Rice-A-Roni Makes Mac and Cheese Now—and We Tried It

Well folks, the day has finally arrived. The day when Rice-A-Roni, the brand forever known as “that stuff that sounds like it is going to involve macaroni but is actually just rice with seasonings,” fulfills its “a-roni” promises. That’s right, the makers of Rice-A-Roni have finally released a boxed mac and cheese called Mac-A-Roni in both Creamy Cheddar and Creamy White Cheddar flavors, so of course we had to give it a try-a-roni.

I cooked up both flavors at the same time using the same butter and milk and following the exact instructions on the box (gotta be scientific-a-roni). It should be noted that you can also makes these in the microwave, but I didn’t test that—stovetop seems like the way to go for good mac and cheese (plus, the stovetop instructions were in much larger print on the box).

new mac-a-roni creamy white cheddar mac and cheese review

New Product!

Mac-A-Roni Creamy White Cheddar

Pros: Okay, pop off, Mr. A-Roni, sir. This is a damn good boxed mac and cheese. It is velvety smooth, super salty but not offensively so, and stays creamy-dreamy for at least 20 minutes after you make it. The main thing that this boxed mac does better than Kraft or Annie’s is that the noodles are bouncy and al dente—this is actual elbow macaroni that holds its curved shape, unlike Kraft “mac.”

Cons: I like my white cheddar boxed mac just a bit tangier, sharper, and nuttier. This is where Annie has Mr. A-Roni beat. This is a good white cheddar sauce, don’t get me wrong. It is salty, creamy, cheesy, and certainly a little sharper than its orange cheddar counterpart. I just think it could use significantly more funky tang.




new mac-a-roni creamy cheddar rice-a-roni

New Product!

Mac-A-Roni Creamy Cheddar

Pros: This looks and tastes similar to a Kraft Mac & Cheese, but there are a few notable differences. The first is the glorious, chewy texture of the noods. This is the least “blah” boxed mac and cheese pasta texture I have experienced to date (granted, I haven’t experienced all of them). Then there’s the flavor—Creamy Cheddar Mac-A-Roni has a hint of spice in the sauce that makes it interesting and complex. This baffled me a bit at first, but then I read through the ingredients (more scientific-a-roni behavior) and concluded that the turmeric and paprika they use to color this mac might actually be adding some unexpected depth of flavor that I actually quite like.

Cons: This Mac-A-Roni wasn’t quite salty enough for me, especially compared to the white cheddar version. Also, and there is certainly a chance this is user error, but I measured things pretty carefully and the Creamy Cheddar cheese sauce was a bit less creamy than the Creamy White Cheddar sauce and congealed more quickly. An hour or so after I made these, there was still some of the white sauce sticking around in the bowl but the orange sauce had largely absorbed into the noodles.




About the Author

Jessica Block

Jessica Block is a freelance contributor to Sporked, a comedian, a baker, a food writer, and a firm believer that Trader Joe's may just be the happiest place on earth. She loves spicy snacks, Oreos, baking bread, teeny tiny avocados, and trying new foods whenever she can. Also, if you give her a bag of Takis she will be your best friend.

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