Rosie Mayes’ Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole

published Feb 16, 2023
Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole Recipe
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Spoon lifting out macaroni and cheese.
Credit: Rosie Mayes

This mac and cheese casserole is the creamiest, cheesiest, best-ever recipe (drops the mic and walks away). I’m not playing y’all! And guess what? It calls for only two different cheeses that are easy to find: sharp cheddar for the flavor and mozzarella for the gooeyness. No more searching for obscure cheeses. I got you covered with this one.

What makes this version different from my other mac and cheese recipes is the crispy crust. I also layer the casserole with cheese on the bottom and top (and plenty of cheese in between!) so it’s like a cheese-crusted sandwich when you slice into it.

Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese Casserole Recipe

Cook time 25 minutes to 30 minutes

Serves 12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 6

    tablespoons salted butter, divided, plus more for greasing

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, for boiling the pasta

  • 3 cups

    uncooked elbow macaroni

  • 3 tablespoons

    all-purpose flour

  • 3 1/2 cups

    half-and-half

  • 16 ounces

    sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided

  • 2 teaspoons

    seasoning salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground black pepper

  • 8 ounces

    low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded

  • 1/2 cup

    Italian-style panko bread crumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  2. In a large pot over high heat, bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil and sprinkle in the kosher salt. Add the macaroni and cook until it is al dente (cooked but still firm). Drain the pasta and transfer it to a large mixing bowl.

  3. While the pasta is cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk until there are no lumps. Pour in the half-and-half and whisk until smooth. Cook until the mixture starts to thicken, then reduce the heat to medium-low.

  4. Add 8 ounces of the cheddar cheese and whisk until well incorporated. Sprinkle in the seasoning salt and black pepper and stir. Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked macaroni and fold it in until well incorporated.

  5. In a small bowl, toss the remaining 8 ounces cheddar with the mozzarella. Sprinkle a layer of this mozzarella mixture on the bottom of the prepared baking dish, then top with a heavy layer of macaroni and cheese. Repeat, finishing with a final layer of the mozzarella mixture.

  6. In a small saucepan or microwaveable bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir. Sprinkle the mixture over the casserole.

  7. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bread crumbs are golden brown and crisp. Serve and enjoy the best-ever Southern baked macaroni and cheese casserole!!

Recipe Notes

(c)2022 by Rosie Mayes. All rights reserved. Excerpted from Super Soul Food by permission of Sasquatch Books.