This mac and cheese recipe is famous and belongs to the one and only Patti Labelle. This baked macaroni and cheese is cheesy, seasoned, and delicious. Also known as “over the rainbow mac and cheese”, it’s a recipe that has been made and shared by many home cooks.
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Patti Labelle is a legend in the game when it comes to vocals but she’s also an amazing cook and baker. Having published many cookbooks, she’s chosen to share her recipes with the world. One recipe in particular that gets a lot of love is her famous mac and cheese recipe.
Patti’s recipe for baked macaroni and cheese uses the typical macaroni and cheese ingredients, like pasta, eggs, and cheese…but Patti’s recipe takes it to another level. She uses 4 kinds of cheese in addition to using Velveeta, a processed cheese product, that results in a creamy delicious sauce.
For this recipe, I stuck with Patti’s recipe for the most part with a few minor tweaks to the instructions. You can find Patti’s original recipe as published in her cookbook, Labelle Cuisine.
Ingredients for Patti’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Vegetable Oil – Patti adds this to the water while boiling the pasta. It’s likely that the noodles won’t stick together but I think this ingredient can be skipped.
- Elbow Macaroni – a traditional macaroni noodle used in many baked macaroni and cheese recipes.
- Butter – I used unsalted butter.
- Half-and-half – Patti uses half and half to create her creamy cheese sauce. I prefer heavy cream but half-and-half has less fat content.
- Velveeta Cheese – a processed cheese product that melts smoothly. It’s a way to get a smooth cheese sauce without making a traditional stove-top roux.
- Various cheeses – Specifically Muenster cheese, mild and sharp Cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. I use block cheese and then shred them on my own.
- Eggs – 2 large eggs that are used as a binder. Make sure these eggs are lightly beaten.
- Seasoning – Seasoned salt and black pepper are what Patti uses in her recipe.
How to make Patti Labelle’s Mac and Cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set it aside.
Gather all your ingredients. If using block cheese, shred the Muenster cheese, Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey jack cheese with a food grater or food processor. Combine the cheeses in a large bowl. Cut the Velvetta cheese into cubes with a knife. Melt the butter. Set aside.
Then prepare your elbow macaroni.
Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook according to directions on the box, about 8 minutes for al-dente noodles. Drain the noodles and add the drained noodles to a large bowl.
While the noodles are still hot, add melted butter to the noodles and stir.
Then add the half-and-half, eggs, half the shredded cheese, all of the Velveeta cheese, the seasoned salt and pepper, and stir to fully combined.
Pour this noodles mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are bubbling.
Remove and serve hot.
What’s the best pasta to use?
Elbow macaroni is the best and most cost-friendly pasta to use with this recipe. It’s thick and hearty enough to hold a cheese sauce. You can use other short kinds of pasta like cavatappi, fusilli, or even penne.
Can you make it ahead of time?
This recipe makes enough for eight servings and the leftovers, if there are any, taste amazing. Let the pasta cool before covering and refrigerating and it will keep well for up to 4 days. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes or till warmed through.
If you would like to prep the mac and cheese, make the recipe as instructed but allow the cheese mixture to cool slightly before adding it to the pasta. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate for up to 2 days before baking.
You could also use the leftovers and make delicious fried mac and cheese balls.
Can you freeze it?
Yes, you can freeze mac and cheese. Allow the mac and cheese to cool, cover and seal tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, bake from frozen by placing the mac and cheese in a preheated oven of 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook until heated through about 1.5-2 hours for a large 9×13 baking pan.
Suggested Modifications to Patti Labelle’s Mac and Cheese
Although this recipe is delicious as is, you can modify it a bit to make it your own. Try the following:
- Increase the amount of cheese!! If you like the ultimate cheesy recipe, try this adaptation of Patti’s baked macaroni and cheese.
- Sub the seasoned salt with creole seasoning, jerk seasoning, or cajun seasoning.
- Add protein like chicken or seafood.
- Add a breadcrumb topping for a little crunch.
There you have it, Patti Labelle’s famous mac and cheese recipe for you to try in your own home. Enjoy.
Other Patti Labelle Recipes you may Love:
Patti Labelle’s Mac and Cheese Recipe
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ½ cup 2 ounces shredded Muenster cheese
- ½ cup 2 ounces shredded mild Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup 2 ounces shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- ½ cup 2 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 large eggs lightly beaten
- 1 cup 8 ounces Velveeta, cut into small cubes
- ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×13 baking pan and set it aside.
- Combine Muenster, Cheddar cheeses, and Monterey jack in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Then prepare your elbow macaroni.
- Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook according to directions on the box, about 8 minutes for al-dente noodles. Drain the noodles and add the drained noodles to a large bowl.
- Pour melted butter over the noodles and stir into the macaroni.
- Then add the half-and-half, eggs, half the shredded cheese, all of the Velveeta cheese, the seasoned salt, and pepper to the noodles, and stir to fully combined.
- Pour this mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese mixture.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the edges are bubbling. Serve hot and enjoy.
- I prefer to use block cheese and shred it myself rather than using pre-shredded cheese. Preshedded cheese generally has a caking agent that can interfere with creating a smooth sauce.
- Check on the macaroni around the 25-minute mark. If it’s hot and bubbling around the edges, take it out. Overcooking the macaroni and cheese can result in dry macaroni.