Oven-Baked Mac and Cheese (Southern Plate Favorite)

This oven-baked mac and cheese recipe is a favorite among Southern Plate readers and it’s easy to see why. You need just a short list of ingredients to make this easy baked macaroni and cheese dish the whole family will love.

Close-up spoonful of baked mac and cheese.

It’s just about a requirement that all Americans love classic baked macaroni and cheese in some form and at some time in their lives, I’m no different. Growing up, my mother made a creamy homemade mac and cheese with a sauce that was smooth as silk and permeated every particle of perfectly cooked macaroni. It was my brother’s favorite comfort food, so she usually made it every Sunday.

As kids we all became well acquainted with the boxed stuff, thrilling over the marvel and convenience of the powdery sauce which combined with milk to deliver the ideal after-school snack for busy families. 

Now as an adult I’ve found that if I have a few extra minutes, homemade Macaroni and Cheese really does taste about 1000x better and everyone in the family prefers it.

This delicious baked Macaroni and Cheese is super simple and easy to make. All you need is 5 ingredients (well six or seven if you count the salt and pepper 🙂 and after about an hour and your macaroni and cheese will be ready. These Easy Baby Back Ribs in Oven and The Best Coleslaw would help make this the perfect meal.

I’d recommend watching my quick tutorial video above so that you can get a lay of the land with this recipe.

Okay now I bet you’re REALLY hungry so let’s get started!

Ingredients for oven-baked mac and cheese.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Plain flour
  • Macaroni pasta
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Simple ingredients = an amazing oven-baked mac and cheese recipe!

Helpful Kitchen Tools

How to Make Oven-Baked Mac and Cheese

Cook elbow pasta and then drain.

Cook the pasta until tender and then drain it.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together.

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then set them aside.

Place half of the macaroni in a casserole dish.

Spray an oven-safe bowl or dish with cooking spray. Place half of the cooked macaroni inside.

Sprinkle half of flour mixture over the pasta.

Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the top.

Top with butter slices.

Then top it with half of the butter slices.

Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

Sprinkle 1+1/2 cups of shredded cheese over the top.

Repeat layering process to make oven-baked mac and cheese.

Repeat the layering process again.

Pour milk over entire mac and cheese casserole.

Pour milk over the entire macaroni and cheese casserole.

Cover casserole with foil and bake.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes.

Oven-baked mac and cheese.

Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serving the baked mac and cheese.

Everything I’ve ever wanted in oven-baked mac and cheese is pictured right there! 

A lot of people view this as a side dish but I confess, it’s been the entire meal on more than one occasion.

At this point, my son came in and said “Ma, when is the macaroni and cheese gonna be done?”.

I showed him this and his eyes got “big as dollars” as my grandmother would say!

Oh to be a kid again :).

Bowl of baked mac and cheese.

Storage

Store mac and cheese leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave.

Recipe Notes

  • You can definitely make this oven-baked mac and cheese recipe your own. Here are some ideas:
    • Add shredded chicken or cooked bacon.
    • Need some vegetables? Add sautéed onion and finely chopped bell pepper.
    • Add the dried herbs of your choice, such as onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika for heat.
  • As I said, I totally serve this as a main dish and my family doesn’t complain! But if you serve it as a side dish, it goes great with Southern favorites like fried chicken and pulled pork.
  • Need to top your Southern baked mac and cheese with a crumbly topping? Sprinkle on some panko breadcrumbs and you’re good to go!
  • You can use any grated cheese you like (just not pre-shredded cheese!). I like sharp cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese combined.

You may also like these recipes:

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Mama’s Mac and Cheese

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

One-Pot No Drain Mac and Cheese

Macaroni Salad

Bowl of baked mac and cheese.

Oven-Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

This easy oven-baked macaroni and cheese recipe is a Southern Plate favorite. You need just 5 ingredients to make this family favorite.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
10 minutes
Total Time: 52 minutes
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: casserole, cheese, macaroni
Servings: 5
Calories: 968.1kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
  • 2 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste I use about a teaspoon
  • 4 tbsp butter, thinly sliced
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese mild or sharp, your preference
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta until tender and then drain it.
    2 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then set them aside.
    2 1/2 tbsp flour, 1 1/4 tsp salt, pepper to taste
  • Spray an oven-safe bowl or dish with cooking spray. Place half of the macaroni inside. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the top and then top it with half of the butter slices. Sprinkle 1+1/2 cups of cheese over the top and repeat.
    4 tbsp butter, thinly sliced, 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • Pour milk over the entire macaroni and cheese casserole.
    1 cup whole milk
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes

Size of dish: You can make this in a 9x13 baking dish or a large ovenproof bowl, depending on your preference.

Nutrition

Calories: 968.1kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!

 

Close-up spoonful of baked mac and cheese.
 

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484 Comments

  1. I would like to make this a day ahead of time. At what point in the process do I put it in the fridge? After I’ve done all the layers AND poured milk on top or???? Can someone please help with instructions on how to prepare this ahead of time. Thank you!

  2. No more icky, unpronounceable ingredients on the boxed mac n cheese. Twice a tasty as that stuff for sure. I only had about 12 oz of macaroni. Reduced other ingredients accordingly. The amount that resulted served 5. Guessing you must be serving larger portions than we did. 🙂 Will make again and again. Thanks for a simple ingredient (*the best kind) and really good recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this recipe, which was delicious. As you can see, I add strained diced tomatoes and sautéed onions. Would cut back on salt, next time. Very good comfort food to have on this rainy day.

  4. It is a cold & rainy New Year’s Day in Michigan today, and this Mac N Cheese recipe screams comfort food for today! Yep, I’m going to be making this for supper today 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    My daughter didn’t like mac and cheese, no matter what recipe I tried. I made this, hesitantly because the directions are unusual, and it was an instant hit! Now she eats mac and cheese for any/all 3 meals! Thank you!

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