• Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More) 1
  • Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More) 2
  • Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More) 3
  • Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More) 4
  • Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More) 5

Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses in 2021 (Velveeta, Kraft, and More)

A creamy bowl of macaroni and cheese is a go-to comfort food. Boxed mac and cheese makes it super easy to enjoy this meal: Just cook the pasta on the stove or in the microwave and add the included cheese packet. Whether you're looking for an easy kid-friendly dinner, searching for a cheesy high-calorie energy boost, or wanting to get your comfort food fix, boxed mac and cheese is here for you!


To make grocery shopping a breeze, we put together a list of the top 10 best boxed mac and cheeses. First place goes to Original Velveeta Shells and Cheese. The convenient pre-liquefied sauce means you don't need any extra ingredients to enjoy this creamy and cheesy mac. We also created a buying guide so you can find the best boxed mac and cheese for you. 

Experts featured in this article

Kara Swanson
  • Last updated: 04-25-2021
  • 1,493 views
Table of Contents

Top 10 Best Box Mac and Cheeses

We did our research and looked for the best boxed mac and cheese whatever your diet or favorite cheese. These are the 10 we recommend. 

1

VelveetaOriginal Shells & Cheese

3 pack

$6.99

Box size12 oz.
Allergy informationContains milk and wheat
Main ingredientsEnriched macaroni product, cheese sauce, milk
Type of cheeseVelveeta cheese sauce mix that includes whey, cheddar cheese, and milk
Calories per serving 360
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 12g., sodium: 880mg., protein: 13g., fiber: 2g.
2

KraftOriginal Flavor Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

5 pack

$4.50

Box size7.25 oz.
Allergy informationContains wheat and milk
Main ingredientsEnriched macaroni
Type of cheeseOriginal flavor powdered cheese sauce mix that includes whey, milkfat, and milk protein concentrate
Calories per serving 260
Nutritional highlights per servingrvingFat: 3g., sodium: 570mg., protein: 9g., fiber: 1g.
3

Annie's HomegrownClassic Mild Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

12 pack

$14.28

Box size6 oz.
Allergy informationContains milk and wheat
Main ingredientsOrganic macaroni made of wheat flour
Type of cheeseClassic mild cheddar cheese sauce mix that includes dried cheddar cheese, whey, and nonfat milk
Calories per serving 270
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 4g., sodium: 400mg., protein: 10g., fiber: 2g.
4

KraftOriginal Flavor Macaroni And Cheese With Cauliflower Pasta

12 pack

$15.48

Box size5.5 oz.
Allergy informationContains wheat and milk
Main ingredientsEnriched pasta product with dried cauliflower and durum wheat semolina
Type of cheeseOriginal flavor powdered cheese sauce mix that includes whey and milkfat
Calories per serving260
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 3g., sodium: 560mg., protein: 9g., fiber: 3g.
5

Cracker BarrelSharp White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

$2.94

Amount14 oz.
AllergensContains milk and wheat
Main ingredientsEnriched macaroni product
CheeseSharp white cheddar cheese sauce that includes cheddar cheese, whey, and skim milk
Calories per serving 320
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 10g., sodium: 810mg., protein: 13g., fiber: 1g.
6

Hamburger HelperCheeseburger Macaroni

$1.24

Box size6.6 oz.
Allergy informationContains wheat, milk, and potentially soy and egg ingredients
Main ingredientsEnriched elbow macaroni, tomato, onion, garlic, black pepper
Type of cheesePowdered? Cheddar and Limburger/Parmesan? cheeses made of milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymes
Calories per serving 290
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 1g., sodium: 590mg., protein: 3g., fiber: <1g.
7

Annie's HomegrownOrganic Peace Pasta and Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

$2.19

Box size6 oz.
Allergy informationContains wheat and dairy
Main ingredientsOrganic pasta in peace sign shapes; organic garlic, onion, and white pepper powders
Type of cheesePowdered cheese packet that includes organic dried Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, organic whey, and organic butter
Calories per serving260
Nutritional highlightsFat: 3.5g., sodium: 540mg., protein: 11g., fiber: 2g.
8

PastabilitiesDinosaur Mac 'N Cheese

2 pack

$10.39

Box size10 oz.
Allergy informationContains wheat and dairy; cheese mix made in a facility that processes eggs, fish, tree nuts, and soybeans
Main ingredientsOrganic durum wheat pasta
Type of cheeseOrganic milk cheddar cheese seasoning that includes pasteurized organic whey and dehydrated cheddar cheese
Calories per serving290
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 2.5 g., sodium: 600mg., protein: 11g., fiber: 3g.
9

BANZAElbows + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

6 pack

$21.99

Box size5.5 oz.
Allergy informationContains dairy, free of gluten
Main ingredientsChickpea elbows
Type of cheesePowdered cheese sauce that includes cheddar cheese, nonfat milk, buttermilk, and whole milk
Calories per serving260
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 8g., sodium: 680mg., protein: 18g., fiber: 8g.
10

DaiyaWhite Cheddar Style Veggie Deluxe Cheezy Mac

$4.43

Box size10.6 oz.
Allergy informationFree of gluten, soy, dairy, and lactose; no animal products or by-products; vegan verified; no peanuts or tree nuts (except coconut)
Main ingredientsWhole grain brown rice pasta, dried vegetable blend with pea, carrot, and red bell pepper
Type of cheeseSqueeze pouch of white cheddar sauce that includes tapioca starch, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or safflower oil, vegan natural flavors, and pea protein isolate
Calories per serving 290
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 9g., sodium: 590mg., protein: 6g., fiber: 3g.

Compare the Best Box Mac and Cheeses

Image
1
Velveeta Original Shells & Cheese 1

Velveeta

2
Kraft Original Flavor Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 1

Kraft

3
Annie's Homegrown Classic Mild Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese 1

Annie's Homegrown

4
Kraft Original Flavor Macaroni And Cheese With Cauliflower Pasta  1

Kraft

5
Cracker Barrel Sharp White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner  1

Cracker Barrel

6
Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni 1

Hamburger Helper

7
Annie's Homegrown Organic Peace Pasta and Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese 1

Annie's Homegrown

8
Pastabilities Dinosaur Mac 'N Cheese 1

Pastabilities

9
BANZA Elbows + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese  1

BANZA

10
Daiya White Cheddar Style Veggie Deluxe Cheezy Mac 1

Daiya

Name

Original Shells & Cheese

Original Flavor Macaroni & Cheese Dinner

Classic Mild Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese

Original Flavor Macaroni And Cheese With Cauliflower Pasta

Sharp White Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese Dinner

Cheeseburger Macaroni

Organic Peace Pasta and Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese

Dinosaur Mac 'N Cheese

Elbows + White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

White Cheddar Style Veggie Deluxe Cheezy Mac

Features

Everything You Need Is Right in the Box

Classic Mac Without Artificial Additives

Classic Mild Cheddar With 25 Percent Less Sodium

Eat Your Veggies With this Cauliflower Pasta

Dig Into a Mac and Cheese With a Sharp Flavor

Add Beef for a Quick and Easy Macaroni

Try a Macaroni and Cheese With Parmesan

Dino-Shaped Pasta That Soaks Up the Cheesy Sauce

Lots of Protein and Fiber in This Gluten-Free Mac

Vegan, Allergy-Friendly Mac and Cheese With Veggies

Price$6.99$4.50$14.28$15.48$2.94$1.24$2.19$10.39$21.99$4.43
Box size12 oz. 7.25 oz.6 oz.5.5 oz. 14 oz. 6.6 oz. 6 oz.10 oz. 5.5 oz.10.6 oz.
Allergy informationContains milk and wheatContains wheat and milkContains milk and wheat Contains wheat and milkContains milk and wheatContains wheat, milk, and potentially soy and egg ingredientsContains wheat and dairyContains wheat and dairy; cheese mix made in a facility that processes eggs, fish, tree nuts, and soybeansContains dairy, free of glutenFree of gluten, soy, dairy, and lactose; no animal products or by-products; vegan verified; no peanuts or tree nuts (except coconut)
Main ingredientsEnriched macaroni product, cheese sauce, milkEnriched macaroniOrganic macaroni made of wheat flourEnriched pasta product with dried cauliflower and durum wheat semolinaEnriched macaroni productEnriched elbow macaroni, tomato, onion, garlic, black pepperOrganic pasta in peace sign shapes; organic garlic, onion, and white pepper powdersOrganic durum wheat pastaChickpea elbowsWhole grain brown rice pasta, dried vegetable blend with pea, carrot, and red bell pepper
Type of cheeseVelveeta cheese sauce mix that includes whey, cheddar cheese, and milkOriginal flavor powdered cheese sauce mix that includes whey, milkfat, and milk protein concentrateClassic mild cheddar cheese sauce mix that includes dried cheddar cheese, whey, and nonfat milkOriginal flavor powdered cheese sauce mix that includes whey and milkfatSharp white cheddar cheese sauce that includes cheddar cheese, whey, and skim milkPowdered? Cheddar and Limburger/Parmesan? cheeses made of milk, cheese cultures, salt, enzymesPowdered cheese packet that includes organic dried Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, organic whey, and organic butterOrganic milk cheddar cheese seasoning that includes pasteurized organic whey and dehydrated cheddar cheese Powdered cheese sauce that includes cheddar cheese, nonfat milk, buttermilk, and whole milkSqueeze pouch of white cheddar sauce that includes tapioca starch, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and/or safflower oil, vegan natural flavors, and pea protein isolate
Calories per serving 360 260 270 260320 290260290260290
Nutritional highlights per servingFat: 12g., sodium: 880mg., protein: 13g., fiber: 2g.Fat: 3g., sodium: 570mg., protein: 9g., fiber: 1g. Fat: 4g., sodium: 400mg., protein: 10g., fiber: 2g.Fat: 3g., sodium: 560mg., protein: 9g., fiber: 3g.Fat: 10g., sodium: 810mg., protein: 13g., fiber: 1g.Fat: 1g., sodium: 590mg., protein: 3g., fiber: <1g.Fat: 3.5g., sodium: 540mg., protein: 11g., fiber: 2g.Fat: 2.5 g., sodium: 600mg., protein: 11g., fiber: 3g.Fat: 8g., sodium: 680mg., protein: 18g., fiber: 8g.Fat: 9g., sodium: 590mg., protein: 6g., fiber: 3g.
Link

How to Choose a Box Mac and Cheese - Buying Guide

Boxed macaroni and cheese is a convenient dish. To find your favorite, be sure to think about factors such as the pasta shape and type of cheese as well as the ingredients and nutrition.

Find a Good Pasta Shape

Find a Good Pasta Shape

Different pasta shapes will provide a different texture and soak up the cheese sauce differently. The best pasta shape for you will depend on your personal tastes, but here are some basics about macaroni and cheese pasta shapes. 


A lot of mac and cheese is made using macaroni, which is pasta in the shape of a straight or curved tube. Regular and elbow macaroni are great because each piece of pasta will fill up with cheese sauce, ensuring consistently cheesy bites. Shells also hold the sauce well. 


A more untraditional pasta type for mac and cheese is a corkscrew shape. Some are tubular and will fill with sauce whereas others have a lot of little nooks and crannies that will collect the sauce. Some brands even have cool pasta shapes that kids will love, like animals or characters from children's TV shows or movies, 

Choose from Different Types of Cheese

Choose from Different Types of Cheese

The type of cheese plays an important part in the texture and taste of the sauce. Cheddar cheese is commonly used in boxed mac and cheeses, since it melts easily, thoroughly coating the pasta. Based on your own preferences, you can choose between a mild cheddar taste or a bolder flavor, made with sharp cheddar. 


Cheddars might taste different based on the type of milk used and how long the cheese has been aged, but there is actually no difference between white and yellow cheddar except that yellow cheddar is often colored with annatto, an orange-red food coloring. Younger cheddar does melt better than aged cheddars. 

Choose from Different Types of Cheese

Depending on what type of flavors you like, you might want to choose a mac and cheese that uses sauce made with a non-cheddar cheese or a blend of multiple cheeses. Alternative cheeses that range in taste from buttery or nutty to smoky or tangy include Parmesan, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, and Monterey Jack. 


If you're vegan or lactose-intolerant or just want to avoid dairy-based cheese, there are vegan mac and cheese options on the market with dairy-free cheese sauces! Do keep in mind that some vegan cheese is nut-based, so if you have a nut allergy, you'll want to look for a nut-free vegan cheese. 

Think About the Amount of Prep

Think About the Amount of Prep

Boxed mac and cheese is great because it's so convenient, but some boxes require more time, effort, or extra ingredients than others. Most boxed mac and cheeses include a packet of cheese powder, and you add your own milk or butter to create the sauce. Other sauces are already liquified, so you don't need any milk or butter.


In terms of prep effort, you can boil water on the stove and cook the pasta in a pot. But if you don't have access to a stovetop, don't feel like using and cleaning a pan, or are really short on time, some boxed mac and cheese can be prepared in a microwave. Just make sure you have a microwave-safe dish and follow the instructions on the box. 

Consider Your Diet and Food Restrictions

Macaroni and cheese is typically made of cheese, milk, and pasta.  Depending on your nutrition preferences, diet restrictions, or allergies, some of these ingredients may be allergens or foods you choose to avoid. Be sure to read the ingredients list and nutrition facts to see if a boxed mac and cheese is safe and healthy for you to eat. 

Pay Attention to the Nutrition Facts

Pay Attention to the Nutrition Facts

Mac and cheese tends to be a dish that is high in calories and sodium. Check out the back of the box to see if the nutrients and ingredients meet your health guidelines.  Most boxes of mac and cheeses contain multiple servings, so take a look at the box size as well as the size of an individual serving on the nutrition facts panel can help with portioning.


If you're following a high-caloric diet, mac and cheese is a filling and delicious source of calories. If you're carefully limiting or just tracking your calories intake of certain nutrients, then take a look at the number of calories and the amounts of carbohydrates, sodium, fats, protein, and fiber.


Some boxed mac and cheese might feature unique ingredients or recipes that make the comfort food a healthier choice for you. For example, the macaroni might be whole-grain pasta or another type of pasta that's high in fiber or other nutrients. Other brands might offer a lower sodium version. You could also add your own ingredients such as meat or beans if you want a protein boost. 

Look for Ingredient Substitutes If You Have Allergies

Look for Ingredient Substitutes If You Have Allergies

Mac and cheese might contain ingredients that trigger your allergies such as milk, cheese, or wheat. However, there are many alternatives to the regular wheat and dairy ingredients in typical mac and cheese, so if you're on a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, you can still enjoy this dish!


Some brands replace the typical wheat noodles with rice noodles or pasta made of chickpeas or other gluten substitutes. Some mac and cheese sauces feature vegan cheese. Look carefully at the ingredients list to make sure the mac and cheese contains no traces of allergens

Be on the Lookout for Artificial Flavors

Be on the Lookout for Artificial Flavors

Some brands add artificial flavors or dyes to the cheese sauce to enhance the taste of the mac and cheese and to give it an appealing color. Other potential concerns are hormones and antibiotics found in dairy products, preservatives, and the possible presence of phthalates, which are chemicals that may come into contact with food during the manufacturing process. 


There are mixed opinions and conflicting studies about the health risks and benefits of these additives. Some experts recommend avoiding them completely; others say they're only potentially dangerous if you're exposed to such chemicals in large quantities. 


Your best bet is to do some research of your own. Look up any ingredients you're unfamiliar with and see if you're comfortable adding those to your diet. If you're concerned, look for products free of artificial flavors, dyes, and preservatives and keep an eye out for labels that say "made without antibiotics or hormones. 

Make Your Boxed Mac and Cheese Gourmet

What's great about boxed mac and cheese is the convenience. But if you want to make your mac and cheese a little fancier, you can a few of your own ingredients, such as bacon, bread crumbs, or spices. In this video from Bon Appétit, eight different chefs share their twist on boxed mac and cheese. 

Looking for Some More Easy Comfort Foods?

Looking for Some More Easy Comfort Foods?

If you love boxed mac and cheese for its convenience, check out our buying guides for other easy-to-prepare foods. We've got recommendations for both sweet and savory comfort food cravings!

Summary

Boxed mac and cheese is a great option for quick and easy meal or snack since it's filling and can be made in under 15 minutes. Hopefully, our top 10 recommendations and buying guide help you find a mac and cheese you love. Remember to choose the kind of cheese and pasta prefer and to look for products that fit your diet and health needs. Enjoy your cheesy comfort food!


Author: Thuy Nguyen


Whole-Grain Pasta for DIY Mac and Cheese

If you're inspired to make your own mac and cheese from scratch, you'll need some good pasta. Whether you follow a gluten-free lifestyle or are just looking for whole-grain pasta, these brown rice pasta spirals recommended by nutritionist Kara Swanson will be great for your mac and cheese. 

Expert's
pick

TinkyadaGluten Free Organic Brown Rice Pasta Spirals

12 oz.

$8.93

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    Japanese sweet sakes have a smooth, mellow flavor that makes them easy to drink and popular among people who enjoy cocktails and wine. However, it's surprisingly difficult to find actual sweet sakes on the market. Among those you can find, we tested to find what was the most delicious.We searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and Kakaku.com) for the best sweet Japanese sakes, chose the 9 most popular products, tested them along with three sake specialists, then rated each sake's deliciousness by analyzing its level of sweetness and the strength of its aroma and flavor. Lastly, we compiled our results into a buying guide about and list of the best sweet Japanese sakes available online with extra tips from expert Sandra Gwee.
    Food and drinks
    18,736 views
  • Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed)
    Top 10 Best Instant Breakfast Drinks in 2021 (Registered Dietitian-Reviewed)
    Many of us lead busy lives and don’t have time to prepare breakfast in the morning. Enter instant breakfast. They come in either liquid or powdered forms, and in a range of dietary variations to suit your needs. Some drinks double as meal replacements, others as simply snacks to jumpstart your morning!To save you even more of your valuable time, we've compiled a list of our 10 favorite instant breakfast drinks. For instance, Boost Optimum's Creamy Vanilla Drinks are practically bursting with protein, nutrition, and flavor. See what else made the list, and read our buying guide that outlines how you can find a great breakfast drink on your own!
    Food and drinks
    30,127 views
  • Top 10 Best Fruit Salsas in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Newman's Own, and More)
    Top 10 Best Fruit Salsas in 2021 (Trader Joe's, Newman's Own, and More)
    Looking for a versatile sauce that goes well with virtually anything? Try fruit salsa! It's a spin on the traditional salsa and is usually made with diced fruit, tomatoes, chilies, onions, and lime juice. Its sweet, spicy, and tangy flavor makes it the perfect accompaniment to grilled meat or seafood. It gives a nice finish to tacos and is also great as a dip for tortilla chips, pita chips, or crackers. Mix fruit salsa with some cream cheese and you have a scrumptious spread for your burgers and sandwiches.Since there are many fruit salsas available online, it's hard to know which product is delicious. To aid you with your search, we've combed through the Internet and found the 10 fruit salsas that are highly recommended by reviewers.  Good &amp; Gather's Mango Peach Salsa ranked first on our list, as it's flavorful and packed with huge chunks of fresh fruits! If mango and peach aren't your jam, we have nine other tasty options on our list. For some tips in choosing a fruit salsa, scroll down to our buying guide.
    Food and drinks
    242 views
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