Our Best Mac and Cheese Recipes

Quick Stovetop Mac and Cheese

We like brown rice pasta here for three reasons: It’s whole-grain, it’s a dead ringer (taste- and texture-wise) for traditional pasta, and it’s gluten- free. You could also use a wheat- or chickpea-based pasta.

Eat This Breakfast Mac and Cheese Straight Out of the Pan

Copycat Panera Bread Mac and Cheese

The famously cheesy, kid-friendly side item on the Panera Bread menu has garnered popularity among customers of all ages. Now, you can enjoy the rich and saucy goodness of that white cheddar mac and cheese anytime, and in the comfort of your own kitchen. No need to crank up the oven either, this easy-to-prepare mac and cheese is made entirely on the stove top—in under thirty minutes. The cheese sauce is made with a combination of white cheddar and white American cheese that melt together to form a decadently thick and smooth sauce. We opted to use Dijon mustard instead of dried mustard for a subtle hint of spice to balance all the rich creaminess of the sauce. Even the pickiest of eaters in your family won’t be able to resist this simple mac and cheese recipe.

Spanish Mac and Cheese

It’s surprising how much flavor you can achieve in such a short amount of time. Little bits of Spanish chorizo (the hard, cured kind) are wonderful in the breadcrumb topping.

Bacon and Broccoli Mac and Cheese

One-Pan Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Homemade sharp cheddar cheese sauce and smoked-paprika bread crumbs give this mac a massive flavor boost over the boxed version. For the easiest prep in camp, make the cheese sauce and bread crumbs at home, and buy one-pan, no-drain pasta. (Or cook regular pasta in camp as noted below.)

Baked Mac and Cheese

From the Kitchen of…Rebecca Longshore, Assistant Digital Editor

“I love how my Grandmother Howard’s mac and cheese has a crunchy, cheesy crust over a creamy center.”

The key to Rebecca’s grandmother’s dish was evaporated milk. We added a surprise ingredient, canola mayonnaise, to make things extra creamy.

Southern Pimiento Mac and Cheese

Undercook the pasta by 1 minute. It will continue to cook in the creamy sauce while the crumb topping toasts under the broiler.

Chicken Chili Mac and Cheese

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Serve a cheesy pasta bake that is ready to eat in just 45 minutes. The nutty flavor of fontina and creaminess of mascarpone create a delicious updated version of mac and cheese.

Classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Caprese Mac and Cheese

 

Inspired by the classic Caprese combo of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, this decadent baked macaroni and cheese recipe is sure to wow. Roasted tomatoes add a touch of sophistication, as well as a burst of bright flavor to cut the richness of this creamy pasta bake.  

Mac and Cheeseburger

Mac and cheese gets heartier, and possibly even more family-friendly, when you stir ground beef and fire-roasted tomatoes into the cheese sauce. Make sure to drain the tomatoes so the sauce doesn’t get too thin. We call for whole-grain rotini, but any short pasta shape will work here; just do try to go whole-grain for more nutrition. This budget-friendly dinner costs less than $9. If you don’t have dry mustard (used for added depth), stir in a teaspoon of Dijon.

Barbecue Mac and Cheese

Undercook the pasta by 1 minute. It will continue to cook in the creamy sauce while the crumb topping toasts under the broiler.

Navi Kitchen Tikka Masala Macaroni & Cheese

An instant classic at chef Preeti Mistry’s latest Oakland restaurant, Navi Kitchen, this tikka masala mac & cheese is the embodiment of the chef’s style: Cali-cool mashed up with traditional Indian flavors. To really capture the chef’s super fresh results, toast and grind whole spices with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

While Dungeness crab may seem like a splurge for a weeknight, when you add it to this family favorite a little goes a long way.

Breakfast Mac and Cheese Is a Party on a Stick

Creamy Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Sharp cheddar, white cheddar, and cream cheese make this cheese sauce ultra creamy, while hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce help round out the rich, cheesy flavors. This stovetop recipe will have you wondering why you ever enjoyed mac and cheese any other way. 

Mexican Mac and Cheese

Undercook the pasta by 1 minute. It will continue to cook in the creamy sauce while the crumb topping toasts under the broiler.

Roasted Tomato Mac and Cheese

Make this dish gluten-free by using the brown rice elbow pasta and brown rice flour options listed in the ingredients.

King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese

All the flavors of a favorite casserole come together in the comfort of mac and cheese. Serve King Ranch Chicken Mac and Cheese to your family, and it will become a quick favorite.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese with Bacon

If you thought you loved your Instant Pot, just wait until you make a rich and gooey bowl of macaroni and cheese within minutes. The Instant Pot’s pressure function allows you to skip the entire process of boiling water, cooking, and draining the pasta saving valuable time over a traditional stovetop mac and cheese recipe. And we keep the cheese sauce quick and convenient, as well as decadently creamy, by utilizing canned evaporated milk—an affordable staple that you may already have in your pantry. Plus, evaporated milk packs less fat than using heavy cream, which means you can feel a little better about all the cheese you’re pouring in to make a beautiful melty finish. We opted for a blend of cheddar and Gouda cheeses, but feel free to go all-cheddar or try adding another favorite cheese to the mix.

Roasted Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese

Herbed Breadcrumb-Topped Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese with Squash

Photo: Alison Miksch; Food Styling: Cat Steele; Prop Styling: Lindsey Lower

Best-Ever Macaroni and Cheese

Baked Smokin’ Macaroni and Cheese

Three-Cheese Pasta Bake

This delicious variation on traditional macaroni and cheese is easy to prepare and perfect for weeknight family dinners and weekend entertaining alike. Add cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage to the pasta bake and serve with a green salad and fresh vegetables for a hearty, well-rounded meal.

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese

We set out to make a serious dent in the calorie and fat content of good old macaroni and cheese, while preserving the creamy comfort-food texture.

Ultimate Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Why “ultimate” mac n’ cheese? Because the sauce in this recipe is creamy, not grainy; it’s flavored with shallots, gruyère, and white wine, like fondue; and it’s topped with crunchy sourdough bread crumbs.

Individual Baked Mac and Cheese

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Truffled Mac and Cheese

Gussied Up Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Four-Cheese Mac and Cheese

Easy Skillet Pimiento Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Creamy, cheesy pasta pairs perfectly with rich lobster for an indulgent, off-the-coast dinner.

Bacon Mac

Mac & Cheese Nuggets

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