As A Boxed Mac 'N' Cheese Fanatic, I Blind Taste_freckle removal atlanta

·17 min read

Few foods scream "comfort" like a piping hot bowl of mac 'n' cheese. When it comes to the boxed stuff, let's get one thing very clear: Though homemade versions may be undeniably delicious, boxedmac 'n' cheese will always taste like pure comfort.

Author holding up a bite of mac 'n' cheese on a spoon with text: "heaven"

I cook and write about food for a living, so I know, I know— in the flavor department, homemade mac 'n' cheese is basically unmatched...but there's something so satisfying about that classic box o' mac. The tiny, tubular noodles, the radioactively orange cheese powder — it just cannot be beat.

Ross Yoder

Growing up, I was a Kraft guy, with some Annie's Shells & White Cheddar every now and then (for good measure). Let me tell ya, the instant I taste that stuff as an adult, I'm rocketedback to my childhood. It's ~peak~ nostalgia. I know for a fact that I'm not the only one who feels this way, which is why I decided to figure out which box is the absolute best, once and for all.

Author holding up a variety of boxes of mac 'n' cheese while taking a selfie

I'll admit that initially, I had an inkling that boxed mac 'n' cheese varieties wouldn't taste all that different. Now that I've tasted them all, let's just say that I couldn't have been more wrong.

Ross Yoder

THE MAC 'N' CHEESES:

I've blind taste-tested and ranked a few grocery store staples now (like marinara sauces and frozen pepperoni pizzas), and the specific element that sets boxed mac 'n' cheese apart from the others is the sheer range of flavors and varieties out there. I mean, holy COW, it never ends! As a once-very-young millennial, I remember seeing only a couple of brands in the boxed mac section. Now you can choose from basically every type of "cheese" known to humankind. If you have a gluten or dairy intolerance — or both — you're covered.

All this to say: Defining the parameters of this experiment wasn't easy, but I eventually landed on nine popular varieties that were similar enough in flavor to be comparable, without all being absolute Kraft-wannabes.

These are the boxed mac 'n' cheeses that I ended up tasting — first, we've got the tried-and-true classics:

Three mac 'n' cheese boxes: Velveeta, Annie's Original, and Kraft

Velveeta Shells & Cheese

Annie's Macaroni & Classic Cheddar

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese

Ross Yoder

Next, these were the house brands:

Three mac 'n' cheese boxes: Walmart's, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's

Walmart — Great Value Macaroni & Cheese (Original Cheddar)

Whole Foods — 365 Organic Macaroni & Cheese

Trader Joe's — Macaroni & Cheese (Wisconsin Cheddar)

Ross Yoder

Finally, I landed on these three "fancy" versions of the classics — including one that was gluten-free:

Three mac 'n' cheese boxes: Kraft Deluxe, Annie's Grassfed, and Banza

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Deluxe

Annie's Organic Grassfed Macaroni & Classic Cheddar

Banza Mac & Cheese — Shells + Classic Cheddar

Ross Yoder

THE EXPERIMENT:

Arrow pointing to author's dog with text "a mac n cheese thief" while the author eats a bowl of mac 'n' cheese with a blindfold on

Like the rest of my grocery store product rankings, I blind taste-tested each variety thanks to this handy-dandy sleep mask. Have I ever used it for sleeping? Nope. Only taste tests. Neat!

Ross Yoder

Even neater? Somehow my partner was willing to feed me mac 'n' cheese like a small child so I didn't spill it all over myself. If that's not true love, IDK what is.

Ross Yoder

(editor:)

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