50+ Macaroni and Cheese Toppings

Updated on August 24, 2019
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Sadie has been creating content for herself and others for 10 years. She loves writing about animals, travel, food, and parenting!

How Many Ways Can You Eat Macaroni and Cheese?

Buttery, cheesy, yummy... one of my favorite guilty pleasure foods is macaroni and cheese.

This article started out as the the top 25 mac and cheese toppings, but it's quickly grown to 50 toppings!

Spoiler alert: My favorite macaroni and cheese ever is this bacon mac n cheese!

Feel free to add your own favorite toppings to the comments below.

50 Mac and Cheese Toppings

The Basics

  1. Sea salt and cracked fresh pepper: Gotta have some flavor!
  2. Garlic salt: Garlic goes with everything.
  3. More cheese: Sharp cheddar, pepper jack—you can never have too much cheese!
  4. Bread crumbs: Give it some texture.
  5. Salsa or jalapeños: Heat it up! (Try this jalapeno mac n cheese!)
  6. Crumbled chips or Cheez-its
  7. Parmesan
  8. Almonds


  1. Broccoli and cauliflower: Get your daily dose of iron.
  2. Shredded carrots: Cooked or raw! Improve your vision while eating comfort food!
  3. Tomatoes: High in antioxidants.
  4. Mushrooms: Get some fiber and lower your cholesterol.
  5. Beans: Protein!
  6. Tofu
  7. Bean sprouts
  8. Bamboo shoots
  9. Baby corn
  10. Squash and zucchini
  11. Scallions
  12. Roasted red peppers
  13. Grilled onions
  14. Cilantro


  1. Tuna
  2. Diced ham: Hot or cold; it's delicious!
  3. Grilled chicken: Healthy and low in fat.
  4. Shredded pork: Add some barbecue sauce.
  5. Bacon crumbles or turkey bacon
  6. Hot dogs
  7. Kielbasa
  8. Fried chicken pieces
  9. Lobster
  10. Shrimp
  11. Roast beef slices

Sauces and Seasonings

  1. Soy sauce: Give it an oriental feel; one of my favorite combos.
  2. Teriyaki: Such an interesting flavor.
  3. Hot sauce: If you like it hot, you'll like hot sauce on your mac.
  4. Ranch: Because everyone loves ranch.
  5. Toasted sesame oil: Try it, you may like it!
  6. Taco seasoning
  7. Truffle oil
  8. Mustard
  9. Ketchup
  10. White pepper
  11. Worcestershire sauce
  12. Curry powders
  13. Cayenne pepper
  14. Sour cream
  15. Chili flakes
  16. Chilies
  17. Butter

Some Recipes to Experiment With

Best Mac and Cheese Ever

You've got your favorite topping all picked out, but what kind of mac and cheese are you going to put it on? How about this one!


  • 1 lb uncooked shell noodles
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4 cups whole milk or 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 lb shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Bread Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons of melted butter


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F, and cook the noodles on the stovetop.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan over low heat so it doesn't burn.
  3. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire sauce, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  4. Cook ingredients over low-medium heat, stirring, until mixture is smooth.
  5. Remove from burner and stir in milk.
  6. Heat to boiling, while stirring. Boil and stir for 1 minute as mixture thickens.
  7. Stir in the cheese.
  8. Cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted.
  9. Drain noodles and stir into cheese sauce. Then pour into 4-quart casserole.
  10. Stir together bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top of the macaroni and cheese.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes until bread crumbs are toasted.

Carrot Macaroni and Cheese


  • 4 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Zest and juice of 1 navel orange, zest removed in strips with a vegetable peeler
  • Salt
  • 3 cups penne rigate
  • 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
  • Freshly ground white pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the carrots, zest, juice and 1/4 cup of water. Add salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer over low to medium heat until the carrots are completely soft. This will take about 25 minutes.
  4. Discard the zest. Pour carrots and any liquid into a blender and puree until smooth.
  5. In a large saucepan of boiling water, add salt and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, but save 1 cup of the cooking water.
  6. Put the pasta back into the pot and add the reserved water and the carrot puree. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese and cook, while stirring, until creamy. This will take about 3 minutes. Add the tarragon, stirring, and season with salt and white pepper.
  8. Pour the pasta into a baking dish and cover with the remaining 1/4 cheese.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes. It's best to let this one sit out for a few minutes before serving.

Light Macaroni and Cheese

Lighten it up a bit with this lower-fat macaroni and cheese recipe.


  • 3 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 (12-ounce) carton 2% low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 375*. Cook pasta, drain, place in large bowl.
  2. Pour cottage cheese into a food processor and process until it is smooth. Combine cottage cheese, cheddar, 1/4 cup parmesan, salt, and pepper. Add this mixture to the pasta and stir.
  3. Spoon mixture into a greased large glass or ceramic baking dish.
  4. Mix remaining 1/4 cup parmesan, panko, and parsley in a bowl. Sprinkle over pasta mixture.
  5. Bake at 375* for 10 minutes. Then, broil for 1 minute.

Waffled Macaroni and Cheese?

Yes, please! There's a website entirely devoted to seeing if things can be made into waffles, mac and cheese included. Here's a succinct version of the recipe.


  • Mac and cheese
  • Egg
  • Flour
  • Bread crumbs
  • Grease of some sort
  • A waffle iron


  1. Take leftover mac and cheese and spread it into a thin layer on a baking sheet and put it in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Cut out a waffle-sized slab of the mac. Dip it in flour, then eggs, then panko bread crumbs.
  3. Put it into your (well-greased) waffle maker for about 3 minutes.
  4. Careful when you take it out; it's fragile!


6. Broccoli and cauliflower - get your daily dose of iron.

7. Shredded carrots (cooked, or raw!) - improve your vision while eating comfort food!

8. Tomatoes- high in antioxidants.

9. Mushrooms - get some fiber and lower your cholesterol.

10. Beans - protein!


11. Tuna - tuna mac!

12. Diced ham - hot or cold, it's delicious!

13. Grilled chicken - healthy and low in fat.

14. Shredded pork - add some barbecue sauce.

15. Bacon crumbles - or try turkey bacon.


16. Tofu.

17. Bean sprouts.

18. Bamboo shoots.

19. Baby corn.

20. Squash and zucchini.


21. Soy sauce - give it an oriental feel, one of my favorite combos.

22. Teriyaki - such an interesting flavor.

23. Hot sauce - if you like it hot, you'll like hot sauce on your mac.

24. Ranch - because everyone loves ranch.

25. Toasted Sesame Oil - try it, you may like it!

Pick a Side!

Best Cheddar:

Votes for White Cheddar

Jennie: Always, always white cheddar (though my favorite cheese ever is havarti).

nina: I put a layer of pie crust over the mac and cheese

Daniel: I have heard of pulled pork in Mac and cheese, sounds amazing but have yet to try it.

Daniel: I have heard of pulled pork in Mac and cheese, sounds amazing but have yet to try it.

anonymous: Orange cheese on macaroni causes cancer. So white is healthy and delicious.

anonymous: Hot Fries us the best topping

hexadtraining: White

MelonyVaughan: Nothing is better than aged white cheddar! Yum!

aquarian_insight: An extra mature white...yum yum yum!

TailorMadeMomma: YUM YUM YUM!!!

Bill Armstrong: Scottish

Votes for Orange Cheddar

macandcheeseluva: orange is the best so yummy but it tastes so much better with breadcrumbs and some pepper jack cheese

carolynbeachgal: The best cheddar cheese for mac and cheese is aged extra sharp!

Marc: Ooooo it has to be Orange all the way! White looks like ghost cheese!

dumutu: I'm very hungry right now....:) Thanks..:)

fullofshoes: White for sandwiches ORANGE for mac n cheese!!!

TravelingRae: Orange melts more smoothly and is a must. But I like a bit of very sharp white for zip!

anonymous: Gotta be.

AshleySears LM: Orange cheddar is always the best!

dzigner: What a great idea for a lens. Great job and orange!

Kay: I'm a big fan of those bags of shredded mixed cheddars!

Heather McGlaughlin: Cheddar all the way

Rose Jones: A good Vermont cheddar.

Nicoyle: Never had white cheddar, so sticking with what I know.

Questions & Answers

    Do You Prefer White Mac or Orange/Yellow Mac?

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      • profile image


        6 years ago

        Hot Fries

      • kabbalah lm profile image

        kabbalah lm 

        6 years ago

        Mac & Cheese is great any way

      • profile image


        6 years ago

        I like bacon bits and extra cheese on my macaroni and cheese. Mac-n-cheese is like pizza. If you add toppings it can only get better! :)

      • KayeSI profile image


        7 years ago

        Great recipes. Bet my grandkids would love to try several of these. Thanks.

      • AshleySears LM profile image

        AshleySears LM 

        7 years ago

        Every time I visit this page, it makes me hungry! Oh how I love Mac and cheese

      • Rangoon House profile image


        7 years ago from Australia

        I like traditional macaroni and cheese - nothing fancy. In fact, so much so, I now know what is for dinner tonight. Blessings.

      • Rangoon House profile image


        7 years ago from Australia

        I like traditional macaroni and cheese - nothing fancy. In fact, so much so, I now know what is for dinner tonight. Blessings.

      • Barkely profile image


        7 years ago

        My husband likes ketchup on his mac and cheese, my son likes his straight up:-) Unfortunately wheat doesn't agree with me, so it's not something I get to eat...

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I like breadcrumbs. This crunchy topping takes that old fav to a whole new level for me!!!

      • MarcoG profile image


        7 years ago from Edinburgh

        I love Mac and Cheese with Chilli sauce...or Garlic Chikki sauce. In Scotland, they make it in a pie, that's really nice too...or in a toastie...nom nom nom x

      • sammyaddams lm profile image

        sammyaddams lm 

        7 years ago

        Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes, love the ideas to change it up.

      • lollyj lm profile image

        Laurel Johnson 

        7 years ago from Washington KS

        yum yum yum!! Love that mac and cheese!

      • MelonyVaughan profile image


        7 years ago

        Your lens has made me soooo hungry! I'm itching to try the waffled macaroni!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I was born and brought up in England, so mac and cheese is not something we eat much here. However, my Italian partner recently asked me to try to make some as he was curious about it. So, I found a recipe online and tried it, I have to say that I actually quite enjoyed it, especially with a topping of breadcrumbs. Thank you American friends and thank YOU for this lens.

      • Pam Irie profile image

        Pam Irie 

        7 years ago from Land of Aloha

        Any of the toppings on this page would be perfect for me. YUM!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I don't know if this is available in the US as I've never seen it there, but in Canada we have VH Asian Five Spice sauce and it is the perfect complement to mac and cheese. I like to dip a forkful into the sauce to get just a bit of zing.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        My kids, as everyone else's too love Mac and Cheese. You've made this hub and great spot to come back for other recipes to dazzle the child's taste buds, well done here! *blessed by a squid angel*

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        more ideas and more delicious. nice lens

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        So many choices. Very hard to pick. Great lens!

      • retta719 profile image


        7 years ago from United States

        a dash of paprika always goes great on top of mac and cheese!

      • shahedashaikh profile image


        7 years ago

        Really ravenous lens made me hungry.i have bookmarked for the toppings.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        These are really cool toppings, I have not tried them all but the ones listed look good.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Have you tried stove top cooking? I tried it with a frying pan full of water, take it to a boil, then add the macaroni noodles, when ready drain off the water and then add the cheese, it melts pretty fast and the ingredients are done in like minutes without baking.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        My kids like it when I put hot dogs in their macaroni and cheese meal, at first I thought it would not taste good but it does.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I like to add tomatoes to my pasta and cheese, it seems to add more flavor, you have some really great ideas here.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        I just made some mac and cheese last night, thanks for the recipes.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        This is one of my favorite dishes, thanks for all the amazing mac and cheese ideas.

      • clouda9 lm profile image

        clouda9 lm 

        7 years ago

        I could eat mac and cheese while standing on my head...that is how much I love it! And more cheese is always an option I use ;) *Blessed today for your yumilicious recipe shares and tasty addition ideas!

      • wheresthekarma profile image


        7 years ago

        Mmmmmmm that about sums it up!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Well this lens is truly an eyeopener. You certainly have some original toppings to put on macaroni. Don't know if I'd try one but they are original.

      • buttonhead lm profile image

        buttonhead lm 

        7 years ago

        Mmmm! These suggestions are amazing. I feel so boring, because I usually don't put anything in my mac and cheese -- except mac and cheese! But, I have to admit, sea salt sounds really good, and so goes bacon!

      • TTMall profile image


        7 years ago

        Thanks for sharing these great resources.

      • Gypzeerose profile image

        Rose Jones 

        7 years ago

        Angel blessed for great choices - especially the macaroni and cheese waffle.

      • VeseliDan profile image


        7 years ago

        All of these toppings sound delicious!

      • Bill Armstrong profile image

        Bill Armstrong 

        7 years ago from Valencia, California

        Great lens, gets my thumbs up

      • robyn26 profile image


        7 years ago

        love white cheddar

      • DianeNassy profile image


        7 years ago

        Never heard of waffled Mac N Cheese. Interesting!

      • LouisaDembul profile image


        7 years ago

        Fresh tomatoes and cauliflower!

      • Cold0911 profile image


        7 years ago

        There is a restaurant here in St. Louis that serves only oven baked skillet mac with about 30 different varieties.

        Only been once myself. I had a mac with provel cheese blend and salsiccia!

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Tomatoes and a variety of cheeses. You have several idea I hadn't thought of trying before. Time to get cooking.


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