How to Spice Up Boxed Mac and Cheese

Take a classic box of mac and cheese, but make it grown up with these delicious recipes

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Boxed mac and cheese was a staple in many of our childhoods. Maybe you remember the excitement you felt when your parents put the iconic blue box in the grocery cart. Maybe you loved stabbing a piece of hot dog with your fork and running it through the bright orange cheese sauce. Maybe you were a kind of picky kid and boxed mac and cheese was one of your safe, happy culinary places.

Being an adult doesn’t mean giving up all of your childhood favorites. We love an upgraded mac and cheese to connect us with our goofy kid selves and still delight our more sophisticated palates. 

We’re bringing you our favorite recipes to make boxed mac and cheese even better. Get ready to warm your heart and belly.

Mac & Cheese Waffles

Prep time: 40 minutes


Gooey and crunchy at the same time, these mac and cheese waffles are irresistible. “I make these in my restaurant,” says one reviewer. That’s just about the highest compliment a dish can receive.

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Jalapeño Mac & Cheese Fries

Prep time: About 1 hour, 30 minutes

Jalapeño Mac 'n' Cheese Fries on a plate with sliced peppers
Source: Tastemade

Look at these golden-brown wedges of perfection. These jalapeño mac and cheese fries bring just the right amount of heat with help from crushed jalapeño potato chips. 

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Chili Mac & Cheese

Prep time: 50 minutes

Chili Mac & Cheese in a casserole dish
Source: Taste of Home

Chili and mac and cheese are a timeless combination. Budget-friendly, time-friendly and tummy-friendly, you can whip this up on the go and relax with a delicious bowl before you know it.

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Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese

Prep time: 50 minutes

Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese
Source: BS’ in the Kitchen

“Cheese on cheese on cheese on carbs on carbs on carbs!” says recipe creator Bob Deutscher. We enjoy this grilled mac and cheese on a cold day or when we’re feeling a little under the weather.

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Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Cupcakes

Prep time: 40 minutes

 Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese Cupcakes
Source: tbsp.

Buffalo chicken mac and cheese cupcakes are bound to be a hit at your next socially distanced get-together. We love the extra creaminess from the blue cheese and crunch from the celery.

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Mexican Mac & Cheese

Prep time: 17 minutes

Mexican Mac & Cheese
Source: A Simple Pantry

Add some heft and nutrition to your favorite box of mac and cheese with this Tex-Mex take. Feel free to load it up with your favorite veggies. That’s the thing about mac and cheese: it’s personal.

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