DISCLAIMER: This post was developed in sponsored partnership with Inspired Organics. As always, all opinions are my own and genuine.
If you’re looking for something creamy and delicious, you know that good ol’ mac n cheese is a comfort food classic! This easy method will show you how to make box mac n cheese better with a few simple tricks and additions. Who knew easy could taste so good!?
Why This Recipe Works
If you’ve ever run short on time, only to be faced with a grumbling tummy, you know how great a box of mac n cheese can be! These meals-in-a-box can be a lifesaver when you need a last minute meal. OR if your body is craving something warm, comforting and cheesy.
And while sometimes a gooey bowl of mac n cheese is exactly what you wanted, other times you may be wanting something a little more substantial OR something with some flavor variation. Enter in this easy (and awesome) recipe for Loaded Boxed Mac N Cheese!
With just a few easy tips and mix-ins, a box of mac n cheese goes from great to fabulous! The best part is that it’s totally customizable to your tastes, cravings, and what you have on hand. I love throwing in some leftover grilled chicken from the night before, or a scoop of browned ground beef. Not only does it add flavor, but it also adds some satisfying protein. Perfect for a simple lunch, or a quick and easy dinner.
For this recipe, I love to use Inspired Organics Deluxe Cheddar Elbows. It’s super creamy, flavorful, and an absolute favorite of mine! I’ve also used it to make this Cheesy Hamburger Soup Recipe, which is so quick and easy to make, and one of my favorite Fall and Winter comfort foods.
Tips for How to Make Box Mac N Cheese Better
- Salt the water – Every good cook will tell you that the secret to good pasta is to use salted water! Italians like it to be “salty like the sea”, but even a few pinches will help to add flavor to your finished mac n cheese.
- Reserve the cooking liquid – Keeping some of the salty, starchy cooking water to add to the sauce is a trick that is used in a lot of pasta dishes. You can make your boxed mac n cheese that much better by using this technique. It helps the sauce stick to the noodles and makes everything that much more silky and creamy.
- Use a brand with sauce – Whenever possible, use a boxed mac n cheese that comes with a sauce, like Inspired Organics. Their mac n cheese uses cheese sauce VS cheese powder which, personally, I’m a huge fan of. I’d highly recommend checking out their store locator on their website and seeing where you can get it near you- it’s seriously my fave. Their cheese sauce is just absolute perfection!
- If you don’t have a brand with sauce, you can still give it a boost. Try incorporating these tips: use whole milk, and make the sauce separately, rather than mixing it into the cooked macaroni. This gives you more control and helps distribute the sauce evenly, rather than in clumps.
- Switch it up with mix-ins – If you want to feel fancy, or add some variety, add some mix-ins into your bowl! This could include veggies, protein options, or seasonings and garnishes.
What Can I Add to Store Bought Mac N Cheese?
- Veggies: You can get pretty creative with this, but I like to keep it simple and add a bag of microwaved broccoli. That way I’m still prepping a super simple meal, and adding in some fiber rich veggies at the same time. You can add whatever you like best!
- Protein: A good source of protein will help you feel fuller, for longer, so it’s always my go-to when considering what to add to store bought mac n cheese. You can use leftovers from your fridge, like grilled chicken, steak or cooked ground beef. You could also add in chunks of deli meat or some canned tuna for a quick fix!
- Extra flavorings: One of my favorite additions is everything but the bagel seasoning, but you can do whatever seasonings or garnishes you like best. Think cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic salt, diced green onions, etc.
Add your mac n cheese to an oven safe dish, and add a tablespoon or so of milk or water. Stir as well as you can, then cover the dish tightly and bake at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes, or until warmed through.
Both boxed and homemade mac n cheese can be frozen. If you’re freezing boxed mac and cheese, simply add the cooled pasta to a freezer bag and remove any excess air. Label and place in the freezer for up to 2 months. For homemade, freeze either baked or unbaked, tightly covered with foil. Thaw completely before baking.
First, allow your leftovers to cool until they are no longer hot. Add them to an airtight container or tightly wrapped bowl, and store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat either in the microwave or oven, adding 1 tablespoon of milk or water to help prevent it from drying out.
There are a variety of ways to enjoy this classic comfort food as leftovers. You can reheat and eat as is, or you can incorporate it into new dishes. Think adding pizza sauce, mozzarella, and chopped pepperoni to make a pizza mac. OR ground beef, cheese, pickles, and chopped tomato to make a yummy cheeseburger mac. The possibilities are endless!
Be sure to check out the Inspired Organics website to find where you can snag some of their products near you! I’m not joking when I say this is my favorite mac & cheese- it’s SO good!
If you love this recipe, be sure to leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below!
Don’t forget to pin it on your Pinterest board for later, or tag me on IG @no.food.rules if you try it and love it!
More Easy Dinner Ideas
Loaded Boxed Mac N Cheese
- 1 box of Inspired Organics Mac N Cheese
- 1 cup of steamed broccoli optional
- 1 cup of diced grilled chicken optional
- 1 tbsp everything but the bagel seasoning optional
- 1 tbsp green onions chopped (optional)
- Add a dash of salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil.
- Reserve ~¼ cup of pasta water to add in to help your sauce stick to the noodles
- When possible use a boxed mac n cheese with a sauce, like Inspired Organics! They’re the most creamy dreamy! Add 1-2 tbsp of your reserved pasta water to help the cheese sauce stick to the noodles. You can add more or less depending on how thick or thin you like your sauce.
- Next, add in any optional ingredients you’ll be adding. Mix it up and enjoy!
Reserve the cooking liquid: Keeping some of the salty, starchy cooking water to add to the sauce helps the sauce stick to the noddles and makes everything that much more silky and creamy.
Use a brand with sauce: Whenever possible, use a boxed mac n cheese that comes with a sauce, like Inspired Organics. Their mac n cheese uses cheese sauce VS cheese powder which, personally, I'm a huge fan of. I'd highly recommend checking out their store locator on their website and seeing where you can get it near you- it's my fave!
Using Powdered Sauce: If you don't have a brand with sauce, you can still make it taste better by incorporating a few tips and tricks: use whole milk, and make the sauce separately, rather than mixing it into the cooked macaroni. This gives you more control and helps distribute the sauce evenly, rather than in clumps.
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