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The 20 Best Mac and Cheese Recipes Ever

So many ways to make mac and cheese—all delicious.

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

When my boys were little, we always checked a restaurant's menu to make sure they had mac and cheese before going. At home, I turned to boxes of Annie's Shells and Aged Cheddar for a quick side dish or easy weekend lunch. Mac and cheese was always such a hit that I decided I needed to start making it from scratch—it's not that hard anyway! With cheese and milk always on hand, all I needed was a box of pasta and a go-to recipe.

No matter how many times I make macaroni and cheese, it's never boring. I can use up leftover cheese, vegetables, and meat. I can make it the main dish or a side. I can add breadcrumbs and turn it into a casserole or serve it right out of the pot on the stove. Plus, leftovers make coveted lunches.

Below are 20 mouthwatering mac and cheese recipes for feeding all the hungry people at your table.

One-Pot Mac and Cheese

<p>Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe</p>

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

The streamlined technique keeps the dishes to a minimum but doesn’t sacrifice on flavor. Cream cheese and two types of shredded cheeses work together to make it silky smooth.

Get Recipe: One-Pot Mac and Cheese

Chili Mac and Cheese

Aaron Hutcherson
Aaron Hutcherson

Ground beef, chili powder, onions, and tomatoes all bring bold flavors to this cheesy macaroni. If you don't have a 12-inch cast iron skillet, you could use a Dutch oven or transfer it to a casserole dish when it's time to bake.

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DIY Macaroni and Cheese Mix

<p>Simply Recipes / Photo by Sara Bir / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham</p>

Simply Recipes / Photo by Sara Bir / Photo Illustration by Wanda Abraham

How many boxes of mac and cheese does it take to feed a hungry family? More than I have in my pantry, that’s for sure. With cheese powder and tapioca starch, you can make a supply to last months.

Get Recipe: Homemade Macaroni and Cheese Mix

Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Alison Bickle
Alison Bickle

The addition of cream cheese makes creamy mac and cheese possible without béchamel. You can keep the unbaked casserole in the freezer for up to one month.

Get Recipe: Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Sally Vargas
Sally Vargas

Roasting the cauliflower and onion is a hands-free way to add extra flavor—you don’t want to skip this step.

Get Recipe: Cauliflower Pasta Bake

Vegan Mac and Cheese

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

This recipe takes a whole new approach to “cheesy” vegan mac and cheese. You’ll purée potatoes, carrots, and soaked cashews, along with a flavorful mix of spices, for the sauce. Turmeric gives it the yellow color so no one is the wiser.

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Ham and Cheese Pasta Bake

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

I’ve made this recipe more times than I can count. If you use a Dutch oven, you can boil the pasta first and then use the same pot for the sauce. I add all the spices at one time and it’s always perfect.

Get Recipe: Ham and Cheese Pasta Bake

Civil War Macaroni and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Get a history lesson along with dinner. This recipe is similar to what would have been made in the 1860s. Instead of boiling the pasta in water and then making the cheese sauce, you boil the pasta in the milk and add in a mixture of melted butter and cheese.

Get Recipe: Civil War Macaroni and Cheese

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Nick Evans
Nick Evans

This is the kind of slow cooker recipe I’m into: set and forget. Pasta cooks relatively quickly, so it takes about two hours from start to finish.

Get Recipe: Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese

Easy Chicken Mac and Cheese

Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Exactly what I want to make on a busy weeknight. You can use leftover cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken.

Get Recipe: Easy Chicken Mac and Cheese

Creamy Basil Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Sally Vargas
Sally Vargas

Basil is more than a garnish in this easy recipe. It is steeped in the milk and cream mixture and adds a subtle fresh flavor to the sauce.

Get Recipe: Creamy Basil Artichoke Mac and Cheese

Creamy Cavatappi

<p>Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek</p>

Simply Recipes / Mihaela Kozaric Sebrek

This spiral pasta dish is decadent, quick, easy, and uses pantry staples. If you can’t find cavatappi, a different spiral or macaroni pasta will work!

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Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese

Alison Conklin
Alison Conklin

Level up your mac and cheese by adding spinach pesto and creamy havarti to the sauce.

Get Recipe: Pesto Havarti Mac and Cheese

Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Broccoli is my favorite vegetable to eat with mac and cheese. Instead of taking up more space on the stove, the broccoli is placed in a steamer basket and set over the same pot of boiling water for the pasta. Genius!

Get Recipe: Broccoli Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Quick Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Dinner is on the table in 20 minutes when you make this unfussy mac and cheese.

Get Recipe: Quick Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

Spinach Mac and Cheese

<p>Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel</p>

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

This mac and cheese uses three boxes of frozen spinach, but doesn’t overwhelm the comforting, cheesy dish.

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Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Use up your stash of chiles from the garden or raid the pantry for a few cans of diced green chiles for dinner tonight.

Get Recipe: Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Chorizo Mac and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Spicy chorizo and pepper jack cheese wake up this baked mac and cheese and turn it into the star it was meant to be. You’ll get rave reviews when you serve it at your next BBQ.

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Green Goddess Mac and Cheese

Elise Bauer
Elise Bauer

Skip the side salad and stir puréed spinach and parsley into the cheese sauce for this green mac and cheese.

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Trinidadian Macaroni Pie

<p>Simply Recipes / Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse</p>

Simply Recipes / Alica Ramkirpal-Senhouse

"Caribbean macaroni pie is a beloved baked macaroni and cheese dish that no gathering can go without," writes contributor Alica Rampikpal-Senhouse. "Once it’s done baking it should hold its shape when cut, even when right out of the oven. This firmness is a big part of what distinguishes macaroni pie from macaroni and cheese found outside of the Caribbean."

Get Recipe: Trinidadian Macaroni Pie

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