easy baked macaroni and cheese
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Did you know National Mac and Cheese Day is on July 14? The best mac and cheese recipe transcends cold weather comfort food season, and these 11 variations are so delicious you’ll definitely crave them all year long.

We’re not here to knock Kraft (or Annie’s for the fancy folk out there), but if you have a hankering for macaroni and cheese why not think outside the box?

It may not be as simple as just adding water, but going the made-from-scratch route is definitely worth the extra effort.

Take the dynamic duo of pasta and queso to delicious new heights with our favorite riffs on the legendary weeknight fave.

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Classic Macaroni and Cheese

classic mac and cheese recipe


The key here is a creamy béchamel which sounds chi chi but is simply a combination of milk, butter, flour, and salt. Combined with elbows and a one-two punch of cheddar (preferably aged a couple of years) and pecorino, plus a sprinkle of crunchy panko for good measure, it’s the pinnacle of cheesy, noodly excellence. Get our Classic Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese


This midnight munchie hybrid successfully straddles the border between nachos and mac and cheese. Pasta, tortilla chips, chorizo, jalapeños, jack, and cheddar are all invited to the ultimate comfort food fiesta. Get our Tex-Mex Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Related Reading: 11 Ways to Eat Elote: Mexican Street Corn from Cob to Casserole

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese with Coconut Milk and Nutritional Yeast


Just because you’re vegan doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the fun. A blend of coconut milk, nuts, and leafy cultivars serve as a suitable cheese substitute in this animal-free offering. Get our Vegan Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Related Reading: 9 Delicious Vegan Snacks to Buy Online

Prosciutto-Wrapped Macaroni and Cheese Cups

prosciutto wrapped mac and cheese cups recipe


Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. That is, in fact, a hot, cheesy bite of pasta nestled in a bowl of crispy, cured pork. Break out that muffin pan and get baking! Get our Prosciutto-Wrapped Macaroni and Cheese Cups recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé


No one likes a show off…unless you’re flaunting this crazy delicious mac and cheese soufflé. Think of it as the food equivalent of when Adam Sandler takes on a serious role. Get our Macaroni and Cheese Soufflé recipe.

Related Reading: How to Make Those Fluffy Japanese Soufflé Pancakes All Over Instagram

Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites

Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe


Do you feel like chicken parm tonight? But are the kids angling for some cheesy mac? Find tasty middle ground with these best-of-both-worlds bites. Get our Chicken Parmesan Mac and Cheese Bites recipe.

Spicy Kimchi Mac and Cheese

kimchi mac and cheese recipe

James Park

James Park takes inspiration from kimchi jjigae (a spicy and tangy Korean stew) for this brilliant fusion of flavors. Of course, there’s pasta (preferably farfalle) and a creamy cheese sauce, but the key weapon here is deploying a funky, spicy paste made with chopped anchovy fillets, bacon, kimchi, gochugaru, and gochujang. Get the Spicy Kimchi Mac and Cheese recipe.

Related Reading: Spicy Kimchi Bacon Fried Rice Is the Ultimate Comfort Food

Pimento Mac and Cheese


Mac and cheese is certainly a classic but “Top Chef” alum Sam Talbot adds an extra layer of nostalgia with the addition of cherry peppers. The southern spin adds notes of sweetness and spice to this insanely decadent dish which is also prepared with cream cheese and mayo. Get the Pimento Mac and Cheese recipe.

Related Reading: Delicious New Tricks for Canned Tomatoes from Two ‘Top Chef’ Alums

Beefy Macaroni Casserole

beefy macaroni casserole recipe


If your childhood was marred by mediocre Hamburger Helper and that creepy talking glove, this casserole will help make things right. Serve with a side of Tums. Get our Beefy Macaroni Casserole recipe.

Related Reading: 9 Lasagna Recipes with Layers of Deliciousness

Lobster Mac and Cheese

Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe


Elevate your mac and cheese by pairing it with sweet, succulent lobster meat. Take a bite, close your eyes, and you may hear seagulls and the rolling tide off in the distance. Get our Lobster Mac and Cheese recipe.

Related Reading: How to Choose a Live Lobster

Smoky Macaroni and Cheese

bacon mac and cheese recipe


Smoked bacon. Smoked almonds. Smoked paprika. Cue Jim Carrey ‘cuz this dish is SSSSSSSMOKIN’! Get our Smoky Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

Related Video: Stop Making These Mac and Cheese Mistakes

David is a food and culture writer based in Los Angeles by way of New York City. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, CBS Local, Mashable, and Gawker.
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