Macaroni and Tomatoes Recipe


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This old fashioned macaroni and tomatoes recipe is the best easy comfort food! Everyone loves this classic Southern dish, and it’s ready in under 20 minutes!

Macaroni and Tomatoes

If you’re looking for a quick recipe using pantry friendly ingredients, this is the delicious recipe for you!

The noodles are cooked to perfection, and they’re so full of flavor from the chicken broth. The sautéed garlic and spices make it taste like you made a gourmet meal with a delightful, light creamy texture.

Making this for my nephews for lunch was just as quick as macaroni & cheese, but I’m loving the fact that it’s not processed. The best part is that they said they enjoyed it even better than their favorite mac and cheese!

A close up image of macaroni and tomatoes.


You only need 8 ingredients for this recipe, and I’ll bet you already have all of them in your fridge or pantry!

To make macaroni and tomatoes you need butter, garlic, dried thyme leaves, dried parsley, salt, chicken broth, elbow macaroni noodles, and canned diced tomatoes.

You don’t technically need it, but if you have any pepper on hand, I highly recommend topping this pasta with some when you’re serving it.

Macaroni and tomatoes ingredients in individual containers and labeled.

How To Make Macaroni And Tomatoes

Start by melting the butter in a Dutch oven, then sauteing the thyme, parsley, salt, and garlic. (See the recipe card below for the full written printable recipe.)

Garlic, thyme, and parsley being sauteed in butter.

Add in the chicken broth and pasta, then cover and cook as instructed, stirring occasionally.

Elbow macaroni cooked in chicken broth.

Pour in the diced tomatoes with the tomato juices, and stir. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.

Overhead image of Macaroni and tomatoes in a Dutch oven.

Can You Cook Macaroni In Chicken Broth?

Yes! Cooking macaroni in chicken broth is a great way to infuse the pasta with tons of flavor. If you don’t have any chicken broth on hand, feel free to use water, but the dish won’t be as flavorful.

What To Serve With Pasta

I love how versatile this pasta dish is, and it really goes so well with so many different foods.

Some main dish chicken recipes that pair well with pasta are:

Some side dishes that pair well with pasta are:

A heaping pile of macaroni and tomatoes on a plate.

Optional Adaptations

Since this dish is so simple, there are tons of ways you can adapt it to fit your taste preference.

Want it a little bit spicy? Add some crushed red pepper flakes.

Don’t want to use dairy? Use oil or bacon grease in lieu of the butter.

Want some added protein? Add in some cooked and crumbled bacon, ground beef, or sausage right before you serve it. Hamburger meat is actually a super popular addition to this dish!

Trying to fit in some healthy vegetables? Add in some sautéed zucchini, diced onions, or diced green peppers.

Don’t have any diced tomatoes? Stir in a little bit of tomato soup instead.

Feel like the tomatoes taste too acidic? Add a little bit of sugar or the tiniest pinch of baking soda to balance it out. The sugar will balance the flavor, and the baking soda will neutralize the acid, so either one works.

Craving mac n cheese? Feel free to add cheese to this dish! You can top it with some grated parmesan, or stir in some freshly shredded cheddar or mozzarella so that it melts. If it’s the topping you’re craving, simply top this with some buttery breadcrumbs and broil it for a few minutes to get the crunchy coating.

An overhead image of macaroni and tomatoes in a Dutch oven.

Keep In Touch

I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime

Click here to pin this recipe for later!

A Pinterest pin image of macaroni and tomatoes with title text.

Easy Pasta Recipes

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out our entire pasta recipes section! Some easy reader favorites are:

Yield: 6 servings

Best Ever Macaroni and Tomatoes

The best macaroni and tomatoes recipe.

This old fashioned macaroni and tomatoes recipe is the best easy comfort food! Everyone loves this classic Southern dish, and it’s ready in under 20 minutes!

Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth (32 ounces, you can use water if you don't have broth)
  • 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)


  1. Heat a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Once hot, add the butter and melt it. Add the garlic and dried spices to the melted butter, and saute until aromatic (about 2 minutes). 
  2. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Add in the pasta, turn the heat to medium-low, and cover.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes. Give the pasta a stir every few minutes to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. 
  5. Once the liquid is all or almost all absorbed, add in the tomatoes and stir. Let the tomatoes heat for about 3 minutes, and serve.

Nutrition Information:

Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 3.3gCarbohydrates: 52.4gFiber: 4.9gSugar: 5.3gProtein: 8.9g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.


Tag @KeyToMyLime on Instagram so we can see your delicious meal!

The next time you’re craving some old fashioned comfort food, try this macaroni and tomatoes recipe! It’s just like my Grandma used to make, and it’s so good.

The best macaroni and tomatoes recipe.

11 thoughts on “Macaroni and Tomatoes Recipe”

    • Hi Bruce, I haven’t tested this recipe with okra, so I can’t say for sure how it would turn out. If you try it, please let me know how you like it! -Alexa

  1. My grandmother and Mama used to make this and it has always been one of my favorite meals! Now I make it for my kids when we have a busy night of ball games. We always need something quick and easy to make, and this is my go my kids LOVE it!

  2. I wish I had read the comment from Sandy first. I followed exactly and the flavor didn’t do it, I told myself to add bacon but forgot. Instead of wasting them I added a small can of diced tomatoes and green chili peppers with 1/2 lb bacon.

    • Hi Tara, Yes, you could use beef broth instead. It will have a more robust flavor and darker color, but it should still be delicious. Hope that helps! -Alexa

  3. I added bacon and left the pieces in the mix and at the very end I added a block of cream cheese. Putting bowls and garnish with bacon bits on top and parmesan cheese. Very good thank you for the recipe.

  4. I made this last night it turned out great. I will cut the thyme down just a tad. I did use baking soda 1/4 tsp, and added 1-1/2 tsp sugar. Will definitely make it again. It makes a lot. Thank you.


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