5 easy ways to upgrade mac and cheese recipes

(Photo by Tom Kelley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Kelley/Getty Images) /

These five easy ways to upgrade mac and cheese recipes will change your dinner plans.

Need to upgrade those mac and cheese recipes? With a few simple, easy additions even that classic blue box can go from traditional to terrific. Are you ready for a flavor upgrade?

For many people, mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food. Whether it is an elbow pasta, a shell or another shape, the combination of a luscious, creamy cheese sauce and pasta makes for a satisfying bite.

Although many people like the convenience of a heat and go or a blue box option, some people look for a flavor upgrade. Even if you do not want to make a cheese roux and recipe from scratch, any mac and cheese can get a flavor upgrade with a few simple ideas.

Here are FoodSided’s five easy ways to upgrade mac and cheese


The old statement everything is better with bacon definitely applies to a mac and cheese recipe. Whether you use big pieces of bacon or some bacon crumbles, the salty, pork flavor just seems to make each luscious mac and cheese bite tastier.

Even though the bacon adds a touch of flavor, it is really the saltiness that helps with the cheese sauce. It offers a balance. And, everyone knows that the best recipes are all about balance.

If you don’t have bacon in the house (but you should always have bacon in the house), you could use some sausage pieces. Some leftover Eckrich sausage pieces from a previous meal are always a great choice. Basically, any extra meat can work in a mac and cheese recipe.

Bread Crumbs

This recipe upgrade can be a controversial one. Some people love a crunchy bread topping on a mac and cheese. it offers some texture.

As said by Lidia Bastianich, grated breadcrumbs are like the poor man’s cheese. It adds another layer to any pasta dish.

When considering bread crumbs on mac and cheese, think about flavors that you like. From some spices to varying sizes, there are many ways to customize this topping.


While the kids might not be happy about having broccoli or peas in their mac and cheese, it can be a good way to eat more veggies. Although there are some sneaky ways to add the veggies into a recipe without anyone knowing, bigger vegetable pieces are a good idea, too. Sometimes a little cheese can make any vegetable taste better.

More cheese

If you want to have the ultimate mac and cheese, simply add more cheese. Consider cheeses that melt well. Sometimes even blending different cheeses together can be a great choice. Whether it is gouda, blue cheese or even just extra cheddar, the options are many.

Bring on the heat

From a little bit of traditional hot sauce to even a gochujang, there are many ways to boost the flavor with a little heat. Since the dairy in the mac and cheese can tame the spiciness, the heat can be more approachable. It doesn’t mean that you should use the whole bottle. Again, it is about boosting the mac and cheese flavor, not overpowering it.

These five easy ways to upgrade mac and cheese recipes are just a few of the many suggestions that are available. Basically, the classic dish can take on many flavors and ingredients. Why not experiment? You could discover a new recipe that might be your favorite.

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What is your favorite way to upgrade mac and cheese recipes? Share your ideas with FoodSided.