Mac and Cheese Will Never Be the Same Again

Macaroni and cheese is great, but you know what’s even better? Amped-up macaroni and cheese with a whole bunch of wild add-ins. I know this; you know this; and Reddit? Reddit definitely knows this. In fact, the topic of what to put in your mac and cheese to make it a truly out of this world gustatory experience was the main focus of an AskReddit thread that exploded over the weekend — and at 5,330 responses, I think it’s safe to say that it was a hit.

The thread in question was titled simply, “What can I add to Mac ‘N Cheese to make it better?” Its creator, goots95, kicked things off by declaring that mac and cheese just “isn’t good enough on its own”; although many noted that if your mac and cheese isn’t good enough on its own, then clearly you’re not using the right recipe, there’s no denying that the ideas offered by AskReddit’s cheese-loving denizens definitely will add a little somethin’ somethin’ to even the best of recipes.

If you grew up a carnivore, you probably at least knew someone who put hot dogs in their mac and cheese, even if you didn’t do it yourself — but these hacks take the whole thing beyond mere hot dogs. We’re talking some serious gourmet options, as well as a couple of not-so-gourmet but still potentially delicious ideas. Are you ready for this? Truly? Do you think you can handle it? OK. Here we go. Get ready to get cheesed.

1. Bacon

Well, duh. Bacon makes everything better. If you’re feeling really ambitious, try this Chicken Bacon Ranch Macaroni and Cheese from What’s Cooking, Love?

2. Fries

I imagine this being kind of like mac and cheese poutine. Am I wrong, Canadians?

3. Apples and Sausage

Adventures in Cooking’s Apple Sauce Mac and Cheese with Apple Sausage takes this idea to the next level.

4. Cayenne Pepper

Sure, you could add Tabasco for a kick — but everyone does that. For something even more fiery, give it a dose of cayenne.

5. Chorizo

If you like chili mac, you’re going to love chorizo mac.

6. “Cheese Bombs”

Does anyone else feel compelled to take this idea and implement it as part of Averie Cooks’ Baked Macaroni and Cheese Balls?

7. Tuna


Or, if you feel like going all out:

I can’t say it ever occurred to me to put tuna in my mac and cheese… but I suppose it’s ultimately just a variation on tuna casserole, right?

8. Figs

Actually, that might not be so bad. Figs are great on grilled cheese (try Big Girls Small Kitchen’s Roasted Sweet Potato and Fig Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Reduction), so why not in mac and cheese, too? Same basic ingredients; slightly different appearance.

9. Swap the Water for Stock

Cooking pasta and rice in stock instead of water is one of the simplest substitutions you can make, and the payoff is huge. Do it. Seriously. Just do it.

10. Stick It on a Pizza

Many’s the time I stared, equally fascinated and horrified, at the strange creation known as mac and cheese pizza as it sat in the tray at my pizza place of choice during college. Never once did I order it, too frightened of what it might be like… but some swear by its molten, cheesy goodness. You must judge for yourself whether you choose to venture forth into such territory.

11. Garlic

So simple. So effective. Adventures in Cooking’s Greek Mac and Cheese with roasted garlic and caramelized leeks will kick this idea way, way up.

12. Make It a Grilled Mac and Cheese Sandwich

Conversely, replace the bread with slabs of mac and cheese, not unlike what the Vulgar Chef did with his 100 percent cheese whoopie pie.

Images: Adventures in Cooking (2); What's Cooking Love?; Averie Cooks; Big Girls Small Kitchen