The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipes Ever

The Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipes Ever

On the hunt for the perfect macaroni and cheese recipe? Don’t worry, we've uncovered the 15 best macaroni recipes, served every way imaginable.

If you're a mac and cheese connoisseur, you know that the blue-box mac just isn't going to cut it when you're craving the real deal. But since there are many different types of mac and cheese, we scoured our catalog for the most mind-blowing options to share with you. 

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken

A picture of two dishes of baked pasta with white sauce, chicken, and fresh herbs

Mac & Cheese with Roasted Chicken by My Baking Addiction

Mac and cheese with chicken! It sounds simple, and it is: This recipe transforms regular ol’ mac n’ cheese from a side dish into a show-stopping main event. Rotisserie chicken makes the dish hearty and filling, perfect for an entree. Meanwhile, the goat cheese and infusion of rosemary makes it the perfect fancy dish to serve to company.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

A picture of a cast-iron skillet with browned macaroni and cheese and sauce that has spilled over the sides

Baked Macaroni and Cheese by Leite's Culinaria

What defines a classic macaroni and cheese? In this case, a generous 4 to 5 tablespoons butter, flour, and whole milk for the sauce to coat the cooked macaroni; seasonings including plenty of salt and black pepper—plus dry mustard and ground nutmeg if you're feeling fancy; extra-sharp cheddar as well as Parmesan; and a shower of bread crumbs on top. Feel free to sprinkle the casserole with paprika if you like; then bake to perfection.

Southern Macaroni and Cheese

A picture of a 9x13-inch baking dish with filled with crusty baked macaroni and cheese

Southern Macaroni and Cheese by Oh, Sweet Basil

If you’re partial to quality soul food, you probably have strong opinions on mac 'n' cheese. Proper Southern macaroni and cheese is baked mac, you insist—loaded into a baking dish and cooked until crusty and golden-brown. After a cook time of 30 to 45 minutes, it comes out so thick you may want to cut it with a knife before serving.

Lobster Mac & Cheese

A picture of a shallow bowl with macaroni and cheese with big pieces of lobster and some parsley

Lobster Mac & Cheese by Savour the Senses

Can we all give a round of applause for the mystery hero who decided to create lobster mac and cheese? This recipe combines heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, butter, elbow macaroni, and an incredible three pounds of lobster for a drool-worthy mac. 

Cheater Macaroni and Cheese

A picture of a foil pan with browned baked macaroni and cheese, with some having been scooped out

Cheater Macaroni and Cheese by The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

If you’re looking for an extra-easy (but still baked) macaroni and cheese, you’ve landed in the right place. This brilliant recipe skips boiling the pasta and making a roux on the stovetop and has you toss uncooked noodles right into the baking dish (or foil pan). A generous amount of milk (but not too much) means the noodles cook to the perfect al dente in the oven and thicken the sauce with their starch while they’re at it. Butter and shredded cheese? You toss them into the pan as well. The total time clocks in at 1 1/4 hours, but this is very much a hands-off kind of recipe.

Gruyere and Ham Mac and Cheese Pot Pies

A picture of a round baking dish filled with macaroni and cheese and topped with pastry

Gruyere and Ham Mac and Cheese Pot Pies by Picky Palate

Pot pie. Ham and cheese. Mac 'n' cheese. Let’s just combine our favorite comfort foods into one dish, why don’t we? In this recipe, delicious Gruyere cheese and pasta are baked inside a puff pastry crust for the ultimate comfort combo.  

Butternut Squash Whole-Wheat Mac & Cheese

A picture of a baking dish with baked whole-wheat pasta with butternut squash and cheese

Butternut Squash Whole-Wheat Mac & Cheese by Simple Bites

If you’re looking for a healthier version of the classic mac 'n' cheese, you just have to try this recipe. First, elbow pasta is swapped out for whole-wheat egg noodles, then butternut squash puree is combined with grated cheese for the filling. You’ll still get all the flavors you love about mac 'n' cheese, but with a lighter conscience.

Cauliflower Spinach Mac and Cheese

A picture of a fork lifting up some mac and cheese made with spinach and topped with bread crumbs

Cauliflower Spinach Mac and Cheese by Cooking LSL

Cauliflower may just win the award for most versatile vegetable in existence. It can be molded into pizza crusts, mashed into purée, or, as is the case with this recipe, combined with creamy sauce plus spinach to create a one-dish wonder, cauliflower mac and cheese. If you have picky eaters in your family, the havarti cheese does an excellent job of "hiding" two servings of vegetables within the dish.  

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

A picture of a small mound of cauliflower florets coated in cheese sauce with some browned pork rind crumbles

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese by Keto Connect

Fear not if you or a loved one has taken up the keto diet. You can still make keto baked macaroni and cheese! Well, after a fashion. Swap out the mac for cauliflower and top the dish with crumbled pork rinds instead of bread crumbs; then carry on with your luscious cheesy casserole.

Easy Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese

A picture of a casserole dish with macaroni and cheese and a plate next to it with some of the macaroni and cheese and some broccoli

Easy Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese by Yummly

Gone are the days when avoiding gluten meant giving up on the glories of mac and cheese. These days most grocery stores carry a wide array of gluten-free pasta, and it’s a grab-and-go kind of a deal. For a thicker sauce that doesn’t require flour, this clever recipe includes heavy cream and cream cheese as well as milk and the usual sharp cheddar cheese.

The Ultimate Mac and Cheese

A picture of a plate topped with macaroni and cheese

The Ultimate Mac and Cheese by Jo Cooks

What’s the one thing that goes best with bacon? Cheese! In this dish, mounds of melted mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, Gruyere, and goat cheese are topped with six thick-cut slices of bacon. Yes, you counted correctly—that is four different types of cheese in a single recipe to create a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, bacon macaroni and cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese

A picture of a plate topped with golden macaroni and cheese

Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese by The Girl Who Ate Everything

What’s your favorite side dish: Buffalo chicken dip or macaroni and cheese? In this recipe, you don’t have to choose between the two. Your favorite Buffalo sauce is combined with half-and-half, sharp cheddar cheese, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and panko breadcrumbs for a dish that will have you begging for seconds. But be warned—this Buffalo chicken mac and cheese packs a kick!

Garlic Bread Crusted Gnocchi Mac & Cheese

A picture of a baking dish with a spoon and gnocchi baked with cheese sauce

Garlic Bread Crusted Gnocchi Mac & Cheese by Cinnamon Girl

If you can’t decide between your favorite Italian main dishes, this recipe is for you. In one single dish, you’ll capture all the flavors of gnocchi, toasted bread topped with melted butter and garlic powder, and (of course) macaroni and cheese. After all, why make decisions when you can just have everything on your foodie wish list?

Gooey Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms 

A picture of a baking dish of macaroni and cheese with mushroom slices

Gooey Macaroni and Cheese with Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms by The Naptime Chef

Sometimes, the absolute best macaroni and cheese recipe doesn’t need any extra stuff. No lobster, no bacon bits, no hidden vegetables; just whole milk, all-purpose flour, macaroni, melted unsalted butter, and shredded cheddar cheese. In this recipe, you’ll first prepare the cheese sauce and macaroni in separate pots on the stovetop over medium heat. After you drain the noodles, you assemble the casserole to finish in the oven.

The Best Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

A picture of a ramekin filled with macaroni and cheese and topped with bacon

The Best Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese by Deliciously Sprinkled

Proving that there’s nothing our favorite timesaving tools can’t do, this recipe offers options for making both Instant Pot macaroni and cheese and crockpot macaroni and cheese. Either way, a can of evaporated milk helps keep the texture creamy, and three kinds of cheese (cheddar, Parmesan, and cream cheese) guarantee it comes out oh-so-tasty.

Wait! We have even more mac and cheese recipes!

Just in case you're still dreaming about mac 'n' cheese options, we've got over 15,000 macaroni and cheese recipes to choose from on Yummly. No matter if you're partial to Monterey jack, Swiss, or cheddar, you're sure to find a recipe you'll love. 

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