchen tools, I use this handheld vacuum sealer everyday for deli meats, cheeses, veggies and more! Love, love! Love these measuring cups from Oxo. Read measurements right from the top, no bending, stooping or eyeballing - they're another favorite!
Get New Posts by Email. Mardi Gras Menu Ideas. Look no more! If you're a fan of air fryers like I have become, these are the absolutely perfect sprayers. With coarse salt, herbs and spices, garlic and onion, I have become a big fan of this seasoning! Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats. Pour an inch of cold water in the bottom and this butter keeper will keep your real butter on the counter, soft and fresh and ready to use. I love mine! Copyright Unless otherwise stated, all images, content and recipes are original and are the sole property of Mary Foreman, DeepSouthDish.
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