13 Mac & Cheese Recipes That Taste Better Than Boxed

Does macaroni and cheese still mean that blue box to you? If yes— WHY?! Friend, you deserve better.

There are so many recipes out there for macaroni and cheese that you can make right in the comfort of your own kitchen, and they taste so much better than anything you can buy in the store. Don’t you want REAL cheese and all the mixings and toppings you could dream up? Of course you do. Just look at what you COULD be eating.

  1. Velvety Baked Mac & Cheese

    Baked Mac & Cheese finished casserole from aboveTipHero

    The best macaroni and cheese is the one that tastes like childhood. Our childhood? It tastes like mom used to make: creamy, velvety, gooey macaroni and cheese baked in the oven with a buttery cracker crust.

  2. Mini Mac and Cheese Bites

    Bite-sized macaroni and cheese in muffin tinTipHero

    Looking for a little portion control along with your better-than-the-box mac? Shrink it down into appetizer-worthy mac ‘n’ cheese bites! Go classic, like these ones . . .

  3. Bacon-Wrapped Mac & Cheese Bites

    Reasons to make bacon-wrapped mac & cheese for a party appetizer or anytime snack: 1) portable, 2) make-ahead, 3) no bowl necessary, 4) BACON.TipHero

    . . . or wrap them up in bacon for a special treat you can even make ahead of time!

  4. Broccoli Mac & Cheese

    BroccoliMacandCheese-1-4aTipHero

    One of the biggest problems with boxed macaroni and cheese is how artificial, and unhealthy, the ingredients are. When you make it yourself, you not only control what’s in it, but you can make it all a little bit healthier and greener, like with this broccoli mac ‘n’ cheese . . .

  5. Creamy Avocado Mac & Cheese

    AvocadoMacandCheeseTwo Peas and Their Pod

    . . . and this avocado sauce version.

  6. Spicy Bacon Jalapeño Mac & Cheese

    SpicyBaconJalapenoMacandCheesePOPSUGAR Food

    Of course, the other side of making your macaroni at home is that you can make it as crazy and indulgent as you want, like this version that includes bacon and a REALLY crazy secret ingredient: spicy Cheetos!

  7. Pepperoni Pizza Mac & Cheese

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    Another way to take your mac ‘n’ cheese to the next layer of indulgence? Imitate another cheesy favorite – pizza! – by layering in pepperonis, tomato sauce and, of course, LOTS of ooey, gooey cheese.

  8. One-Pot Skillet Mac & Cheese

    MacandCheeseSkilletEveryday Food

    “OK,” we can hear you saying, “so homemade macaroni has boxed beat in taste, but what about CONVENIENCE?” Never fear— this one-skillet version is just as easy to make and far more delicious, and like the boxed kind, it won’t leave you with tons of dishes to clean.

  9. One-Pot Creamy Mac & Cheese

    One-Pot Mac & Cheese close-up bowl forkTipHero

    Skeptical of the skillet, or simply only have a saucepan on hand? You can still have one-pot mac ‘n’ cheese! This creamy macaroni and cheese is way out of boxed mac and cheese’s league. It doesn’t get any easier/cheesier than this: 25 minutes, simple pantry ingredients, and just one pot.

  10. Slow Cooker Mac & Cheese

    Slow Cooker Mac & CheeseTipHero

    Another way to keep it easy? Break out your slow cooker! This one is extra creamy and delicious, and it couldn’t get more convenient than making it this way. And if you want another crock-pot option, we’ve got a second version right here.

  11. Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

    EasyStovetopMacandCheeseFood & Wine

    Don’t want crazy flavors or anything other than pasta and cheese? That’s easy! This version is as simple and delicious as it gets.

  12. Green Pea Mac & Cheese

    GreenPeaMacandCheeseFood & Wine

    Since everybody loves mac ‘n’ cheese, especially kids, it’s a great dish to use to sneak in healthier ingredients. A prime example: this green pea version, which uses the little green guys to add just a hint of sweetness and veggie power to the cheesy dish.

  13. Spicy Mac & Cheese

    SpicyMacandCheeseFood & Wine

    Give the classic some extra kick with chipotle, smoked paprika, black pepper and – most importantly! –jalapeños!

So many versions, so many options, too few meals! We’re torn between, well, all of them. What about you? Tell us which ones you’ll be trying!