Margarita Mac and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I have great memories of macaroni and cheese. As a kid, most of the time my mom served me the Kraft variety (which I still love…shh…), but on special occasions, my mom went all out and made homemade baked macaroni and cheese.  The recipe came from an old Betty Crocker cookbook and is still one of my favorite dishes that my mom makes. When I got married and moved out, my mom actually searched ebay to buy me the exact same Betty Crocker cookbook that she always cooked from, and macaroni and cheese was the very first recipe I made.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Of course, even the best recipes can be made just a little bit better. One of my husband’s favorite meals is margarita pizza – a thin crust pizza with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. We have it at least once a week when tomatoes are in season. The idea of combining the two recipes appealed to me – maragarita macaroni and cheese? Yum!

Of course I started with my beloved Betty Crocker recipe, but with a few alterations. I added some extra ingredients to give it a margarita pizza flavor, and played around with the best way to prepare it. The end result was warm cheesy macaroni combined with the wonderful flavors of tomato, basil and mozzarella. It was absolutely delicious. My husband agreed and proceeded to eat multiple servings. I think it’s safe to say that this recipe ranks right up there with my traditional favorite.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Margarita Mac and Cheese


6 to 7 ounces elbow macaroni
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil (or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, plus extra for serving)
2-3 cups mozzarella cheese
1 can diced tomatoes, drained.

For sauce:
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups milk


Pre-heat oven to 375. Cook macaroni as directed on the package. While macaroni is cooking, prepare the sauce.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, or until garlic is fragrant. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper and cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Set aside.

Drain pasta and mix with the drained diced tomatoes. Place half of the macaroni in an ungreased 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with half the salt, pepper, basil and cheese. Repeat with remaining macaroni, salt, pepper, basil and cheese. Pour sauce over macaroni. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve with fresh basil.

adapted from Betty Crocker

I was asked to create a recipe for the 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese blog with my own twist on macaroni and cheese. I was compensated for my ingredients and time, but all opinions are my own.

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  1. What a fabulous twist on mac and cheese! Like I need another reason to love it…

  2. I had no idea that mozzarella cheese could be used for mac n' cheese. Those additions all sound really good.

  3. I am bookmarking this one for sure!! I am a mac and cheese LOVER!! I love finding new ways to be creative with it too!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. When I saw the title, I thought this had something to do with the drink and not the Italian food theme. LOL. But this sounds delicious! Very comforting. I love fresh basil in anything.

  5. I love macaronis..! So this is totally great for me!! Thank you so much for this recipe!.. ~

  6. Megan this is gorgeous dish! Love your photos! Delicious!

  7. Great idea! I love margherita pizza too so I'm sure I would love this.

  8. Wonderful inspiration for remaking a classic. Think of how great it will be when you can make it during tomato season.

  9. I love homemade mac and cheese and yours looks amazing! I love the margherita twist too!

  10. What a great spin on an already amazing recipe!! This sound so decadent!

  11. That is most definitely a winning combination. YUM!!

  12. I think I bookmark mac and cheese recipes more often than any other type of recipe. They all look too good to pass up, this one included!

  13. I love this pizza version of the mac&cheese…wait…maybe it's because I'm Italian and I'm biased…but I truly thing it's a great addition of flavors 🙂

  14. LOVE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY and your tablecloth!! Love the light in your pics! Not sure how you're getting that great light…it's so dark here lately 🙁 boo!

  15. This sounds delish!! I'm printing to make asap!!:)

  16. Wow…great twist on a family favorite! Love it!

  17. This mac and cheese looks great – the tomatoes make it “light” right 😉 I ate so much mac and cheese when I was pregnant & let's just say that a lot of it came from a box. shhhh

  18. That sounds absolutely delicious. What great ideas you have. I am going to give this a try.

  19. Love this idea and mac 'n cheese of all varieties 🙂 Including the Velveeta kind ha.

  20. That sounds delicious! I've only made homemade mac & cheese once and it turned out kind of dry. Maybe it was the recipe?? I'll have to try this one to make sure…

  21. Macaroni & cheese is my most favorite food in the world no matter how it is made. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I can't wait to try it!

  22. My three favorite ingredients are basil, tomato, and mozzarella. I love getting ideas like this. What a great meal! I'm so excited! 🙂

  23. this sounds pretty good. i love margarita pizza and now to have this as a mac n cheese version sounds really tempting.

  24. I cant wait to try it. What is the serving size for this dish?

  25. Lovely recipe! I love basil and tomato… This mac and cheese sounds perfect.

  26. I'm loving all these mac n' cheese recipes I see floating around. This one looks so worth it to try!

  27. Perfectly pretty photos of a great comfort food! I love mac-c-cheese any way!

  28. I made this dish tnight and it was fantastic! Definately will be even better tmorrow! Thanks again for a new weekly favorite!

  29. I think I found what I'm making for dinner tonight 🙂

  30. Awesome mac n cheese recipes. The added tomatoes makes it extra special.

  31. Made this tonight for dinner and we loved it!! I added chicken to it to make it more of a main dish. Will definitely be making again!!

    I don't think I have commented before but I really enjoy your blog.

  32. Graci – I'm so glad you like this! Great idea to add chicken as well. Thanks for stopping back to let me know 🙂

  33. I just tried this out and it was amazing!!! I didn't have a can of tomatoes so I just picked a couple from the garden and it turned out great. So amazing how so much flavor can come from so little ingredients. Perfect. 😀

  34. Anonymous – So glad you liked it! Garden fresh tomatoes sound wonderful!

  35. This sounds so good! I think the pizza is Margherita and the cocktail is a margarita. 🙂

  36. This recipe was a winner! Thanks for sharing!

  37. holly – so glad you liked it! Thanks for letting me know!

  38. These look absolutely amazing! I can’t wait to try it out! You should definitely check out these cookies. They’re even healthy! So you can leave your guilt at the door! 😉

  39. THis is the first time I have made a recipe from your site, although I have bookmarked several! The mac and cheese is in the oven now and smells divine. I look forward to trying many of these recipes in the future!

  40. I made this dish this week and my family loved it! I am making it again to bring to a birthday lunch tomorrow at my SIL’s house. So yummy!

  41. Looks scrumptious – question did you use the entire can? I only see flecs of tomato? Thnx!

    • Yes, I used the whole can. I’m not sure why there aren’t that many in the spoonful I dished out, but they’re in there somewhere! 🙂

  42. I made this recipe tonight for the first time. And it was a huge hit! My only mistake was deciding to DOUBLE the recipe because I thought it might not be quite enough for everybody (blonde moment.) My husband and I had some friends over tonight for bible study and everyone loved it! Especially our friend’s 14 month old daughter who kept loudly humming “YUUUMMMMM” each and every time her dad would spoon her a bite. I also made the cranberry bliss bars for dessert … also a hit. Thanks!

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