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Baked mac and cheese with tomatoes

The best grilled cheese you’ve ever had runs head-long into your tomato soup and BOOM. You get baked mac and cheese with tomatoes. One of the best comfort foods (and the maybe the best macaroni and cheese) gets yet another transformation into this southern classic. 

baked mac and cheese with tomatoes in a skillet with a spoon taking out a scoop

A couple of years ago, a reader asked me if I had a recipe for macaroni and cheese with tomatoes. I thought she meant macaroni and tomatoes (minus the cheese) which I know well. But she was insistent that no–there was an actual real version of macaroni and cheese that had tomatoes in it and that it was pretty doggone amazing.

I had my doubts.

Until I made it for myself. And now I realize I might be a borderline hard-headed idiot for not making it sooner.

The secret is using stewed tomatoes. Write that down. STEWED. Not diced, not chili-ready, not with basil and oregano. Stewed tomatoes are so good on their own–they’ve been cooked down with celery, onion and seasonings and have a slow-cooked flavor straight out of the can. (You can make homemade stewed tomatoes, but who has time for that? Me. Either.)

They might be my new food love.

a skillet of mac and cheese with tomatoes with bread crumbs on top and two plates in the background

Make your baked mac and cheese with tomatoes in a large skillet and add your tomatoes as the sauce thickens (before you add the cheese) and bake it all up together. For something fresh, you could add some cooked chicken to the party for a one-dish dinner or some of your favorite vegetables like peas or broccoli.

And just try not to fall in love with those tomatoes. And the macaroni. And the cheese. And the crunchy bread crumbs…it’s just one more way to love something that’s already amazing.

Recipes to serve with your mac and cheese with tomatoes:

Try these other no-fail mac and cheeses recipes too:

Baked macaroni and cheese takes another amazing direction change into a blend of the best grilled cheese and tomato soup combined.

Baked mac and cheese with tomatoes

It's like a grilled cheese meets tomato soup in one big cozy pan of dinner wonderful. 
4.85 from 13 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Rachel Ballard

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 14- ounce can stewed tomatoes with the juice chopped
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup plain Panko bread crumbs optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Add the pasta and cook 2 minutes less than the package directs. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large oven-safe skillet (if you don't have a skillet that goes in the oven you can transfer your mac and cheese to a baking dish in a bit), melt the butter and add the flour.
  • Stir until the flour cooks and the raw flour flavor is gone--about a minute or so.
  • Add the milk, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat 5 minutes then add the tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens--another 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add the cheese and stir until it melts.
  • Add the pasta and stir.
  • If transferring to a baking dish, spray the dish with non-stick spray. If not, transfer your skillet to the oven and top with the bread crumbs if you are using them.
  • Bake until golden and bubbly--about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm.

Nutrition

Calories: 336kcal

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Recipe Rating




Lesley

Sunday 21st of February 2021

When my husband and I were dating, many moons ago, we used to go to a restaurant in downtown Boston named Slagle's, I used to order their macaroni and cheese, which had stewed or diced tomatoes in it. Their version was very good and very similar. I have been looking for a recipe for macaroni and cheese with tomatoes for some time. Thanks for putting this on the Web.

Rachel Ballard

Monday 22nd of February 2021

Wonderful Lesley! I love bringing back memories!

CJ

Saturday 16th of January 2021

We absolutely use stewed tomatoes. On top we put Smokey links or smoked pork chops. One of hubby’s favorites.

Jeanne Hodge

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

My mom used to make similar dish. When I pulled her recipe out it has been so used I couldn’t read part of it so I searched and found yours. It’s in oven now but am excited to try it. Can it be frozen? Not sure the two of us can eat it all in a timely fashion Thanks

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Eh...no I wouldn't freeze it after it's cooked. I think you'd be better off making the recipe in a half or quarter version even and eating it while it's fresh instead. --Rachel

Anne Dong

Monday 25th of May 2020

Delicious! We couldn't wait so we skipped the baking. I ended up adding another cup of macaroni, however, because it was like soup! I also sprinkled some Tony Chachere's on top because I love it. Thanks for a great, satisfying recipe.

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

Yes I'd say that was pretty soupy! The baking is important in this recipe to bring everything together but I'm glad you enjoyed it either way. --Rachel

Kim

Thursday 7th of May 2020

I loved the Baked Mac and Cheese and was excited to try my hand at the Baked Mac & Cheese with Tomatoes. Easy to prepare and most of the ingredients you will have on hand. I have made this recipe 4 additional times and it is super creamy and never fail to impress. Absolutely delicious!!! You cant resist getting seconds.

Rachel Ballard

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Gah I love this recipe too! I get fourths and fifths Kim! --Rachel