The Washington Post

Soul Food Macaroni and Cheese

Soul Food Macaroni and Cheese 12.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Nov 20, 2016

Michael Twitty's mother was the best cook in his family, says the food historian, so he learned all he could from her. Her hefty, firm-noodle-pudding take on this classic was prepared for every holiday meal, including Thanksgiving; he says dinner was not complete without it.

Make Ahead: The assembled mac and cheese can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated a day in advance. Remove the plastic and let sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking. The baked mac and cheese can be covered tightly with aluminum foil and reheated in a 300-degree oven until warmed through.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 12 servings

  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic (garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at a cool room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • One 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni, cooked
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 12 ounces packed, cubed Velveeta cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Sweet paprika


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use cooking oil spray to grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and the non-shiny side of a large piece of aluminum foil, then place the dish on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the brown sugar, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and nutmeg in a medium bowl.

Place the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld mixer (or use a firm spoon); beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the whole milk, evaporated milk and eggs, beating on low speed to incorporate, until smooth.

Combine the cooked macaroni, the shredded sharp cheddar cheese and the Velveeta cubes in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter mixture and spice mixture, stirring gently to distribute and coat evenly. Transfer to the baking dish on the baking sheet. Cover tightly with the foil (sprayed side down). Bake (middle rack) for 30 minutes, uncover and stir the mixture, then recover and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes or until just set.

Uncover; scatter the mild cheddar evenly over the top, then sprinkle lightly with the paprika. Return to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until a crust forms on top. Serve warm.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from food historian Michael Twitty.

Tested by Kara Elder.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 610

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 41g 63%

Saturated Fat: 25g 125%

Cholesterol: 175mg 58%

Sodium: 860mg 36%

Total Carbohydrates: 38g 13%

Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%

Sugar: 9g

Protein: 22g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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