11 Crazy Good Ways to Dress Up Mac and Cheese

Dinner, Featured Article, Recipes
on August 20, 2015
Buttercup and Bourbon

If your mac ‘n’ cheese knowledge is limited to pre-portioned pasta and powdered cheese… we’re here to help. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with warm carbs and cheese, but truly, the variations are endless. Here, we’ve rounded up 11 diverse and (dare we say it?) fancy mac ‘n’ cheese recipes to guide you into your adventures beyond the box.

Oxtail Macaroni Gratin

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Foolproof Living

This French take on macaroni and cheese is the royal highness of this list. It doesn’t get much fancier than a decadent baked pasta featuring oxtail and béchamel sauce. We’re going to call this version luxurious and exotic.

Hearty Macaroni and Cheese pizza

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Nellie Bellie

Pizza plus mac ‘n’ cheese? We’re excited too. This hearty and decadent recipe features a deep dish pizza crust filled with macaroni and cheese, then topped with crushed butter crackers.

Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese

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The La Crema Blog

This recipe is a no-brainer for seafood lovers. Featuring dungeness crab in a homemade cheddar and gruyere béchamel sauce, this pasta is mouth watering delight perfect for anyone with penchant for crab (and a disdain for dieting).

“Grown-Up’s” Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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The Cozy Apron

Featuring sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto and three kinds of cheese, there’s nothing childlike about this macaroni and cheese (except maybe the pure delight that occurs during consumption). Try this dish out for hosting a more mature audience, and we promise you’ll never go back to the blue box.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Doughnuts 

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Cupcake Project

You read right! We’re talkin’ mac and cheese DOUGHNUTS—and the recipe is surprisingly simple. While still cheesy as ever, these bad boys are baked in doughnut form and then fried to achieve a crispy exterior and maintain a liquid-cheese interior.

Baked Mac ‘n’ Cheese

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A Sweet Pea Chef

Classic baked mac ‘n’ cheese is nothing new, we know, but it deserves a nod. This one features all the necessary ingredients for decadence—heavy cream, milk, and two kinds of cheeses. This recipe calls for penne noodles instead of macaroni noodles because ribbed penne gives the creamy cheese sauce a little somethin’ extra to grab on to.

Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

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Olivia’s Cuisine

Crunchy on the outside, creamy on in the inside—these fried treats are just the ticket for an abundance of leftover mac ‘n’ cheese. They’re addictive in all the best ways, and in this post, Olivia provides detailed step-by-step instructions to nail your frying technique first try.

Shrimp Mac and Cheese

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Creole Contessa

This Creole sensation adds far more than just seafood to classic mac ‘n’ cheese. Complete with southern seasonings, sauteed shrimp, cream sauce, and bread crumbs, this unforgettable concoction is sure to make your mouth water. It’s definitely a special occasion rendition.

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

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Buttercup and Bourbon

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of fat and carbs in all of your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese dishes, this butternut squash recipe is the perfect break from overindulgence. The taste and velvety texture of the squash maintains its status as comfort food, but minimizes the amount of cheesy calories in this meal. Try this one for a healthy, but still delicious, alternative to traditionally pretty unhealthy mac ‘n’ cheese.

Smoky Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Burgers

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I Am Chef

Ready to dive back into overindulgence? This smoky pulled pork burger features mac ‘n’ cheese made with cheddar and brie. You won’t want to miss out on this unforgettable sandwich combo.

Gouda Cheddar Beer Mac

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The Beeroness

This recipe comes complete with a detailed step-by-step, and it’s full of tips to achieve the most incredible beer mac ‘n’ cheese out there. Come on—it’s cheese and beer. What’s not to like, right?