Everybody loves macaroni and cheese! This 20-minute baked southern mac and cheese is the best because there are only 4 simple ingredients. Elbow macaroni, shredded cheese, milk, and butter.
Only 4 simple steps, too. Sometimes, the simplest recipes are the best! That’s my southern wisdom 😁
Welcome to My Kitchen Serenity! You're going to love this super easy macaroni and cheese. Virtually no prep involved other than cooking the macaroni. Simply add butter, milk, and cheese to the cooked macaroni. Bake for a few minutes to get it bubbly hot.
Sausage is a great main entree to serve with mac and cheese. Try my easy Brats in the Oven recipe. Delicious and super easy sheet pan recipe!
Why We Love This Recipe
What I really love about this mac & cheese is the simplicity of it. Homemade goodness with real ingredients! Nothing artificial and so much better than the boxed version. My southern grandies choose homemade over the boxed brand any day!
This is one of my favorite pasta side dishes because it goes with almost everything. I love an easy side dish especially when your main dish may be more involved. Plus, it's just easier to make and take a side dish like this to something like a potluck or party.
Just 4 basic ingredients are needed. Six if you count any salt and pepper you may add. Some macaroni and cheese recipes call for flour, however, no flour is needed for this one!
This recipe makes about 6 servings. I consider it a small batch. However, this recipe can easily be doubled for a larger crowd. It's the perfect side dish for any occasion such as a holiday, cookout, or office party. Mac and cheese can be served with chicken or steak; fish or pork; hot dogs and hamburgers! Serve with my juicy and delicious New York Strip steak recipe!
There are a ton of different macaroni and cheese dishes out there! You can find a recipe for it in just about every cookbook ever printed. Some are baked and some are cooked on the stove. Some dishes even have different toppings (discussed below). However, the one thing every recipe has in common is this: comfort food! Serving macaroni & cheese for the holidays is a southern tradition!
Elbow macaroni, shredded cheddar cheese (or sharp cheddar cheese), real butter, and whole milk. That's it! Simple mac and cheese recipe without flour creates a smooth, creamy texture.
Tips and Substitutions
- Instead of elbow macaroni, use shells, bow tie, or penne.
- Instead of cheddar cheese, use American cheese or Velveeta cheese.
- Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper for an amazing kick.
- Top off your mac and cheese with ketchup! Yes, ketchup!
- Other topping ideas may include cooked chopped bacon or panko bread crumbs.
- Any other suggestions? Let me know!
Just 4 simple steps: Cook pasta. Add butter, milk, and cheese to the hot cooked pasta. Stir well. Pour into baking dish and bake. Enjoy! Try my Best Southern Meatloaf! It goes FANTASTIC with this easy peasy macaroni cheese recipe!
Are you a pasta lover (like me)? Check out my Rotel Chicken Spaghetti. It's the #1 recipe on my blog!
Have you ever tried Macaroni Salad? It's the perfect summer cold side dish and I love Christy's recipe from Southern Plate. Find the Macaroni Salad recipe here.
This recipe makes about 6 servings. For a larger crowd, double the recipe!
Store any leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. I prefer to use BPA-free glass containers with locking lids. Check out this 18-piece set of glass food storage containers with locking lids from Bayco, available now on Amazon. To reheat, add a tablespoon of milk to cold mac & cheese, stir, and heat in the microwave.
Do you love pasta recipes? If so, be sure to check out my Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Pasta recipe. It's made with chicken breasts, broccoli florets, penne pasta, and an easy homemade alfredo sauce.
If a beef noodle casserole is on your meal planner, try my Beef Noodle Casserole recipe. It's filled with ground beef, egg noodles, robust tomato sauce, and a creamy cheesy sauce.
For the ultimate easy lasagna, try my Easy Meat Lasagna Recipe! Easy homemade lasagna with three layers of lasagna noodles, meat sauce, and lots of creamy ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheeses. You’ll love this traditional Italian lasagna recipe! Easy make-ahead and freezer-friendly, too.
If you made this deliciously easy mac and cheese, please be sure to rate and review it below. I love hearing about your kitchen adventures! We can also be social if you like! I’m on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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Easy Mac and Cheese
- 2-¼ cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup milk
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (divided)
- salt and pepper, if desired
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- In a large pot, cook the macaroni according to the package directions. Then, drain in a colander. Return pasta to the pot.
- Add the butter to the hot pasta and stir until butter is melted. Then add the milk.
- Add 2-½ cups of cheddar cheese to the pasta mixture, and stir well. Pour the mac and cheese into a casserole dish, top with ½ cup cheese, and bake at 375F for 5-10 minutes or until hot and bubbly.