Simple Southern Tomatoes and Macaroni

This easy tomatoes and macaroni recipe is a quick dinner idea and on the list of cheap family meals when your budget is already stretched. You can make it with a few pantry storage items that you probably already have (and won’t require a grocery shopping trip!).

close up of tomatoes and macaroni noodles

My parents are both from the south, which means there’s always amazing food at family gatherings when we visit. But, without fail, there’s one recipe that my daughter always searches out: macaroni and tomatoes.

She loves it. I mean, she loves it so much that my aunt will bring this dish to the family gathering, but secretly give my daughter a reserve all on her own.

FAIR WARNING: If you’re looking for a savory, creamy pasta dish, this isn’t it.

This old fashioned macaroni and tomatoes is good for:

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  • SUPER cheap meal ideas
  • Last minute dish for family gatherings
  • Quick lunch idea for hungry kids
  • Budget-friendly side dishes
  • Side dish vegetarian recipes or cheap vegetarian meals

Recipe Tips

  • I’m just going to say it: it’s bacon grease (sadly) that really gives this dish an extra boost of flavor. So, the next time you make bacon, save the grease (in a jar with lid). If you don’t have bacon grease, you can use butter.
  • You can serve this dish hot, room temperature, or chilled. (It really is that versatile!) My daughter likes it hot or cold!
  • This pasta recipe can be served immediately, but I think it’s better if you let it sit for about 20 minutes after cooking.
  • Be sure to cook the pasta al dente. This is not a dish that is good with mushy pasta.
  • We usually use traditional elbow macaroni for the recipe, but you can use any kind of short, tube pasta (like the kind we used in the picture).
  • Some people make this recipe with sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. Just add 1/2 teaspoon sugar to the recipe.

Tomatoes And Macaroni Recipe

Yield: 4

Tomatoes and Macaroni

close up of tomatoes and macaroni noodles

Looking for cheap meal ideas? This recipe for tomatoes and macaroni is ready in minutes and is a great way to save time and money!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes


  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni pasta noodles (or eblow macaroni)
  • 1 tablespoon bacon grease or butter
  • 1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a pot, bring salted water to a boil and add macaroni noodles. Cook al dente, around 8 minutes or according to package directions. Drain noodles. Set aside.
  2. Melt bacon grease (or butter) in a medium sauce pan. Pour in the stewed tomatoes (including juice). Add cooked macaroni pasta, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Serve immediately or chill and serve cold.


NOTES: There are some people that add sugar to this recipe. If you like a sweeter version, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar along with the salt and pepper during Step 2.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 434mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 6g

Nutrition information is estimated. Changes to the recipe and use of different brands may cause changes to the nutritional information to vary slightly from the ones provided here.

Curious: If you’ve made this recipe before, do you use sugar in your tomatoes and macaroni?

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