The best frozen mac and cheese is creamy and indulgent and puts the boxed stuff to shame when it’s done right. Whether you’re looking for a mac worthy of your holiday table or you just want to upgrade dinner, read on for the best macaroni and cheese you’ll find in the frozen aisle.
Frozen macaroni and cheese is indulgent and delicious—but it isn’t for control freaks. If you like having control over the doneness of your pasta—for instance, if you like your macaroni to the tooth (aka al dente)—frozen mac and cheese probably isn’t for you. This stuff is saucy and, generally, that makes for soft pasta. But let’s rewind and focus on the good. Like I said, this stuff is saucy. Cheese-saucy. It feels like special-occasion food, but there’s no reason you couldn’t throw a tray of it in the oven for dinner any night.
We grabbed some of the most popular brands of frozen mac and cheese at the grocery store, cooked them as recommended (if oven was the first suggestion we went with that; otherwise, they went in the microwave), and tasted them back to back. You can’t go wrong with any of these frozen mac and cheese brands.
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- Patti’s Good Life Mac & Cheese
Patti LaBelle is a music industry icon (c’mon, she has two tracks on the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack). And if this mac and cheese from her lifestyle brand, Patti’s Good Life, is any indication, she’s also an absolute maniac in the kitchen. There are four servings of mac and cheese in this box and each individual serving packs 34 grams of fat and 20 grams of saturated fat. With stats like that, you’d assume this was indulgent—and you’d be correct. This mac and cheese, made with both cheddar and Monterey jack, isn’t just cheesy. It’s so, so buttery. Honestly, my new life goal is scoring a Thanksgiving or Easter invite to Patti LaBelle’s house, because you know this woman is loading her sides and casseroles with pounds of butter like god intended. But this frozen mac and cheese isn’t the best just because it’s egregious; it’s the best because it’s really well seasoned and tastes absolutely excellent.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- Beecher’s “World’s Best” Mac & Cheese
Beecher’s claims to make the “World’s Best” mac and cheese. And in terms of overall flavor, no joke, this may be the best frozen mac and cheese you can buy. But here’s the thing: This isn’t macaroni! It’s penne, my dudes, and as an Italian American, I couldn’t in good conscience give a penne and cheese the top spot on a macaroni and cheese list. That said, holy shit, this stuff is good. Beecher’s eschews a homogenous mystery cheese sauce for one that’s redolent of sharp white cheddar (Beecher’s Flagship cheddar, to be precise) and plenty of paprika. I cooked this one in the oven because that was the first suggestion on the package, and it browned up really nicely. Scoop this in a Pyrex and put it on your holiday table; no one will know it isn’t homemade. Just don’t gaslight guests by calling it macaroni!
Credit: Merc / Vons
- Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese
As we so often say, this one is a classic for a reason. Yes, the macaroni is mushy rather than al dente and the flavor of the cheese sauce doesn’t have a whole lot of complexity, but it’s warm and creamy and satisfying in a way that doesn’t require a lot of thought. No thinking, just eating. Whenever I have Stouffer’s frozen macaroni and cheese I always wonder why I don’t eat it more often. It’s a treat-yourself side that’s easy as hell (I love that the edges brown up even when you cook the tray in the microwave, which we did in this case). This is the best frozen mac and cheese you can buy if you’re feeding a big group with a bunch of kids.
Credit: Merc / Instacart
- Amy’s Macaroni & Cheese
The image on the box isn’t lying—this stuff is saucy as all get out. And the cheese sauce is definitely the star here. It’s silky and creamy and doesn’t separate like some other cheese sauces tend to. Even if you eat this with a fork, every bite packs a mouthful of sauce. That said, the sauce could stand to be a little tastier, but if you want something that won’t dry out on the table, this is the best frozen mac and cheese you can buy.
Credit: Merc / Walmart
- Trader Joe’s Joe’s Diner Mac and Cheese
This macaroni and cheese from Trader Joe’s reminded me of macaroni and cheese you’d get at a Southern meat-and-three restaurant—it’s cheesy rather than saucy, it browns up nicely on top (even in the microwave), and it’s good and buttery. “There is a psychotic amount of cheese on this,” I wrote in my notes, and I certainly wasn’t complaining. At $2.99 a box, this is an any-night meal that feels special and indulgent.
Credit: Merc / Trader Joe’s
Best of the Best
Best Sauce Consistency
Other products we tried: 365 Family Size Macaroni & Cheese, Banquet Mac & Cheese, Marie Callender’s White Cheddar Mac & Cheese, Michelina’s Macaroni & Cheese
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Thoughts? Questions? Complete disagreement? Leave a comment!
Have you tried GFS Artisan Mac and Cheese???? When I tried it for the first time, it actually changed my life forever. I could not believe frozen Mac and cheese could be that good.