This beginner friendly, Midwest-style Deep Dish Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole is packed with a dream team of cheeses – cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. Each bite is a symphony of creamy cheesiness, with the pasta taking a luscious dive in a pool of melted, gooey cheese. And the best part? There’s no flour, no roux, which makes the prep easier than deciding what to binge-watch Netflix.

Need Help With A Meal Plan?

Listen! If you’re about to holler “SOS” in the kitchen because you need a quick and easy meal plan, I’m your girl! Here are some oh-so-tasty dishes that will round out your meal and complement this yummy mac and cheese casserole like they were made for each other.

  1. Entree: Roast Chicken – Seasoned to perfection this juicy chicken roasts until tenderness until tender on the inside with a crispy skin.
  2. Veg: Candied Brussel Sprouts – Glazed with a little brown sugar, these babies become a sweet, savory delight that perfectly complements the savory richness of our star casserole.
  3. Drink: Strawberry Raspberry Sweet Tea – The strawberries and raspberries give it a delightful fruity twist that’s as refreshing as a summer breeze.

The Easiest Rouxless Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole

You know how we all have that one dish from our childhood that just feels like a warm hug? The one that never fails to bring a smile to your face, no matter what kind of day you’re having? Well for me, that’s my Momma’s Deep Dish Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole.

Listen, I’m about to put you on. When I say this dish is the real MVP of our family gatherings, its not an exaggeration! This baked mac and cheese casserole has won the hearts of even the pickiest eaters. It’s no surprise though, this casserole is cheesy AF with Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Mozzarella, and cottage cheese all swimming together with tender macaroni, topped with a crispy layer of golden-brown deliciousness.

Despite being far from a Susie Homemaker, my momma knew how to whip up some hittas in the kitchen. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, she was a whiz at that Midwest-style, semi-homemade pantry cooking. No need for fancy roux or bechamel – this casserole is the epitome of delicious simplicity.

So, if you’re looking for that dish to wow your loved ones during holidays, or just in the mood for some soulful comfort food, this baked mac and cheese recipe is your answer. I promise, you’re about to be obsessed – obsessed just ain’t the word!

Key Ingredients

  • Jumbo Elbow Noodles (macaroni noodles) – This ain’t no time for small noodles. We need our jumbo elbow macaroni to act like little buckets carrying that cheesy goodness inside and out, saturating every single bite with flavor.
  • Eggs – Get those eggs whipped up like they’re in a frenzy. They’re our secret binding agent that holds this cheesy spectacle together, creating a casserole that slices as neatly as butter.
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and Mozzarella – Our three cheese maestros! Together they create a melty, stretchy, and mouthwateringly ooey-gooey cheesy experience. Ain’t no pre-shredded cheese touching this masterpiece!
  • Unsalted Butter – Keeps the noodles from sticking and ensuring the cheesy sauce gets into every nook and cranny.
  • Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, and Cayenne Pepper – Our flavor artillery! These spices pack a punch, creating a flavor profile that is so much more than just cheese and noodles.
  • Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream – This, my friends, isn’t just soup; it’s the concrete foundation of creaminess in our casserole.
  • Cheese Soup or Cream of Mushroom – Consider this the turbo-boost to our flavor ride. It elevates our casserole from “This is good” to “Oooeee, pass me another helping!”
  • Milk – Just a smidge to keep everything silky and velvety.

How To Make Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole Recipe

Complete, step-by-step instructions are available down below in the recipe card.

  1. Kick-off the heat party – Start by cranking up your oven to 350 degrees. Brush a generous helping of melted butter to prepared baking dish to prevent sticking.
2. Butter ’em up – After boiling & straining, toss in the butter and 1/3 of the shredded and give it a good stir. The residual heat from the noodles will melt butter and cheese as you stir.
3. Custard Time – In a separate bowl, mix up the sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese soup, milk, and all those flavor-packed seasonings. Pour this over your pasta and mix it up good, so every noodle is slathered in creamy, cheesy goodness.
4. Layer it up – Grab your generously greased 9×13 baking dish and pour in half your pasta mix. Layer it with half your remaining cheeses (but keep half in reserve!). Add the rest of your pasta on top and sprinkle with the last of your remaining cheese.
5. Bake, baby, bake – Cover your dish with foil and slide it into the oven for about 30 minutes. After that, crank the heat up to 475, remove the foil and let it bake for another 5-10 minutes or until it’s bubbling and golden brown.

Baked Mac and Cheese Sauce

This homemade cheese sauce, my friends, is the unsung hero of our casserole and, dare I say, the reason it’s so irresistibly delicious. You might be thinking, “Oh no, is this going to be a complicated roux or béchamel situation?” Not at all! Let’s leave the roux and flour for another day. This sauce is simplicity at its finest and yet it brings so much to the table.

Without the usual roux or flour to thicken it up, you might be wondering how this sauce manages to hold its own. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. It’s all about the clever use of our ingredients. The cottage cheese, sour cream, and our selection of robust cheeses create a thick and decadent sauce that will not only bind our casserole together but will make each bite a cheesy wonderland.

The sharp cheddar brings that traditional flavor, the pepper jack brings a slight kick of spice, and the mozzarella adds that beautiful, creamy meltiness we all crave in a mac and cheese. Each one is distinctive, yet they blend together to create a sauce that’s gloriously rich and bursting with depth.

Meiko’s Recipe Tips For Success

  • Perfect Pasta Matters: Aim for al dente when cooking your pasta – it’s going to continue to cook in the oven, and we want to avoid any mushy macaroni disasters.
  • Flavor Starts with the Water: Don’t forget to salt your pasta water. It’s like giving your pasta a head start on flavor, and trust me, it makes a noticeable difference.
  • Hand-Shred Your Cheese: Yes, it’s a bit more effort, but ditch the pre-shredded stuff for this one. Hand-shredded cheese melts into a dreamy, creamy pool, while pre-shredded cheese, with its anti-clumping additives, just doesn’t behave the same way.
  • Embrace Room Temperature Liquids: When preparing your sauce, remember that room temperature liquids cooperate better and thicken quicker. So, if possible, let your milk and other cold ingredients sit out a bit while you’re prepping.
  • Keep an Eye on the Clock: Overbaking is the foe of fabulous mac and cheese. This isn’t the time to put your feet up and forget – stay alert to the timer and catch your casserole at its golden-brown, bubbling best.

Make Ahead, Storage, & Reheating Recommendations

  • To Make-Ahead: If you’ve got a busy day ahead or you’re managing a big festive spread, feel free to assemble this casserole ahead of time. Whip it all up, follow all the steps, but hold off on the final bake. Park it in the fridge, covered tightly, and simply bake it the next day when you’re ready.
  • If you’ve made your casserole in advance, remember to let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before it hits the oven. This ensures an even bake and a perfectly creamy macaroni and cheese casserole.
  • To Store: If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge. You can savor them for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat: Cover leftover mac with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and give it another 10 minutes until it’s bubbling and irresistible again. Or for a quick fix, transfer a portion to a microwave-safe dish, cover it, and heat on medium power for about 2-3 minutes. Stir and check for heat, then continue heating in 1-minute intervals until thoroughly warmed.
  • To Freeze: This casserole is as freezer-friendly as they come. You can freeze the whole casserole or individual portions for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.

Frequently Asked Recipe Questions

Can I whip up this Mac and Cheese Casserole ahead of time?
Sure can! Fix it up, cover it snug with some foil or plastic wrap, and stash it in the fridge. It’ll hold tight for about 2 days. Just let it shake off the chill to room temperature, yank off the wrap, and bake it when you’re good to go.

What’s the best cheese for homemade baked mac?
Cheddar is always a winner, but this recipe takes it up a notch with a cheese mixture of sharp cheddar, pepper jack, and mozarella. But honestly, it all comes down to personal preference. Here are a few others you can mix and match:

  • Sharp Cheddar: This is a classic, honey. It’s got a robust, full-bodied flavor that makes your mac and cheese memorable.
  • Whole Milk Mozzarella: Adds a creamy, mild taste and creates those mouth-watering cheese pull moments.
  • Smoked Gouda: This one’s for when you want to add a touch of smokiness to your mac.
  • Gruyere: Fancy a nutty, slightly sweet flavor? Gruyere’s your go-to.
  • Monterey Jack: Perfect when you’re craving something mild and melty.
  • Pepper Jack: Gives your mac a little kick with a spicy twist.
  • Butterkase: This ‘Butter Cheese’ is super creamy and mild, making your mac extra lush.
  • Oaxaca: Think of it as the Mexican mozzarella. It’s mild, buttery and melts like a dream.
  • Parmesan / Parmigiano-Reggiano: A sprinkle of this hard cheese offers a lovely salty tang to your dish.
  • Fontina cheese: It’s mild, and has a slightly nutty flavor that melts beautifully into a creamy dream.
  • Raclette: This Swiss darling has a unique nutty flavor and melts like a dream.
  • Smoked Cheddar: It’s got that classic cheddar sharpness we all love, but with a smoky edge that’ll make your baked macaroni taste like it spent hours on the grill.
  • Cream Cheese: Cream cheese might seem a bit out-of-left-field, but trust me, it brings a velvety texture and a hint of tanginess to the party.

Can I sub in a different pasta?
You bet! Feel free to swap out for any short-shaped pasta – penne, ziti, shells, or rotini would all love to take a dip in that creamy cheese sauce!

Should I rinse the pasta?
I opinion is it depends. If you are making the dish right away I don’t think you need to rinse. But if your past is going to be sitting for awhile before you dive into the homemade mac and cheese then give those noodles a cold rinse to cool the pasta down so it won’t overcook.

Can I use pre-shredded cheese?
Well, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Pre-shredded cheese is often coated in starch to keep it from clumping, which can make it a little stubborn when it comes to melting. Plus, nothing beats the flavor of freshly shredded cheese.

How can I spice up this casserole?
Want to turn up the heat? Feel free to add a pinch of onion powder, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper flakes, or even a dash of Buffalo sauce. Spice it up to your heart’s content!

More Holiday Recipes To Enjoy

Now It’s Your Turn

Well, y’all, the stage is set and it’s your time to shine with this best baked macaroni & cheese casserole. What’s the magic? It’s all in that cheese flavor, melting and mingling together in a harmony of deliciousness. no complicated roux or flour fuss to slow you down. With pasta cooked to perfection and a bounty of bubbling cheese, you’re on the fast track to comfort food paradise. And hey, don’t be a stranger – drop me a line in the comments, rate the recipe, and if you really wanna make my day, show off your culinary masterpiece on social media by tagging @meikoandthedish. I can’t wait to see your takes on Momma’s deep dish masterpiece!

Momma’s Deep Dish Baked Mac & Cheese Casserole (no roux)

Author: Meiko Temple
This Midwest-style Deep Dish Baked Mac and Cheese Casserole is the diva of casseroles, packed with a dream team of cheeses – cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella, and cottage cheese. Each bite is a symphony of creaminess, with the pasta taking a luscious dive in a pool of melted, gooey cheese. And the best part? There's no flour, no roux, which makes the prep easier than deciding what to binge-watch netflix.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 419 kcal


  • Large Pot
  • Strainer
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Large Bowl
  • Whisk
  • Pyrex – 9×13 inch
  • Aluminum Foil


Spice Blend

  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mac & Cheese Casserole

  • 16 oz large elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 12 oz block of cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
  • 8 oz block of pepper jack cheese, freshly shredded
  • 8 oz block of mozzarella cheese, freshly shredded
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 (10.5 oz) can cheese soup
  • 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk


  • Preheat oven 350°F degrees. Generously grease a 9×13 baking pan or pyrex.

Prepare Elbow Noodles

  • Fill a large stock pot half way full and place over high heat to bring water to a boil. Add large elbow noodles and salt and boil, partially covered with a lid for 7 minutes.
  • Pour pasta into strainer to remove water then add the past back to the warm pot (off the heat). Let the residual heat from the pot steam out any excess water off the noodles.
  • Add in butter to the pot and stir. The residual heat melt the butter until it is completely dissolved and has coated all the pasta.

Make Seasoning Blend

  • In a small bowl whisk together all the seasonings and set aside.

Add Cheese

  • In a medium bowl mix together all the shredded cheeses. Add 1/3 of the cheese blend to the warm pot and stir to help the cheese begin to melt. Set the remaining 2/3 of the cheese blend to the side.

Make Custard

  • In a separate medium bowl stir together sour cream, cottage cheese, cheese soup, evaporated milk, eggs and the seasoning blend until well combined. Add the custard mixture to the pot of noodles and stir until they are fully coated.

Assemble/Layer Mac & Cheese Casserole

  • Pour in half of the pasta mixture to the prepared baking pan. Top with half of your remaining shredded cheese. Add next layer of the remaining pasta mixture and smooth out the top. Evenly sprinkle the top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake it for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, increase the oven temperature to 475°F degrees, remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until the cheese bubbles start to turn golden brown. Watch the oven closely to prevent burning. Rest for 10 minutes and serve warm!


I recommend that you purchase block cheese and shred it yourself. Pre-shredded cheeses tend to have a flour coating that prevents melting.


Serving: 15gCalories: 419kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 20gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 1121mgPotassium: 246mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 811IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 448mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Baked Mac And Cheese Recipe, Holiday
did you make this recipe???Tell me all about it! And tag @meikoandthedish with hashtag on Instagram – I’d love to see what you make!

Similar Posts

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.