15 Cheesy and Creative Mac and Cheese Recipes

Thanksgiving is all about comfort foods and home-cooking. With so many iconic flavors and dishes present at the table, those of us who are very serious about our cheeses would argue that there’s something missing… something cheesy. Mac n’ Cheese is the ultimate comfort food, it’s kid-friendly and it can be prepared in endlessly different ways to fit in with the rest of your spread. It’s no coincidence that cheese goes so well with the autumn flavors.. ‘cause, well, cheese goes with everything.

Killer [Classic] Mac n’ Cheese: Let’s start off with something familiar (but by no means average). If you’ve got yourself a large crowd to please and/or many younger mouths to feed, then maybe it’s best that you stick with a scrumptious execution of the classic that everyone knows and loves. Like most baked mac and cheeses, it starts with a roux and ends in a golden crispy finish. (Recipe and photo: The Kitchen Alchemist)

Killer Classic Mac n’ Cheese


Stovetop Mac n’ Cheese: We must set mac n’ cheeses of the baked variety apart from those that spend no time in the oven. Enthusiasts of the dish will generally stand behind one or the other, based on their taste and texture preferences. While those that dwell in the oven tend to be crispier and cheesier, stovetop versions are smoother, creamier and more reminiscent of how most of us experienced mac n’ cheese as youngins. This batch here comes with a little kick a la Creole. (Recipe and photo: Damn Delicious)

Stovetop Mac n’ Cheese


Pumpkin Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese: We may be done carving our pumpkins, but we are not done craving them. This most delicious Thursday marks the pinnacle of the pumpkin craze, and if you’re like us then you probably lack the patience to wait until that pie is finally unveiled. This is a good option for those with a tight baking schedule as all it requires of the oven is a few minutes under the broiler. (Recipe and photo: Taste and Tell featured on NoshOn.It)

Pumpkin Cheddar Mac n’ Cheese


Baked Brussels Sprout Mac n’ Cheese: While a regular attendee at many a holiday feast, some people have yet to warm up to the brussels sprout. However, if there was ever a surefire way to convert a crowd of those opposed, this is it: by roasting them to crispy perfection and then baking them into breaded mac n’ cheesy goodness. (Recipe and photo: Yummy Mummy Kitchen)

Baked Brussels Sprout Mac and Cheese


Creamy Crockpot Mac and Cheese: The stove is at capacity, the oven is a losing game of corningware tetris, you fear that all of this multitasking is going to give you a brain aneurism and you’re still not sure that there’s going to be enough food… does this sound familiar? Do you have a slow-cooker? If so, praised be the crockpot lords, you’re saved! This tasty no-fusser requires but a few minutes of prep. (Recipe and photo: Seeded At The Table)

Creamy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese


Truffle Mac n’ Cheese: Don’t let any yummy-in-the-tummy connotations mislead you, once it gets a little wine in its system, this crowd favorite can be very sophisticated. Truffle oil is tossed with cooked pasta that is then mixed into a sauce based on reduced white wine, taking this dish to the next level. The resulting mac is aromatic, luscious and oh so creamy. You don’t need an oven, or a roux. (Recipe and photo: I Am a Food Blog)

Truffle Mac and Cheese


Apple n’ Swiss Chicken Mac n’ Cheese: Perfect for those who fancy a mac on the mild side. Made in a skillet, apples and sage complement the swiss and provide yet another taste of fall that will fit right in with all the others. If you feel like a recipe made with chicken puts too many birds on the table, then leave it out or swap in some extra turkey (killing two birds with one stone, if you will). (Recipe and photo: Horses n’ Heels)

Apple n’ Swiss Chicken Mac n’ Cheese


Roasted Green Chile Mac n’ Cheese: Conversely, perhaps you prefer your mac with a little kick. Maybe you want to spice things up this Thanksgiving. Since it’s not exactly hatch chile season, you may have to settle for a more accessible chile (poblanos have a similar spice profile and are easy to get your hands on). The idea is the same; leave more or less seeds to control the heat. (Recipe and photo: Life’s Ambrosia)

Roasted Chile Mac n’ Cheese


Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese: If you were looking for a snazzy new way to incorporate potatoes into your thanksgiving spread, here it is. In this recipe, a traditionally rich dish is made even richer. We’re talking full-flavor, cream sauce, gruyere and fontina (a sharp and dynamic duo), potato gnocchi puffing up in the oven. This ultimate comfort food will make for a killer side dish and happy bellies all around. (Recipe and photo: The Cutting Edge of Ordinary)

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese


Beer Mac n’ Cheese: Hold on to your seats, this is a thing. Even if you don’t love to drink beer, there’s never a bad time to discover its neat cooking properties. Unique in both texture and flavor, this dish opens up the door to a whole new magical realm of mac n’ cheesy possibilities. But which beer to choose? The creators of this recipe went with something of the amber variety but well… that’s your cross to bear (beer). (Recipe and photo: Live Love Pasta)

Beer Mac n’ Cheese


Quinoa Spinach “Mac” n’ Cheese: Who ever said that Mac n’ Cheese can’t be healthy? It totally can be (well, healthier, anyways). With quinoa in place of pasta, the carby classic transforms into a proteinous “Popeye-approved” alternative that doesn’t compromise any of the creaminess. (Recipe and photo: Two Peas and Their Pod)

Quinoa Spinach Mac and Cheese


Tuscan Mac n’ Cheese with Kale and Turkey Bacon: In the spirit of Thanksgiving and keeping everything turkey-friendly, here’s a semi-healthy rendition featuring bacon of the turkey persuasion. With whole wheat pasta, cannellini beans used as a thickener, and kale laced throughout, you’ll be able to enjoy this just as much as any other without a huge hit to your waistline. (Recipe and photo: The Scrumptious Pumpkin)


Tuscan Mac and Cheese with Kale and Turkey Bacon

French Onion Soup Mac n’ Cheese: And now for a fusion of two comfort foods… holy hybrid. We’d like you to meet mac n’ cheese, all grown up. In all respects it is an authentic mac n’ cheese, but it just so happens to contain all of the components of french onion soup. Your guests will ooh and ahh as you give Paneras all over the country a run for their money. (Recipe and photo: Bakeaholic Mama via Savory Simple)

French Onion Soup Macaroni and Cheese

Bacon Langostino Mac n’ Cheese: Toying with the idea of doing a seafood dish this year? Langostinos make a great addition to the classic mac n’ cheese. A crustacean somewhat resembling a small lobster with a flavor similar to (but slightly sweeter than) that of shrimp, here langostinos are complemented by smoked cheddar, cooked shallots and – you guessed it – bacon. This unique take on the dish doesn’t call for too many other ingredients and is sure to be a hit. You can substitute in shrimp, crab or lobster. (Recipe and photo: Foodness Gracious)

Bacon Langostino Mac and Cheese