We Tasted 5 Brands to Find The Best Boxed Mac and Cheese!


My family was on a mission to find the best boxed mac and cheese to stock the pantry with. We had a clear winner and loser! 

woman holding 5 boxes of mac and cheese

Love mac and cheese? It’s a staple in our house!

Mac and cheese is arguably one of the best comfort foods, and having a box or two in the pantry can be handy once in a while for quick and easy meals. I will sometimes use it as an inexpensive starter and add veggies or protein on busy nights. I typically stick with the Kraft brand while my daughter historically prefers the white cheddar Annie’s brand the most.

There are so many options now though at the store. We thought it would be fun to do a blind taste test to see how similar or different boxed mac and cheese brands can taste. What we discovered is that the brand I typically buy did not match my family’s top pick during this taste test!

teen girl getting mac and cheese out of a pot on stove

Our boxed mac and cheese test used real, live pros.

We’ve gathered a couple of hungry teenagers and a husband to help us taste-test 5 popular boxed mac and cheese brands you can buy right off the shelf. One thing about my family is they are very honest about voicing their opinions, especially about food! LOL

I set them up with blind testing, but someone had to prepare the mac and cheese on the stove, so I did see what brand was which.

5 brands of mac and cheese on the counter

cooking 5 boxed mac and cheese brands on the stove

Our macaroni cheese in a box taste test rules were simple.

To make this boxed dinner taste test as fair as possible, we:

  • Chose an assortment of name-brand, store-brand, conventional, and organic macaroni and cheese boxed dinners.
  • Limited ourselves to just the standard elbow noodles with the powdery orange sauce instead of the other varieties (white cheddar, goat cheese, shells, etc.).
  • Followed each recipe according to the exact directions on the box – no add-ins or extras.
  • Gave our taste testers a “blind” sampling of the mac and cheese, so they wouldn’t be influenced by factors like Kraft’s iconic blue box or Annie’s adorable bunny.

5 bowls of mac and cheese

Here’s how these mac and cheese brands ranked (from worst to best):

annies mac and cheese thumbs down

This one cracked me up as my kids do love the white cheddar flavor. Annie’s classic cheddar came in last place with all four of us. The cheddar had an off-taste to us, the texture on the noodles wasn’t great. Just overall, the taste and experience fell flat.

good and gather brand mac and cheese on the stove

I really  wanted to like this boxed mac & cheese. I typically love the Good & Gather brand’s quality and taste in general and have been impressed. Many of their other organic items are both affordable and delicious. Unfortunately, this macaroni and cheese didn’t quite pass the “delicious” test for most of us.

The kids and I did not prefer this one, and yet my husband picked this as his favorite! I thought it was pretty bland compared to the others. The color was the lightest of them all. The noodles had a good texture. Just overall, it did not “hit” as the teens say!

kraft mac and cheese in a biodegradable bowl

When you hear the phrase “boxed mac and cheese,” this is probably the one you’re picturing. It’s the gold standard and the one I usually turn to on occasion. It’s funny how this option kind of just blended in for us as good and not the best. Most of us had this in the middle when rating all the options.

great value mac and cheese on the stove in a pot

I was fully prepared to not love this brand and was pleasantly surprised by the delicious cheesy taste and perfect texture of the noodles. Most of us said it was at the level or slightly higher of the Kraft version. I would buy this again! This was my daughter’s pick for best mac and cheese. She thought she was picking Kraft in the blind taste test.

goodles mac and cheese

Two of us voted Goodles the winner of the best-tasting boxed mac and cheese, and this was the second pick for the remainder so I am declaring it the winner. My kids were very surprised to learn they enjoyed Goodles in the blind taste test. I have tasted it before on this previous Instagram video, and LOVED it, so was not as surprised. The only downside is the higher price. I have heard Costco has started selling it though!

The cheddar flavor is more intense and we loved the noodles. The texture of the sauce is creamy. Overall, it’s a yummy pick! Plus, it has a slightly better nutrition profile if that is important to you at all. For instance, per serving there is 14g of protein, 7g of fiber with prebiotics, and 21 nutrients from plants.

holding a bowl of mac and cheese

Does your family have a favorite box of mac and cheese they enjoy? Let us know in the comments!

I will say that no matter the brand of box I usually add a little more butter and use a little cream instead of milk sometimes and that makes it so much better!

In the mood for homemade mac and cheese? Make my favorite recipe! 

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