Go Back
+ servings
Southern Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs
Print Pin
5 from 6 votes

Southern Baked Mac and Cheese with Breadcrumbs

This Southern baked mac and cheese has a gooey, cheesy sauce and pasta with a crisp crust of golden breadcrumbs on top for dinner in under 1 hour. Vegan + Gluten-Free options.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Keyword baked, casserole, cheese, classic, creamy, easy, food, homemade, indulge, lunch, mac + cheese, recipe, southern, vegetarian, weeknight meals
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea



  • 1 (16 oz.) box medium shells or elbow pasta
  • 6 Tbsps unsalted butter (You can also use salted butter, if desired; Just omit sea salt)
  • 3 Tbsps organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups Almond milk, room temp. (You can use whole milk, if desired)
  • 1 cup Smoked gouda cheese
  • 2 1/4 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 tsp finely-ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground yellow mustard


  • 2 cups breadcrumbs, homemade or store-bought (See Notes!)
  • 4 Tbsps unsalted butter, melted (You can also use slated butter, if desired)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika



  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a standard 9x13 baking dish with butter.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add shells or elbow pasta and cook according to packaging. Once cooked, drain, and lightly toss in olive oil (to prevent sticking together), cool and set aside.


  • In a large dutch pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat, add butter and let it melt. Once melted, add minced garlic sauté for a minute or so, until fragrant.
  • Whisk in the flour and seasonings until combined. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking frequently until lump-free, about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the smoked gouda, 2 cups mozzarella, mild cheddar, and Gruyere cheeses, stirring until fully melted and smooth, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the cooled shells or elbow pasta and stir together until well coated and combined.


  • In a small bowl, add in the melted butter, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, tossing them together until combined.
  • Scoop the macaroni-cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and top with additional 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese followed by the breadcrumbs, evenly spreading it out.
  • Bake on the center rack for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, the sides are bubbly, and the mac and cheese center has set. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
  • Bon Appetit!


  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and reheated when ready to serve.
  • HOMEMADE BREADCRUMBS: To make your own breadcrumbs, simply grind 1-2 cups of cubed bread into a food processor until finely chopped. Place crumbs onto a parchment lined baking sheet and spread out evenly. Bake for 5-6 minutes in the oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. Once brown + crisp, remove from oven and let cool. Continue recipe steps and store remaining breadcrumbs in a tightly sealed container. 
  • FLOUR: If you don’t want to use all-purpose flour, feel free to substitute with regular starch or arrowroot starch, tapioca flour, which all act as a thickening agent.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this Mac + Cheese vegan, simply substitute cheeses with dairy-free shreds and use vegan butter. Also, check out my Vegan Mac + Cheese recipe.
  • GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: To ensure that this recipe is GF, be sure to use GF-friendly pasta, breadcrumbs, and flour.