best copycat mac and cheese recipe
All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission.

We collected the best copycat recipes for your favorite mac and cheese, from Chick-fil-A, Boston Market, Cracker Barrel, KFC, and more. You’re welcome.

Thanks to social distancing necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic, Netflix and chill has turned into Netflix, chill, and never leave the house. So you’ll be relieved to hear that you can satisfy your craving for your favorite chain restaurant’s mac and cheese from the comfort of your couch.

Well, you will have to get up and into the kitchen, but you won’t have to put on pants (unless you need to make a grocery run).

So check out these 10 copycat recipes for mac and cheese inspired by the famously delicious dishes from some popular chains, and prepare to be delighted. In an ideal world, assign the task of cooking to your significant other (or your kids, if they’re old enough!) so you can continue to binge watch your favorite shows and remain horizontal.

All-Clad Pasta Pot, $99.95 at Williams Sonoma

This pot with a built-in strainer makes pasta easy to drain.
Buy Now

Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese

There’s nothing a little Velveeta can’t fix, right? Right. This tri-cheese blend will taste just as good as the one found in our favorite highway chain. Old country store not included. (But we do have more copycat Cracker Barrel recipes.) Get the Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese recipe.

Panera Mac and Cheese

Panera’s mac and cheese dances to the beat of its own drum by being the only white cheddar-based option on this list. Serve it in a bread bowl for an even more decadent (and frankly, way over-the-top) upgrade. And apologies in advance to your waistline. Get the Panera Mac and Cheese recipe.

Boston Market Mac and Cheese

Frankly, you just need something to dip your Boston Market cornbread into and this sauce, with just the slightest hint of turmeric, has got you covered. We’ll take it by the jug, please. Get the Boston Market Mac and Cheese recipe.

Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese

Another chicken chain’s cheesy offering, this one boasts a four-fromage blend for a little sophistication, yet doesn’t skimp on the creamy, gooey goodness you want from a serious bowl of mac. Get the Chick-fil-A Mac and Cheese recipe. (And see how to make Chick-fil-A nuggets to go with it for the full effect.)

Applebee’s Four Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken

The honey pepper chicken makes this dish because we all know that fried chicken ranks supreme on the list of America’s best comfort foods. In fact, it’s basically on the same level as mac and cheese. Yes, we went there. Get the Applebee’s Four Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken recipe.

Cheesecake Factory Fried Mac and Cheese Bites

If you’ve scoured Cheesecake Factory’s 700-page menu and found these cheesy bites, you know just how delicious they truly are. Sure, it’s going to require some frying, but on a scale of one to completely worth it, these certainly fall among the latter. Get the Cheesecake Factory Fried Mac and Cheese Bites recipe.

California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Mac and Cheese

Cream, cream, and more cream. For those who don’t get full from one of CPK’s personal pizzas (get someone to pick one up), this heavy side dish will certainly do the trick. Or a sundae, but who’s got time to make dessert? Get the California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Mac and Cheese recipe.

Longhorn Steakhouse Mac and Cheese

Panko brings a crunch and bacon is a necessity because nearly everything else on your plate contains pork. Dousing this in barbecue sauce will also solicit an applause, not a scowl. Because why wouldn’t barbecue sauce taste good on mac and cheese? Get the Longhorn Steakhouse Mac and Cheese recipe.

KFC Mac and Cheese

Easy Homemade Stovetop Mac and Cheese


There’s something so unappetizing about the KFC’s mac and cheese consistency, and yet it still makes us hungry. This homemade variety is no exception. Just look at that runny, Kraft-esque sauce. Delicious! Get the KFC Mac and Cheese recipe.

Outback Steakhouse Mac and Cheese

air fryer mac and cheese recipe (air fryer pasta)


It’s all about the toasted garlic breadcrumbs with the mac and cheese from the land down under. We’re not entirely sure what they have to do with Australia, but we we’re not here to ask questions. Get the Outback Steakhouse Mac and Cheese recipe.

In case you need to make any of the above gluten-free, we’ve got the pasta part covered—see how to cook gluten-free pasta the right way.

Related Video: Stop Making These Mac and Cheese Mistakes

Header image by Chowhound

Joey is a NYC-based writer/editor, TV/radio personality, editor-at-large for Chowhound, author of "Basic Bitchen," and host of "Dish This." His work has been featured in outlets like Food & Wine, People, InStyle, Travel+Leisure, and BuzzFeed. Prior to a career in editorial, he served as the lead publicist for hit TLC shows like "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," "My Strange Addiction," and "My Crazy Obsession." In his spare time, he enjoys volleyball, visiting the beaches of Naples, Fla. (his hometown), worshipping Beyoncé, eating sour candy, writing depressing poetry, interior design, and perfecting his stand-up comedy routine. He's also been struck by lightning—quite the shocking experience.
See more articles