Take cheese sauce mixed with elbow macaroni and combine it with—well, just about anything—and you’ve got a pretty good chance of success. The ingredient combinations are limitless, so the CHOW Test Kitchen picked a few flavor themes to keep focus: smoky, Tex-Mex, and vegan. These versions are just as easy to make as the classic and have all of the same rich comfort—even the vegan mac. For purists, we have recipes for classic baked macaroni and cheese and a stovetop version, too.

Smoky Macaroni and CheeseSmoky Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Macaroni and CheeseVegan Macaroni and Cheese

Tex-Mex Macaroni and CheeseTex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese

Photos by Chris Rochelle / CHOW.com

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