Black Southern Mac And Cheese

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What is America’s favorite side dish?

Mac and cheese! The ultimate comfort food – soft, melt-in-your-mouth creamy macaroni combined with ooey-gooey cheese. 

Southern mac and cheese has a rich African American history. It’s one of the recipes that’s shaped American food culture. 

That’s why it’s also known as Black Southern mac and cheese!

Black Southern Mac And Cheese

Why is Black folks mac and cheese the ultimate comfort food?

Mac and cheese is the food that brings childhood memories. The coziest of all comfort foods. 

It’s a bowl full of goodness you can enjoy as a weeknight meal all by itself or as a favorite side dish on a soul food Sunday dinner menu

So let the entire family dig in!

What is the definition of comfort food?

Comfort food is often associated with Southern and soul food cooking. 

Southern food can be described as down South, home-cooked comfort food recipes where you can taste the hospitality.

Where did mac and cheese come from anyway?

Macaroni and cheese is one of the many soul food cuisines turned American dishes. 

This yummy dish has a really old history, starting with James Hemings, Thomas Jefferson’s private chef at his Monticello home in Virginia.

Who invented Southern mac and cheese?

Known initially as macaroni pie, mac and cheese was created by James Hemings, an African American enslaved person trained as a culinary chef in France.

Why is Black folks mac and cheese the ultimate comfort food?

Did James Hemings invent macaroni and cheese?

James Hemings was a highly trained chef known to many modern-day cooks and culinary historians. 

He was a notable African American chef who helped create and define American cuisine as we know it today. Especially with the invention of America’s beloved dish, macaroni and cheese.

What is considered the very first macaroni and cheese dish?

According to Netflix’s soul food documentary High On The Hog, where an all-Black creative team tells the story of African American food. 

Black Southern mac and cheese (formally known as macaroni pie) was initially cooked by Hemings in a mixture of boiling water and milk, then baked over an open fire. 

Why is mac and cheese a Southern food?

My home state of Virginia is where esteemed Chef James Hemings first created macaroni pie.

This is one of the reasons why mac and cheese is also a Southern food.

Black Southern Mac And Cheese - Is mac and cheese a Black dish?

Is mac and cheese a Black dish?

Hemings’ baked mac and cheese legacy continued long after the Emancipation Proclamation in the 1860s.

Macaroni and cheese began to have new meanings and multiple identities in the Black community.

Why is Southern baked mac and cheese so important to Black culture?

Is macaroni and cheese considered soul food?

Black Southern mac and cheese became “a celebratory dish, a convenient comfort food, and a meal stretcher for families.”

We recognize this dish today as soul food!

What makes Black folks soul food baked mac and cheese so different?

Today, this Southern recipe is still made from scratch. 

Prepared with a combination of soul food seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, flour, milk, and a mix of cheeses. 

Commonly mozzarella, sharp cheddar, and American cheese are baked until creamy on top and golden brown on the edges!

Some soul food baked mac and cheese recipes interchange evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.

What is Black Southern mac and cheese?

Who makes the best macaroni and cheese?

Black Southern mac and cheese, or Black folks mac and cheese, is Southern baked mac and cheese the way Black people make it with milk and lots of soul food flavor and seasonings.

Get ready for the most delicious baked mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted! 

Rich in delicious Southern, soulful flavors. 

What is Black Southern mac and cheese?

Kitchen equipment for Black Southern mac and cheese

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Ingredients for Black Southern mac and cheese

  • 3 cups of water
  • 4 ¼ cups of milk (divided into 1 ¼ cups & 3 cups)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (divided into 1 tablespoon & 3 tablespoons)
  • 8 oz. uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • ¼ cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, grated cheese, shredded by you, or purchased pre-shredded cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  •  ½ teaspoon of salt 
  •  ½ teaspoon of black pepper

Instructions for Black Southern mac and cheese

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté setting for 25 minutes (although you may not need this entire amount of time).
  2. Fill the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot with 3 cups of milk, water, and 1 tablespoon of butter. 
  3. Pro tip- For baked macaroni and cheese, the soul food way, use milk to coat the macaroni and give it a smooth, silky texture. Perfect for layering on cheese!
  4. Once the liquid begins to simmer, add the macaroni and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to ensure the macaroni doesn’t clump & stick. 
  5. Drain the macaroni and set it aside.
  6. Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the empty inner pot and turn it back on the sauté setting.
  7. When the butter is melted, add the flour, 1 ¼ cups of milk, and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, and paprika) and whisk until smooth. 
  8. Change the Instant Pot cook setting from sauté to slow cook for 1 hour (although you will not need this entire amount of time).
  9. While the cook setting changes from sauté to slow cook, allow the ingredients to simmer for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  10. Stir in the cheese to make the cheese sauce (reserve some for topping when baking).
  11. Close the Instant Pot with the lid and let slow cook the cheese mixture for 5-10 minutes until the cheeses are blended.
  12. Open the lid to add the cooked pasta and the heavy cream to the inner pot, stirring the macaroni mixture to blend evenly.
  13. Transfer the pasta mixture into an 8-inch cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  14. Top with the remaining cheese.
  15. Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Or bake in the conventional oven for 25 minutes or until mac and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  16. Optionally, garnish with a sprinkle of dry thyme or 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs.
  17. Serve Black folks Southern baked macaroni and cheese right away, and enjoy!

🎙Join the conversation about Black Southern mac and cheese on The Soul Food Pod!

Would this recipe turn out the same if you used the stove instead of an Instant Pot?

Would this recipe turn out the same if you used the stove instead of an Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is optional for this Black Southern mac and cheese recipe. 

You can use the instructions to make this recipe on the stovetop instead.

Making macaroni and cheese on the stovetop is super easy and faster because it doesn’t have the extra step of baking the macaroni dish.

Here are four tips that will help you make the perfect stovetop macaroni and cheese:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat before adding flour or other thickeners.
  2. Add milk or heavy whipping cream slowly while stirring constantly.
  3. Add salt, pepper, and the mac and cheese seasonings listed in the recipe HERE after removing them from the stovetop. 
  4. Stir in the shredded cheddar until melted.

You could also use a crock pot or slow cooker for a macaroni and cheese recipe.

Is mac and cheese a side or main dish?

Mac and cheese is a main dish, yet it’s so versatile that it’s also a side. Hence the question, what goes with mac and cheese? 

Black Southern mac and cheese has become a staple among families and various cultures spanning generations. 

Here’s what goes with mac and cheese. 

What Goes With Mac And Cheese?
What Goes With Mac And Cheese? | Southern Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe
What goes with mac and cheese?
Instead, people should ask, "What doesn't go with mac and cheese? From baked mac and cheese to soul food Southern macaroni and cheese, America's favorite main dish/side dish goes with just about everything!
Check out this recipe!
What Should You Serve With Mac And Cheese?

What are some more good recipes for homemade macaroni and cheese?

Black Folks Southern Baked Mac And Cheese
Black Folks Soul Food Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Soul food baked mac and cheese is made with a rich & creamy homemade cheese sauce & yummy Southern spices. Southern comfort food the Black folks way!
Check out this recipe!
Soul Food Southern Mac And Cheese
Soul Food Southern Mac And Cheese
African American grandmas and moms have been producing great pots of soul food Southern mac and cheese for years!
It just might've gotten lost how impactful this recipe is to the Black community.
Check out this recipe!
Black Folks Soul Food Lobster Mac And Cheese
Soul Food Lobster Mac And Cheese
Even with the addition of decadent lobster meat, there’s no compromise to the Southern soul food flavors customary to this meal. In other words, this is still baked macaroni and cheese made the Black folks way!
Check out this recipe!
  • Soul food crab macaroni and cheese
  • Southern baked macaroni and cheese
  • White cheddar mac and cheese

Black Southern mac and cheese FAQs

What’s the best pasta for mac and cheese?

Elbow macaroni is commonly used, but you can use any pasta to make homemade mac and cheese! 

Then add a drizzle of olive oil to the water to keep the noodles from sticking.

Try substituting any of your favorite pasta varieties in place of elbow noodles for your stovetop or baked mac and cheese.

Here are a few options that work well with this dish.

  • Elbow macaroni noodles
  • Rotini noodles
  • Macaroni shells
  • Penne rigate
  • Bow tie pasta
What's the best pasta for mac and cheese?

What cheese is best in mac and cheese?

Most people believe that sharp cheddar is the best cheese for macaroni and cheese. Because sharp cheddar has a low melting point, creating a smooth and creamy baked mac texture. 

Additionally, sharp cheddar has a bold, cheesy flavor associated with classic mac and cheese.

How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

How do you keep mac and cheese creamy?

There are several ways to ensure that your mac and cheese stays creamy. One of them is cooking your noodles in milk rather than water. 

Milk has much more fat than plain water, so the resulting mixture will have a creamier texture.

How do you cut richness in mac and cheese?

What goes with mac and cheese to cut the rich cheesy taste?

Southern mac and cheese is made from scratch. First, prepared with a combination of soul food seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic, onion, paprika, flour, milk, and a mix of cheeses to cut the richness of just cheese. 

Then the dish is most commonly baked until creamy on top and golden brown on the edges. Yum!

Soul food baked mac and cheese recipes also commonly interchange evaporated milk or sweetened condensed milk.

How do you thicken macaroni and cheese?

After the pasta is cooked and the melted butter is in the pot. Add the flour, milk, and seasonings and whisk until smooth.

Allow the ingredients to simmer for a few minutes, and the flour will make the mixture thicken.

How do you thicken macaroni and cheese?

What spices can you add to mac and cheese?

Soul food Southern macaroni and cheese recipes add flavor with seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried mustard, and paprika. 

What is the difference between evaporated milk and regular milk?

Evaporated milk is milk that’s gone through a cooking process to vaporize (evaporate) or remove over half of the water content. 

The result is milk creamier and thicker than regular whole milk, making it the perfect addition to sweet and savory dishes.

Can you make this a day ahead of your party?

Yes, you can make this recipe a day ahead for sheer convenience!

  • Put all ingredients in a baking dish and cool completely (do not bake). Place in an airtight container or tightly seal with plastic and refrigerate.
  • Let the dish sit on the countertop for 30 minutes before baking.
  • It should be baked at the recipe temperature (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes until hot, bubbly, and crispy!

Is Black Southern mac and cheese part of a soul food Thanksgiving menu?

Yes, and always! Like the turkey and dressingsoul food baked mac and cheese is one of the stars among dishes on the Thanksgiving Day table.

Black Southern Baked Mac And Cheese

What do you think of this soul food baked mac and cheese recipe?

Did you enjoy this Black Southern mac and cheese recipe?

Have you had it?

Would you make it? 

Comment below and lemme know. 

Then subscribe HERE for all the soul food!

 The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
The Ultimate Soul Food Recipes Guide
What is soul food? Soul food recipes are African-American recipes full of flavor! A legacy of Southern cooking the Black way. Check out this collection of the best soul food recipes!
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Black Southern Mac And Cheese
Baked Macaroni And Cheese - The Soul Food Pot

Black Southern Mac And Cheese

Black Southern mac and cheese has a rich African American history and is one of the recipes that’s shaped American food culture. It's also known as Southern baked mac and cheese.
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Soul Food, Southern Food
Servings: 6
Calories: 520kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot Duo Nova (optional)
  • Omni Plus Oven (optional)
  • 8-inch cast iron skillet or 8″ baking dish

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 ¼ cups milk divided into 1 ¼ cups & 3 cups
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided into 1 tablespoon & 3 tablespoons
  • 8 oz macaroni noodles uncooked
  • 2 tablespoons flour all-purpose
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 cup Colby-jack cheese shredded
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Instructions for Southern baked macaroni and cheese
  • Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté setting for 25 minutes (although you may not need this entire amount of time).
  • Fill the Instant Pot stainless steel inner pot with 3 cups of milk, water, and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  • Pro tip- For baked macaroni and cheese, the soul food way, use milk to coat the macaroni and give it a smooth, silky texture. Perfect for layering on cheese!
  • Once the liquid begins to simmer, add the macaroni and cook according to the package directions, occasionally stirring to ensure the macaroni doesn’t clump & stick.
  • Drain the macaroni and set it aside.
  • Add the 3 tablespoons of butter to the empty inner pot and turn it back on the sauté setting.
  • When the butter is melted, add the flour, 1 ¼ cups of milk, and seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, and paprika) and whisk until smooth.
  • Change the Instant Pot cook setting from sauté to slow cook for 1 hour (although you will not need this entire amount of time).
  • While the cook setting changes from sauté to slow cook, allow the ingredients to simmer for about 3 minutes until the mixture thickens slightly.
  • Stir in the cheese to make the cheese sauce (reserve some for topping when baking).
  • Close the Instant Pot with the lid and let slow cook for 5-10 minutes until the cheeses are blended.
  • Open the lid to add the cooked pasta and the heavy cream to the inner pot, stirring the mixture to blend evenly.
  • Transfer the pasta mixture into an 8-inch cast iron skillet or baking pan.
  • Top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  • Bake in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Or bake in the conventional oven for 25 minutes or until mac and cheese is golden and bubbly.
  • Optionally, garnish with a sprinkle of dry thyme or 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs.
  • Serve Southern baked macaroni and cheese right away, and enjoy!

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 410mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1094IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 519mg | Iron: 1mg
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