How to Upgrade Boxed Mac & Cheese

Mac n Cheese
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

When we’re not quite up for cooking but don’t want to spend big money on takeout, our lazy meal of choice is typically boxed macaroni and cheese. It’s a classic comfort food that never disappoints, and with carbohydrates, fat, and even some protein, more filling than other low-effort options. That said, the powdered cheese that most brands use can be a bit bland, and we typically like to include a few veggies in our meals whenever possible. Fortunately, we’ve found a few ways to doctor up boxed mac & cheese so that it’s more delicious and nutritious but still quick and easy to prepare. 

Add More Cheese

If you’re a serious cheese lover and the powdered mix doesn’t quite cut it, you can easily enhance the cheesiness of your mac by adding a bit of your own. Try a heavy handful of grated cheddar or ¼ of a block of cream cheese, stirring them into your prepared pasta along with the included cheese powder and a splash of milk. 

Eat Your Greens

Tossing in a few veggies is a great way to amp up the nutrition and make your mac and cheese a more well-rounded meal. Place a steamer basket with some chopped broccoli florets above your pasta while it cooks to soften them up, then stir them into your prepared pasta along with the cheese. For a bit of extra protein, add ½ cup of frozen peas, stirring gently to heat through.

Spice Things Up

Add a few shakes of your favorite spices to your mac and cheese to enhance its flavor and give it a little kick. Play around with options like garlic, onion, and paprika powder until you find a combination you enjoy, or try a dash of hot sauce if you can handle the heat. Top it all with some panko breadcrumbs for a satisfying crunch.