16 Mac and Cheese Upgrades You’ll Wish You Tried Sooner

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16 Mac and Cheese Upgrades You’ll Wish You Tried Sooner | Whether you prefer your mac and cheese instant and out of a (Kraft) box, or you like your own homemade recipe, these mac and cheese recipe upgrades are where it's at! We've included both healthy and glutinous ideas, from gluten-free mac and cheese with zucchini noodles, to mac and cheese stuffed peppers, to fried mac and cheese (you're welcome), to lobster mac and cheese and so much more!

Mac and cheese is one of the most loved comfort foods out there. Whether you make it homemade or out of the box, there’s nothing quite like a good bowl of mac and cheese. However, if you’re feeling a little tired of traditional mac and cheese and want to switch it up a bit, there are awesome mac and cheese upgrades you can try for delicious twists on your favourite dish!

8 Healthy Mac and Cheese Upgrades

1. Peas
Peas are such a simple addition to mac and cheese, but they add a flavourful punch. They work together perfectly, whether you make the white or classic mac and cheese. Boil a cup of frozen peas right in with the noodles to add a good dose of fibre and antioxidants. Stir in the sauce and bon appetite!

2. Healthy Mac and Cheese with Butternut Squash | Pinch of Yum
Butternut squash provides an abundance of health benefits due to its richness in vitamins, minerals and fibre. This healthy mac and cheese recipe is made with a butternut squash purée, which makes it super creamy in combination with the cheese.

3. Tuna and Cheese
Tuna, noodles and cheese just make sense together. Adding tuna and extra cheese to your mac and cheese makes it like a nice, creamy casserole dish. Plus, you’re adding protein, omega-3s and other essential vitamins like B12.

4. Gluten Free Mac and Cheese with Zucchini Noodles | Food Faith Fitness
If you’re looking for a healthy, gluten free mac and cheese option, stop your scroll. This recipe uses zucchini noodles and Greek yogurt to keep it light, low carb and protein packed. You may not think that something made with veggie noodles would be this comforting, but it absolutely is!

5. Jalapeños
Hot peppers are a great way to add some flavour and kick to your mac and cheese. They’re full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants and are a low calorie option to add to your dish.

6. Healthy Mac and Cheese with Broccoli | Chocolate Covered Katie
Not only is this recipe made with broccoli for a healthy upgrade, it’s also free of the unhealthy saturated fat and calories you’ll find in traditional recipes. This healthy mac and cheese is low-fat, high protein and under 250 calories per serving. It tastes just as delicious as the classic, with so many added benefits.

7. Mushrooms and Thyme
Mushrooms of any kind are a great, healthy addition to mac and cheese. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, fibre and protein, and are also a good source of antioxidants. Sauté sliced mushrooms in a pan with olive oil or butter and chopped up fresh thyme. Once the mac and cheese is ready, mix in the mushrooms and thyme for an added dose of flavour!

8. Italian Meatball Mac and Cheese Stuffed Peppers | Half Baked Harvest
These mac and cheese stuffed peppers are a totally upgraded way of doing mac and cheese. Bell peppers are chock full of antioxidants and vitamins, and also contain a good dose of fibre, folate and iron. Mix in spicy Italian meatballs and you have a seriously delicious meal.

8 Glutinous Mac and Cheese Upgrades

1. Lobster Mac and Cheese | Amy in the Kitchen
Lobster mac and cheese is one of the most delicious and indulgent meals. This recipe is loaded with 3 different types of cheese, juicy chunks of lobster and topped with bacon and breadcrumbs. It’s the ultimate creamy comfort food dish everyone will love!

2. Ground Beef and Chilli Powder
Adding ground beef and chilli powder is the perfect mac and cheese combination for game day. Cook up the ground beef and add a few dashes of chilli powder for a mac-and-cheese-meets-chilli dish. Top it with sour cream and some jalapeños for extra punch!

3. Mac and Cheese with Bacon and Caramelized Onion | Julia’s Album
For a seriously glutinous upgraded mac and cheese dish, this recipe adds bacon and caramelized onion to the mix. She even recommends using prosciutto or pancetta in place of bacon to make it even fancier. It’s the perfect adult mac and cheese that can be served as is or as a side dish!

4. Fried Mac and Cheese | Spicy Southern Kitchen
If you’re looking for a fun, unique spin on mac and cheese, these fried mac and cheese balls are perfect for any party or event. It’s more of a timely process to make these, but it will be totally worth it in the end. Serve with warm pizza sauce and you have a killer appetizer!

5. Spicy Italian Sausage and Onions
For this recipe, start by sautéing diced onions, then add in broken up pieces of spicy Italian sausage. Once everything is cooked through, simply add it to your favourite mac and cheese recipe for a mouthwatering addition.

6. Steak Cheddar Mac and Cheese | Pinch of Yum
Looking for an adult mac and cheese dish you can pair with a glass of red wine? We’ve got you covered. This velvety mac and cheese recipe is upgraded with sirloin steak cut into small pieces. She also adds fresh parsley for some extra flavour!

7. Pulled Pork
Rich and creamy mac and cheese is the perfect base for pulled pork. It’s truly a match made in heaven and works for any time of the year. Whip up some tender pulled pork with barbecue sauce and swirl it into your mac and cheese for a seriously divine dish.

8. Baked Crab Mac and Cheese | Show Me the Yummy
Perfectly cooked pasta, crab and a creamy asiago cheese sauce make for one delectable combination. Add a crunchy breadcrumb topping and you’re sure to come back to this recipe again and again. Use fresh crab for the most decadent taste and indulgence in this creamy, flavourful dish.

Any mac and cheese lover is sure to gobble up these healthy and glutinous upgrades! Try these recipes for a seriously delicious twist on everyone’s favourite comfort food dish.

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