Horn and Hardart Mac and Cheese

Horn and Hardart mac and cheese with tomatoes is a delicious twist to a classic dish. The juicy tomatoes add a tangy sweetness that perfectly complements the creamy and cheesy sauce. Try this baked mac and cheese with tomatoes recipe and enjoy a delicious and comforting dinner in no time.

Overhead view of copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese in a baking dish.

This has been a favorite of many while growing up.  Don’t miss this classic dish!

About Horn & Hardart

Now it all sounds so futuristic: a restaurant with no waiters, cashiers, or any visible employees. You simply fed your cash into a glass-enclosed kiosk, removed a steaming plate of freshly made food, and carried it to your table. This was Horn & Hardart around 1950, a restaurant chain with many locations in New York City and Philadelphia, and more across the country. At its zenith, there were more than 150 Horn & Hardart automat menu operations.

This was the now-distant past when automats served hundreds of thousands of urban customers every day. Read more about the rise and fall of the automat restaurant.

Horn & Hardart had many signature dishes, and Horn & Hardart recipes included their very popular mac and cheese. Horn & Hardart won’t be resurrected, so whatever you do, take advantage of the recreation of this classic dish! One of the things that made Horn & Hardart mac and cheese so special was the inclusion of tomatoes.

Why You Should Try This Horn & Hardart Recipe

If you are looking for a simple baked mac and cheese recipe with no fancy ingredients, this Horn and Hardart automat menu macaroni and cheese is for you. No need to go to the expense of buying four different kinds of cheese! However, the addition of canned tomatoes will give this dish a special touch.

Horn & Hardart Macaroni and Cheese Recipe – Ingredients You Will Need

No blue cheese, no gruyere, no panko breadcrumbs, no fancy-dancy ingredients! This is a simple Horn & Hardart mac and cheese made with real Cheddar, milk, and cayenne. Here’s what you need:

  • Macaroni
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Milk
  • Half and half
  • Butter
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Sugar
  • Salt and pepper
Copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese ingredients on a tray.

How to Make This Horn & Hardart Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

This Horn & Hardart mac and cheese with tomatoes has simple ingredients and is simple to make, as follows:

  1. Bring milk and half-and-half to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
  2. Make a roux with the butter and flour.
  3. Pour the warmed milk into the flour/butter mixture and stir until thickened.
  4. Gradually add and blend in the cheese until a smooth mixture forms.
  5. Add the cayenne, salt and pepper, tomatoes, and sugar.
  6. Combine the macaroni and cheese mixture in a casserole dish, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 400°F until it bubbles and the surface browns slightly.
Collage of making copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese.

What to Serve With Baked Mac and Cheese

Baked macaroni and cheese makes the perfect side dish with your favorite entrée for a small lunch or dinner party. It also goes well with fried chicken or other comfort food such as sloppy joes or hamburgers. If you want a meatless meal, just serve it with a tasty salad.

Copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese and a spoon.

How to Store Leftover Macaroni and Cheese

Refrigerate: Transfer completely cooled leftovers to an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freeze: Portion out leftovers into zip-top freezer bags, enclose each bag in foil, then freeze flat. Freeze for up to 3 months. Before use, allow the mac and cheese to thaw in the fridge overnight. Unfortunately, freezing may result in the milk separating and/or the macaroni becoming a little mushy.

Reheat: In a covered baking dish, heat at 350°F for about 20 minutes. You can also microwave portions for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed through. Stir in one or two tablespoons of milk to prevent your mac and cheese from drying out.

Make ahead: Assemble the mac and cheese, cover with foil, and place in the fridge for up to 2 days. When ready to eat, bring it to room temperature, then bake as per your recipe.

Copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese on a fork over a dish of it.

More Mac and Cheese Recipes

Favorite Side Dish Comfort Food Recipes

Check out more of my easy side dish recipes and the best comfort food recipes on CopyKat!

Overhead view of copycat Horn and Hardart mac and cheese in a baking dish.

Horn and Hardart Mac and Cheese

Make Horn and Hardart Macaroni and Cheese with tomatoes just like you remember.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Horn and Hardart Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 421kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons half & half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup canned tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni cooked according to package directions


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Combine the milk and half & half in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.
  • While the milk warms, heat the butter in another saucepan over low heat for 1 minute, until foaming. Add the flour and cook, stirring for 3 minutes.
  • Pour the hot milk into the butter/flour mixture and cook, stirring with a wire whisk or wooden spoon for a few minutes, until thickened.
  • Add the cheese, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Add the cayenne and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  • Add the tomatoes and sugar and stir to combine.
  • Combine the macaroni with cheese sauce and pour the mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven.


Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 365mg | Potassium: 294mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 1.4mg | Calcium: 429mg | Iron: 1.1mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Linda

    this is no where near the H&H mac & cheese i remember! and i can’t find the right recipe :(.
    I remember big rigatoni that flattened when cooked. the cheese was a WHITE cheddar so the sauce was white not yellow. the sauce stayed very loose and saucy. It didn’t get thick like a baked macaroni. so not sure. also the tomatoes were minimal and bigger pieces like whole or stewed tomatoes cut up. anyone remember it like this? or have this recipe?

    • Candy

      Linda, I agree with you 100%! I cannot find such a recipe anywhere. They always have the wrong macaroni,( it was not elbow, it was the flat, ridged rigatoni !)and the sauce is never saucy enough. It was slightly pink from the tomatoes I am guessing, but it was very saucy, more soupy. I can even taste it!

    • Nona

      You are correct. It was made with rigatoni pasta and stewed tomatoes. It did have cream in it and e tea sharp cheese was used. I can’t stand people getting the praises for a messed up incorrect recipe. Respectfully Nona from Philadelphia

    • Cindy OLeary

      So my mom’s recipe that she has been making for the past 40 years is supposedly is from H&H. My cousin just told me yesterday that she remembers my mom going in and asking for the recipe. Her recipe uses Velveeta, rigatoni pasta and crushed tomatoes. It is super simple to make but is a family favorite. My 8 year old learned how to make Nana’s “Pasta with Red dots” during quarantine.

  2. Ronrap

    Not even close. Add an extra 1/2 cup of crème; add 1 whole can of stewed tomatoes, use 1 cup use xxx sharp cheese, 1/3 cup of Monterey Jack cheese. Use 1 tablespoon of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and olive oil for the top. Only bake for 15 – 20 minutes or the sauce will dry out.

  3. Carla Bonner

    I gre up in Manhattan and my mom used to take me to Horn and Hardart. Their mac and cheese was my favorite. While living over seas I had a touch of nostalgia and found this recipe. It was so good the memories came flooding back!!! thank you!!!

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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