How To Step Up Your Boxed Mac and Cheese Game


Alec Willard-Herr

To help mix up regular boxed mac and cheese, try looking around your kitchen for ingredients that can easily be thrown in for some extra flavor.

Maya Smith, Editor

As you get ready to pour uncooked noodles into a pot of boiling water, you think to yourself, “Wait, didn’t I eat this two days ago?”

Boxed mac and cheese is a go-to snack or meal for many people. It’s something you can make in under 30 minutes with minimal effort, but it can become boring.

Over time, I have come across multiple additions that help spice up regular mac and cheese, giving it the flavor and nutrition you may be missing. 

Below, I will let you in on some of my favorite tips and tricks that will help you step up your boxed mac and cheese game. 

Add more cheese

Boxed mac and cheese comes with a packet of orange powder that is supposed to be the cheese; however, this might not be cutting it anymore in flavor town. 

Try adding various types of cheeses—such as colby jack, cream cheese, and mozzarella—into a bowl with a splash of milk. Heat up the cheese mixture in the microwave until melted and then pour it on top of the noodles. 

This can be done before or after the cheese powder gets mixed in, or you don’t even have to mix it in at all. 

The mixture will add a new cheesy explosion to any ordinary boxed mac and cheese. 

Check your fridge

Many times, you may be overlooking vegetables and meats that could be quickly added into your bowl of mac and cheese.

Look in your fridge for leftover meat such as pulled pork, chicken, and maybe even some steak. Chop them up and throw them into the microwave for a few seconds, afterwards popping them into your mac and cheese for a more protein-filled bowl. 

Vegetables can also easily be found around the kitchen. Try cutting them up and adding them to your bowl. Some of my favorite vegetables to add are tomatoes or spinach, but any that fit your fancy will do just the trick to add a healthier spin on your boxed mac and cheese.  

Spice it up

Spices can be easily added to any dish, including boxed mac and cheese, to make it a more flavorful meal. 

Try adding some spices like garlic, salt and pepper, chili flakes, rosemary, basil, or anything else you find on your spice shelf to boost the flavor. 

You can even add a hot sauce of your choice into your mac and cheese to make it spicier, or give it some flavor you may be missing. 

Combine all of these ideas

If you are looking for a more advanced idea, you can try combining meat, veggies, extra cheese, and some spices into a classic mac and cheese. But at this point, it may not be mac and cheese anymore, and might have become some other type of pasta… 

Overall, there is no right or wrong way to make mac and cheese, so stick with what you are comfortable with — or try something new with one or two of the tips I listed above.