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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. 
4.89 from 17 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
Recipe Rating




Lauri J.

Wednesday 24th of November 2021

I make baked Mac and Cheese with tomatoes all the time. Reheating it is easy as long as you add a little milk or half and half before reheating it. Sooo good!

Paula

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

This was fantastic! I’ve made many versions of Mac and cheese and sometimes served the tomatoes on the side. This was the first with stewed tomatoes. Mixing it in before the cheese was genius! I didn’t have a can of stewed tomatoes so I made them which worked out perfect and the flavor like your tip mentioned made all the difference. Straight to Pinterest!!!! Will make again and again. I was even eating the leftovers cold lol not your kids Mac snd cheese!!!

Rachel Ballard

Friday 12th of November 2021

Yay Paula! That's wonderful. It's a favorite of mine as well. :) --Rachel

Sandy

Tuesday 19th of October 2021

Can you use oven roasted tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes? I'm going to try this recipe on the weekend. Sounds delicious

A

Thursday 25th of November 2021

@Sandy, It’s the stewed tomatoes that make this. Trust us all.

Paula

Tuesday 9th of November 2021

@Sandy, do the stewed so worth it!

Rachel Ballard

Thursday 21st of October 2021

They are different things of course, but yes Sandy I think that would be fine. --Rachel

Goldie

Tuesday 4th of May 2021

Delicious.Tasted like the one my mother used to make. I used shell pasta, diced tomatoes and added a little onion, garlic and oregano.

Nancy S

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

Can this be prepared ahead of time?

Rachel Ballard

Wednesday 14th of April 2021

You can do everything but bake it Nancy and refrigerate for up to two days before baking but I don't recommend baking then reheating--it's just not as good. --Rachel

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