9 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. Food & Wine recently put together a list of their easy alternatives to powdered-cheese-in-a-box, and it inspired us to do the same. Just look at what you COULD be eating.

  1. Broccoli Mac & Cheese

    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 . . .
  2. Creamy Avocado Mac & Cheese

    . . . and this avocado sauce version.
  3. Spicy Bacon Jalapeño Mac & Cheese

    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!
  4. Pepperoni Pizza Mac & Cheese
    PepperoniMacNCheese-1-4a | TipHero

    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.
  5. One-Pot Skillet Mac & Cheese

    “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.
  6. Crockpot Mac & Cheese

    Another way to keep it easy? Break out your slow cooker! This one is extra creamy and delicious.
  7. Easy Stovetop Mac & Cheese

    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.
  8. Green Pea Mac & Cheese

    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.
  9. Spicy Mac & Cheese

    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 the classic cheese version and the spicy one with bacon. What about you? Check out Food & Wine’s list for even MORE macaroni and cheese recipes, then tell us which ones you’ll be trying!