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Kraft Mac N Cheese
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

A Definitive Ranking of the Best Store Bought Mac & Cheese

I consider my knowledge about macaroni and cheese to be slightly higher than the average person. I have been conducting research for this article for about two months now, which as you can imagine was an amazing experience, and gave me the perfect excuse to eat lots of mac and cheese.  In this article, I will be ranking mac and cheese from various brands (both boxed and frozen) according to texture, flavor, and appearance.

1. Trader Joes Mac n’ Cheese

I am going to start the with the absolute best. The texture: phenomenal. The cheese is thick, gooey, and stringy.  Some may say there’s too much cheese, but I don’t think there’s such thing as too much cheese. The flavor unmatched. It’s a four-cheese blend of cheddar, swiss, gouda, and havarti. Appearance: extremely visually appealing. The cheese is a perfectly orange/yellow color. The pasta is the classic elbow macaroni shape, perfectly traditional.

Bonus: Trader Joe’s Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese

Not that you should EVER feel guilty about eating what you love, but if you are more health conscious, this tastes very similar to Trader Joe’s regular Mac n’ Cheese. It’s a little less cheesy, and the portion is smaller, but its just as amazing and will still blow your mind.

2. Stouffer’s Macaroni and Cheese

Another stellar option. The texture is a creamy and thick cheddar cheese sauce. Some may say it can be thin and soupy, but I have personally never experienced this. The flavor is outstanding.  It’s a classic cheddar cheese flavor, nothing special but that’s what I like about it. It has a nice glossy look to it when it comes out of the microwave, and if you overcook it a little bit, the edges will get nice and crispy.

3. Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

Kraft mac and cheese will always have a special place in my heart. Especially since I’ve been eating it my whole life. Unlike the ones above, Kraft mac and cheese is made on the stove, so it’s a little more time-consuming, but worth it every time. The texture of the cheese is creamy and smooth, but I like adding about a quarter cup of plain Greek yogurt, which makes it so much creamier. Appearance-wise, Kraft is another winner.

4. Trader Joes Vegan Mac

Trader Joes has also recently created a vegan mac and cheese (AKA Vegan Mac). I’m ranking it a little lower because I wasn’t a hug fan of the “cheese”; however, I know many other people who love it. The large pasta shells are my favorite part of this mac and cheese. The sauce is very creamy, but as I said, something about the flavor is off for me.

P.S. Trader Joe’s Vegan Mac is in the refrigerator section, not frozen.

5. Lean Cuisine Macaroni and Cheese

Again, I believe the recipe could be slightly altered for this one. The flavor was pretty bland, nothing very special. I usually prefer creamier sauces, but the sauce here is a little too liquidy in my opinion. However, its worth mentioning that this is one of the healthier options on my list, with 14 grams of protein and 300 calories.

6. Bob Evans Macaroni and Cheese

I felt like Bob Evan’s mac and cheese was very salty and didn’t have a very cheesy flavor. If I were eating it with my eyes closed, I may have thought it was pasta with butter and salt. Like Lean Cuisine’s, it was also a bit too liquidy for my preference.

7. Banquet Mac & Cheese

Banquet Mac & Cheese is the final one I tried. I saw it in the grocery store and decided to buy it because the picture on the box does look appetizing. However, I am going to be honest, I was quite disappointed when I made it later that day. It barely had any flavor to it, and tasted very watery. After I was done, most of the container was still filled with the liquidy sauce. I was not a very big fan of this brand.

Lindsey is studying Fashion Business Management at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her hobbies include spying on cute dogs, finding new ice cream places, and shopping. Follow her Instagram @lindseylabarbera
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