Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese

by Julie Ruble on July 16, 2009 · 23 comments

After reliving the lovely memories associated with fresh yeast rolls, I want to share another special family recipe with you: Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese. My love of macaroni and cheese runs deep. After all of the amazing things I’ve eaten, I still feel like I can say it’s my favorite food.

In fact, I can remember many of the macaroni and cheeses I’ve enjoyed throughout the years. Apart from raiding the macaroni on the buffet at Quincy’s, I remember getting double helpings when my family visited K&W, a cafeteria style restaurant. I also fondly remember when I finally endeavored to make the blue box macaroni on my own as a child, and proceeded to eat most of it on my own as well. The delicious soul food macaroni and cheese at Charlotte’s historic restaurant, the Coffee Cup. The gourmet lobster macaroni and cheese at a restaurant in south Charlotte. The decadent, bready macaroni and cheese Mike’s mom makes. Perhaps I should write a poem on the subject: my life in macaroni.

Over the years, one recipe tops the list as my favorite macaroni and cheese. I guess you’d expect it to be a labor intensive recipe with numerous cheeses and a mile-long list of ingredients. But you know what’s funny? Sometimes the simplest things really are the best. This Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese (with optional sausages) takes all of 5 minutes to throw together, bakes for 45 minutes, and is truly outstanding. I’ve had people ask if I put ricotta in it because it’s so creamy, and I’ve had people request that I bring two pans of it to a party instead of just one. You’re going to love this recipe, just like my family has for years.

Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I often serve this as a main course with the optional breakfast sausages on top. You can serve it with big spinach salads. In one particularly fabulous meal, I just made a big pan of this macaroni and a big pan of homemade yeast rolls and Mike and I loaded up on carbs! It also goes wonderfully as a side dish, of course. Here are my serving suggestions in photograph form (can you tell we eat this a lot?):

One serving suggestion: big spinach salads with Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese (and some goodies in the background as a teaser — that post is coming soon!)

Another delicious way to eat Oven Baked Macaroni: with a big bowl of yeast rolls!

Last but not least, another carb indulgence: Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese acting as a side dish to our Taco Stuffed Crescent Rolls (another great and easy recipe I’ll have to post soon!)

Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe By: unknown
Yields: a large casserole dish; serves about 4.

3 tablespoons butter
2 cups dry macaroni
4 cups milk
1 block sharp cheddar cheese, grated (or about 4 cups)
1 package breakfast sausage links or bulk sausage, cooked (optional)
salt and pepper
a sprinkle of fresh chopped chives (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray large, rectangular pyrex dish with nonstick cooking spray. Put butter into dish and set it in the oven as it preheats. When butter is melted, take the dish out and add macaroni. Stir until macaroni is coated. Add milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir and make sure ingredients are evenly distributed. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, stirring twice during baking. Place cooked breakfast sausages on top (and sprinkle a little extra cheese if desired) and heat in oven until hot. Sprinkle on fresh chopped chives if desired.

Ready for the oven!

Ready to eat!

As a bonus, will you just LOOK at my adorable cooking buddy’s sleeping position as I type this? I had to capture it with my grainy Photobooth since my camera is nowhere in sight. Isn’t she the cutest?!

Sleepy little Byrd helping Mom post recipes and dreaming of belly rubs!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalee July 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I made the oven-baked mac & cheese last night. We LOVE it! I used white extra-sharp cheddar (next time I’m going to try the yellow sharp cheddar) and I had accidentally picked up Trivella 69 instead of elbow macaroni. It was so yummy! We had it with Ball Park beef franks. Talk about comfort food! Definitely one of my favorites (and John’s too) and it was so easy! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!


Willow Bird Baking July 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Thank you, Natalee! Also, mac and cheese with beef franks = YUM!!!


Zimmerman August 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Reading from Peru, I loved the recipe AND the blog. I’ll be sure to check up some more recipes.


Julie August 24, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Thank you, Zimmerman! :)


Darlene December 22, 2009 at 11:34 am

Hi Julie cool site, thanks for sharing. I’m glad you added pictures b/c I kept looking at recipe to see really that much milk & dry noodles. I suppose they will cook in the oven. I’m going to try this recipe with catfish. Will serve Christmas eve. Thanks for the ideas!!!!


erin May 24, 2010 at 11:45 am

This looks so delicious! I’ve had it bookmarked for quite a while, and I think this might be the week for it. :)

Do you think the cooking time would change with whole wheat pasta? That’s what we generally use, and I think it might make me feel a *little* less guilty!


Julie May 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

We just ate some this weekend, Erin! Hope you enjoy it!! :)


Beth July 8, 2011 at 9:34 am

Where do you get all the cute serving dishes I see in your pictures? I love the star-shaped one here!


hiccupsarefatal October 4, 2011 at 8:10 am

As a lover of all things cheesy, I’m going to have to make this. It looks *delicious*, just like everything else you make. Mm, carbs…


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 4, 2011 at 8:12 am

Aw, thank you! I hope you’ll love it — it’s my favorite macaroni and cheese in the world, and not because it’s the easiest (though it probably is!) I LOVE the taste and texture!


Nancy March 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Greetings from Argentina! This looks sooo tasty! Definitely trying it this week =)


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking March 27, 2012 at 3:12 am

Thanks Nancy! It’s my fave! I hope you love it!


Sally Pifer July 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Do you cook the macaroni nookles first before coating and place in oven? The recipe sounds great! Thank you


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking July 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Nope, that’s what’s so wonderful, Sally!! You’re gonna love it. It’s the easiest recipe for sure, but also my absolute favorite to eat!


Evelyn August 8, 2012 at 10:33 pm

Just made and it is delicious.Used to make from scratch.This is just as good.I added buttered bread crumbs the second half,when I stirred.This is my new way to make Mac and cheese!Thank you for the recipe.


marilyn schoneman October 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Hello from iowa :) what kind (brand of sausage links) did you use ?
thanxs …. marilyn !


Julie @ Willow Bird Baking October 23, 2012 at 1:10 am

Hi Marilyn!! I usually use Jimmy Dean :)


sharon June 11, 2013 at 1:12 am

H Julie-I just made your mac and cheese for my four kids and me for the first time. It was really tasty but the cheese separated a little bit so it wasn’t as creamy as I would have liked…I realized that I had used “light” cheese which I don’t normally use. Do you think that could have been the reason? sharon


Julie Ruble June 11, 2013 at 1:18 am

Hi Sharon, That’s possible, but this is not a creamy macaroni and cheese like those that start with a roux and make a cheese sauce, per se — I call it “custardy.” I prefer the custardy types to the creamier types, since the creamier ones usually rely on dairy that I feel dilutes that awesome sharp cheddar flavor. If you want it creamier, you can add a bit of velveeta or similar cheese to it.


David March 31, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Made this Mac &. Cheese recipe tonight for dinner and it was a great quick and easy meal. I left out the Breakfast sausages and did some oven baked chicken thighs instead. Thanks for the great recipe, it will become one of my staple meals for a quick supper.


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