9 Ways to Upgrade a Box of Mac and Cheese

Throw in your favorite pizza toppings or even kimchi for an elevated mac and cheese.
9 Ways to Upgrade a Box of Mac and Cheese
Take boxed mac and cheese to the next level. (Alex Lepe/TNS)

It’s hard not to love boxed macaroni and cheese—it’s fast, cheap, and a crowd-pleaser with the whole family. Everyone has their favorite, whether you hold true to the blue box, dig white cheddar, or embrace the kid in you and reach for a fun shape.

On its own, it makes a fine lunch, dinner, or even a hearty snack, but reach into your pantry for an extra ingredient or two to add to the mix and you can upgrade your mac and cheese game entirely.

How to Upgrade Boxed Mac and Cheese

Take boxed mac and cheese to the next level with super easy-to-prepare upgrades. Below are some of the easiest, most delicious methods.
  • Buffalo chicken: Toss shredded cooked chicken (rotisserie works great!) with buffalo sauce then stir it into the prepared mac. Blue cheese is encouraged, but optional.
  • Tuna and peas: Add frozen peas at the end of the pasta cook time, then stir some drained canned tuna into the mac and cheese after you’ve made the sauce.
  • Pizza: While the cheese sauce comes together, stir in some shredded low-moisture mozzarella. Top the finished mac with pepperoni, some grated Parm, and red pepper flakes.
  • Herby bread crumbs: Toast panko or regular bread crumbs in butter or olive oil and stir in some chopped fresh herbs and salt. Sprinkle over prepared pasta.
  • Bacon: Need we say more? Crumble some crispy bacon on top for a next-level mac experience.
  • Roasted broccoli: Hands down, the best solution for leftover roasted broccoli.
  • Cacio e pepe: Add lots of Pecorino Romano cheese and freshly ground black pepper for cacio e pepe vibes.
  • Kimchi: Whether you have cabbage kimchi or Brussels sprouts kimchi, you’ll love the spicy, crunchy addition.
  • Chili crisp: Just a spoonful adds a delightful crunch with a kick.
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Sheela Prakash is a senior contributing food editor at TheKitchn.com, a nationally known blog for people who love food and home cooking. Submit any comments or questions to [email protected]. Copyright 2021 Apartment Therapy. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
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