What’s Cookin’ – Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni & Cheese

My kids loved macaroni and cheese growing up.  Not homemade mac & cheese, mind you. The stuff in the little blue boxes.  With the fake, orange powdered “cheese”.  Ugh.

I tell my kids that someday they will appreciate the fact that I did not cook for them out of cans and boxes.

The only reason we ever had the boxed mac & cheese is because once they had it at a friend’s house, they were hooked.  The same with white bread.  Once my oldest daughter had a “taste” of white Wonder bread, she would never eat the whole grain stuff that I bought again.

So, I bought the blue boxes of mac & cheese, but I rarely prepared it for them.  If they wanted it, then they made it for themselves.  It did come in handy as an after school snack when I was working or for dinner when I had a meeting or for a late night meal if they were still hungry after dinnertime (as growing kids can get from time to time).

Last December, I went to Sweetie Pie’s at the Mangrove, a soul food restaurant in St. Louis, with some friends from high school and had some of the best mac & cheese I have ever eaten.  This restaurant along with the owner, Miss Robbie, were featured on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives (here), and it was there that she shared her recipe for mac & cheese.

If you Google Sweetie Pie’s Mac & Cheese recipe, you will get about 5,000 hits and all of the recipes are identical, but one post that I read noted that if you watch the Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives video, Miss Robbie adds sour cream to her mac & cheese.  So I have taken the recipe posted by many others and added a “dollop” of sour cream and shared it below.

Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni & Cheese ingredients.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Prepare the pan by coating with cooking spray, boil the macaroni until tender, drain, and pour into the pan.

Note on the pan:  The recipes that I read say simply to use a 9×13 pan.  Well, if you use your standard 9×13 pan, it will not be deep enough.  I bought a deep sided, disposable aluminum pan, and it was large enough to hold all of the ingredients and to allow enough space to stir them as well.

Combine the rest of the ingredients with the exception of the cheese for the topping in a large bowl.

Miss Robbie simply pours the liquids, add the chunks of butter and Velveeta, grated cheeses, and seasonings directly onto the macaroni and then stirs it all together in the pan.  I chose to mix them in a large bowl and pour this mixture over the macaroni before stirring to combine.

After pouring the mixture over the cooked macaroni, stir well to combine and top with the one cup of shredded mild Cheddar cheese.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes or until the top is lightly golden brown.

Served with your favorite foods.

Yummy.

Final note – This is not an everyday side dish.  It is rich, and one batch makes enough to feed a large crowd.  The recipes stated “feeds 12″ but we had 12 for dinner and only half the pan was eaten so, depending on your main entrée and other side dishes, I think you can easily count on this feeding up to 24 people.

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74 Responses to What’s Cookin’ – Sweetie Pie’s Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Martha says:

    That is neat! I didn’t know she was on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Know wonder the place is alsways packed. I may have to cut the recipe in half when I make it.

    • Mama says:

      The recipe is already half of the size she makes in the restaurant! A really good recipe for a summer BBQ crowd!

      Mama

      • Kimberly Runyon says:

        Question to Mama. I saw this episode. Was amazing and want to make it, but want to bring it to work for a party. We have a microwave, but I can’t put the pan in it. Do you think that after I bake it, I can take it to work in a crock pot and warm it the next day? If not I have Trisha Yearwood’s recipe for crockpot mac and cheese which was great, but i wanted to impress them at work with this recipe.

        • Mama says:

          I would make the crockpot version if you don’t have access to an oven and serve it right away. Also, I know a lot of people omit one stick of butter successfully. It is a very rich recipe, but the sour cream adds that bit of tang that really puts it over the top. Maybe add a little to Trisha’s recipe which looks fabulous, too!

          Mama

  2. Mary Quick says:

    There will be a large crowd at my home in June, so this will be a great dish to make. Having left overs will be a bonus! Thanks.

    • Mama says:

      This recipe is very rich – I will be interested in seeing if the kids like it. I was surprised by how well it reheated in the microwave.

      Mama

  3. karen marchetto says:

    when i made it, it was way too rich. i like my mom’s recipe alot better. hers was so much better at the resturant.

    • Mama says:

      Yes it is very rich. I thought it was just as good at home even though her crust was a little crispier on top. My kids also like the Panera Bread Company white mac & cheese. I might have to try and find a knock off of that recipe, too.

      Mama

  4. Marlene says:

    I checked out all the other recipes and noticed the sour cream was missing. Thank you for correcting and I can’t wait to make it (and freeze in four separate containers).

    • Mama says:

      Yes, if you saw Guy Fieri’s episode on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, she added sour cream which one of the recipes that I found mentioned. You Tube took that video down, but not before I saw it!

      Mama

      • Gary says:

        Making this recipe tonight along with Crock Pot BBQ Pork Steaks, yum!
        I just watched the video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/Pbam7LPHRfY and it’s also on the Food Network. Boy, I’m gettin hungry.

        • Mama says:

          I have several homemade mac and cheese recipes and this is one of the best. The secret ingredient, I think, is the sour cream. Thanks for visiting and hope you enjoy the recipe!

          Mama

          • Jazzy j says:

            Would like to know about your other Mac & cheese
            Recipes

          • Mama says:

            Well, I like many that come across my desk. Alton Brown has a boxed knock-off version that my daughter made and liked. It’s an easy one for during the week and a quick meal. I’ll have to make some and share.

            Have you made the Sweetie Pie’s version? I made a large batch for a party and had about 1/2 a pan leftover. One of my guests loved it so much that I let him take it home, and I heard he ate the whole rest of the pan!

            Comfort food, shared with family and friends – there is nothing better!

            Mama

  5. Kathy says:

    Made this tonight especting a terrific mac and cheese and I got a curdled mess.

  6. Gary says:

    I made the recipe & it was ok. I’ve also made Alton Brown’s stove top recipe numerous & it is quick, delicious & tastes alot like what my mom use to make with I was young.

    • Mama says:

      Mac & Cheese is one of those recipes that people seem to have very different opinions on how it should look and taste which is the case with most comfort foods. I like to try different version with different cheeses and cheese combinations and try to appreciate them all.

      Mama

  7. Tasha says:

    Hey…I watched the diners and drive in episode and she just poured “some” milk…where is everyone getting the evaporated milk from?

  8. Lisa says:

    I agree, she didn’t use evaporated milk. Using evaporated milk would definitely make the dish even richer, but in the video she only adds regular milk…so I’m also wondering why your recipe calls for evaporated milk – was that part missing in the video I just watched??? Thanks for any clarification!

    • Mama says:

      Lisa,

      Thanks for visiting, reading, and posting. As I said in the post, I used the recipe that many others had posted previously and noted, like one other person, that she also added sour cream in the DDD episode so I added that, too. Since I live in the St. Louis area, I have been to Sweetie Pie’s and the recipe is just like what she serves in the restaurant. Hope you saw my fun post of my visit to the restaurant with some friends from high school. I got a picture with Miss Robbie and we were there on a day they were taping her show for OWN! We had to sign a release in case they used footage from when we were there, but I haven’t seen an episode with us in it yet. She is a really sweet person and was very accommodating to us. One of my friends had made some White Chocolate Party Mix (recipe is also on my site) to share and gave some to them. They were thrilled. My friend later took a batch into her and shared my post. They were so sweet about it!

      Anyway, hope you enjoy the recipe and my blog!

      Mama

    • carlo says:

      if you look at the video closely she added the evaporated milk into the noodles from a pitcher and then the regular whole milk from a jug…Look again!!!

  9. Iris says:

    Mama,

    Thanks for sharing this recipe and adapting it to the perfect proportions for the average household or Thanksgiving dinner. The ingredients are almost identical to what I use in my own mac-n-cheese with the exception of the sour cream.

    I don’t know if I will go with just the cheeses listed in this recipe or use the blend of cheeses I normally use. When I make mac-n-cheese, in addition to 1/2 loaf of Velvetta cheese, I use the “Fiesta” blend cheeses which I purchase in a bag from Walmart. The 32oz bag of Fiesta Blend Cheeses I use is a combination of shredded Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Queso Quesadilla and Asadero Cheese. I top it off with freshly grated mild Cheddar Cheese.

    I came across a recipe shared on television that used: Velveeta Cheese, Gruyere, Mozzarella, Colby-Monterrey Jack, and Sharp Cheddar. The Gruyere cheese is not a cheese carried in most of the supermarkets I visit. I have not made any special effort to find it but I am very curious about how it will taste, along with the other cheeses, in a mac-n-cheese dish.

    Mama, I’m glad you added the sour cream to this recipe because the other few copy cat recipes I initially came across this evening were missing that very important ingredient. A 1/2 cup of sour cream seems about the right amount for 12 servings.

    In regards to the various milks, I always use 2 cans of evaporated milk along with some whole milk in my homemade mac-n-cheese because I prefer the taste. Besides, whose to say Ms. Robbie did not use evaporated milk but had it edited out of the footage to protect her recipe?!?!?

    A lot of the restaurants will mention that they use secret ingredients OR they will show you all the ingredients they use but not give you the proportions, exact measurements, baking temperature or baking time to protect their recipes.

    With that being said, I’m sure glad Ms. Robbie let us see her put those heaping spoonfuls of sour cream in there, though! I never would have thought of using sour cream otherwise.

    I love watching “Sweetie Pie’s” on OWN and I will be looking for your face when i watch upcoming episodes!!!!

    In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    Iris

    • Mama says:

      Iris,

      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! What I have found with Mac & Cheese recipes is that people have widely varying preferences with regard to which ones they prefer, and I, too, loved the idea of adding sour cream when I saw it in the DDD episode. It adds a nice tang to the final product! Gruyere is an awesome cheese – it melts really well, but it is expensive. I have found it in my local food warehouse and shred and freeze it in 2 cup increments. I rarely use pre-shredded cheeses because there is usually cornstarch or other additives to keep the shreds from sticking, and I find it works better if I shred my own.

      I hope we end up on an episode of Sweetie Pie’s, but, in the end it doesn’t matter because we had a great time at Miss Robbie’s restaurant, and Miss Robbie was a real sweetheart.

      Come back and visit my site!

      Mama

  10. keith says:

    I split the recipe in half, used White Vermont Cheddar! It was probably the best Mac & Cheese I have ever ate.

  11. Mary Slack says:

    You have to keep your eye on the screen when watching the video from DDD. Just before the whole milk Miss Robbie poured in the evaporated milk out of a pitcher. It was going so fast that it is easy to miss it. So your recipe is right on point.

    • Mama says:

      Thanks for the feedback! Hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do – we’re having a ham with mac & cheese as a side dish for Christmas Day dinner.

      Mama

  12. Missylayne says:

    I saw the video also and she also used 5 eggs. I know that a lot of people are complaining about the recipe, but the video is still being shown and I just watched it again. Write down what she is , saying and don’t watch the video. There are a lot of ingredients and she doesn’t mention how much she used with each one.

  13. KAC Momma says:

    I made a half pan for this and it was great. However, it was really buttery. I used 1 stick. I’m going to make this for a party and make the whole recipe. Did anyone else have problems with the butter? I’m trying to decide if I should just use 1 stick or go by the recipe of 4 sticks. I just kinda eyeballed the elbows for the half pan I made and used 1 stick. I might not have made enough pasta for it. Any suggestions?

    • Mama says:

      The entire batch turns out really buttery, too. I stir mine partway through cooking and then let it brown on top.

      Mama

    • Carolyn says:

      The recipe calls for 1 cup butter. That is 2 sticks, isn’t it?

      • Mama says:

        Yes, each stick of butter is 8 tablespoons and 1/2 a cup. Many people make this recipe using only one stick of butter successfully. Just remember to use whole milk products versus no or low fat versions since the dish needs the fats to bind everything together!

        Mama

  14. KAC Momma says:

    Do you think it would still taste good just using one stick?

    • Mama says:

      Remember it is the fats that help to bind the ingredients together. I think so long as you are using evaporated milk, whole milk, and regular sour cream, it should be okay to eliminate some butter. I’ve heard from several other people who have substituted other cheeses (like white Vermont cheddar) and that would be fun to try, too. I made a whole batch for a party and had part of a pan leftover (I use the disposable pans for parties). I gave the leftovers to one of the people who LOVED it, and apparently he ate the rest of the pan on the way home in the car.

      Mama

  15. Jeff Faries says:

    Can you make this recipe the night before an event and then combine and cook it the next day?? I am worried that the ingredients would not combine correctly. Thank You Jeff F

    • Mama says:

      I think it would be safe to grate the cheese and combine those ingredients, but I would wait to cook the pasta and combine until ready to put into the oven. One thing that I usually do is to stir it about halfway through cooking, but then let the top get crispy. Super rich and yummy!

      Mama

  16. DARLENE says:

    I WAS WONDERING. CAN YOU USE REGULAR BUTTER INSTEAD OF THE STICK BUTTER?

  17. I just made this recipe and it is delicious. I am having my sons and grandsons over for Father’s Day,and I know they will love it. I only used one stick of butter and it turned out great

  18. Shay says:

    I made this mac n cheese for my daughters birthday party . I omit the pepper and salt. Everyone loved it, this mac and cheese was so good ,Thanks!

  19. Jess says:

    This looks amazing Mama! I am making this for my boyfriend’s birthday party next month, do you think I could use regular pepper instead of white or is it essential? I read some reviews on another copy kat recipe for Sweetie Pie’s Mac and Cheese and a lot of people said the white pepper tastes strange, I have never tried it so I have no idea. Also, for the deep dish foil pan, what were the dimensions? I want to make sure I buy one big enough. Thanks so much!

    • Mama says:

      Many people (including Bobby Flay) dislike white pepper and use black instead (unless you’re Anne Burrell who doesn’t like using pepper at all). I know that some people only use one stick of butter successfully, but make sure you use whole milk because you need the fats to bind it together. I made a batch for a family get together and one of the guests loved it so much I gave him the rest of the pan to take home. I heard that he finished it off in the car! I used the large, extra deep lasagna foil pan and put it onto a sheet pan to put it into the oven to make it easier to handle.

      Good luck!

      Mama

  20. Kim says:

    I am making this dish for the football team. Can I make it a day ahead of time?

  21. The mac and cheese I like is Paula Deens – from her “The Lady and Sons” cookbook. It has eggs, and sour cream, and I’m sure you could substitute other cheeses, if you wanted more than the cheddar taste. I like the custard-ee taste of the eggs combined with the cheese. This sounds good too, but sooooo much . . .

    • Mama says:

      I like that one, too. You’re right – Sweetie Pie’s recipe makes a huge batch which is perfect for a large gathering. Alton Brown has a good one, too. I really like trying different versions, but many people like a specific taste for their homemade mac & cheese.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Mama

  22. Jeff says:

    I made this recipe way back in the spring for our Easter dinner. By mistake I put in 1cup of sour cream instead of 1/2 cup. Made the mac n cheese very creamy which many people liked. I did too, I was raised on creamy mac n cheese so that might be why.

  23. Dai says:

    Thanks for posting this tutorial! I’m going to make this for Thanksgiving.

    1. I’ve never used sugar in my macaroni and cheese, do you know how this affects the mac n cheese?

    2. Did you use pre -shredded cheeses? Or did you shred them all on your own ?

    Thanks !

    • Mama says:

      I just followed the recipe. I know many others who have used less butter or different cheeses with success, but remember to use whole milk products as it is the fats that bind the mixture together. As far as shredding cheese – I shred all of mine. The pre-shredded stuff includes other ingredients that, in my opinion, affect the taste and could alter the recipe.

      Thanks for visiting and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      Mama

  24. Jennifet says:

    If I make it in the crockpot would I use all the ingredients

    • Mama says:

      I would never make mac and cheese in the crockpot. I would use a recipe designed to be made in the crockpot. There are several out there.

      Mama

      • Jennifer says:

        I made it in the crockpot and brought it to a family dinner and it was awesome everyone ate it all coming back for seconds and thirds

        • Mama says:

          Thank you for sharing that information! I worry about pasta in the crockpot being soggy so really appreciate you sharing your experience!

          Mama

  25. CeCe says:

    Do you think it would alter the taste at all if you add a little ground mustard powder? I’ve always added a little mustard to my Mac n Cheese (which my husband really loves) and want to try this recipe but dont know how the ground mustard will affect it..

  26. Faahioncat says:

    Was at Sweetie Pies last weekend. The Mac and cheese is divine. Thanks for the sour cream tip

    • Mama says:

      Glad you enjoyed Sweetie Pie’s and the recipe! I was at the restaurant one time when they were actually filming their show for OWN.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Mama

  27. Linda says:

    Only 1 pound of macaroni will feed 12-24 people in this recipe ?

    • Mama says:

      This is what I stated in my post, based on my experience serving this dish:

      Final note – This is not an everyday side dish. It is rich, and one batch makes enough to feed a large crowd. The recipes stated “feeds 12″ but we had 12 for dinner and only half the pan was eaten so, depending on your main entrée and other side dishes, I think you can easily count on this feeding up to 24 people.

      If you read how many servings a one pound box of pasta serves, most say “serves 8″. This dish is so full of other, rich ingredients that it will easily serve more than 8 and, again, depending on how many other side dishes you have, it will serve more.

      Try it and let me know what you think! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

      Mama

  28. Lori says:

    Ground mustard will only enhanced the flavor of the cheese

  29. Heather says:

    Why is it when I make this dish it comes out sitting in a pool of greasy butter? Am I the only one this happens to? Am I doing something wrong? Am I not mixing it enough or not leaving it in the oven long enough? How do I keep this from happening? It tastes great, but I would love to alleviate that happening. Any help or suggestions? Thanks!

    • Mama says:

      Are you using whole milk? You need the fat to help bind the ingredients together. Also, someone else posted that they use less butter successfully. When I make it, I sometimes give it a stir partway through baking, but let it bake long enough to get that nice crusty top and edges (which are my favorite parts). Another thought – are you using a large enough pan? I think you need the surface area to make properly. No matter what, it is very rich!

      Thanks for commenting and visiting!

      Mama

      • Heather says:

        Thank you! I am using whole milk, but I think I will try using a larger pan, stirring it part way through and leaving it longer for that crusty top and edges. Thank you for the advise!!

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