Macaroni and Cheese, 39 Ways

Mix up your mac-and-cheese routine with these playful variations on the classic comfort food.

Photo By: Lisa Leone, Brian Kennedy ©2011, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Jessica Brooks

Photo By: Brian Kennedy ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Photo By: Vasilios Sfinarolakis ©2011, Vasilios Sfinarolakis

Mac 'n' Cheese with Bacon and Cheese

A mountain of shredded white cheddar gives Tyler's mac satisfying sharpness, and a few sprigs of thyme play well with the smoky bacon topping.

Get the Recipe: Mac 'N Cheese with Bacon and Cheese

Penne ai Quattro Formaggi

Debi and Gabriele give mac and cheese an Italian identity by baking mezze pasta (similar to penne, but shorter) with a mixture of pungent cheeses like Taleggio and Gorgonzola in 6-ounce ramekins.

Get the Recipe: Penne ai Quattro Formaggi (Mac 'n' Cheese)

Grilled Chicken Caesar Mac

Why settle on one comforting dish when you can eat both at once? Here, Rachael amps up standard mac and cheese by adding grilled chicken Caesar salad ingredients — pecorino cheese and the creamy dressing — to noodles before baking.

Get the Recipe: Grilled Chicken Caesar Mac

Tiffani's Mac and Cheese

Tiffani Thiessen's mac and cheese is so good, it'll make you angry.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and Cheese Muffins

The bright orange color comes from hearty butternut squash instead of processed cheese for this fun macaroni-and-cheese recipe that is perfect for kids and adults alike.

Get the Recipe: Mac and Cheese Muffins

Roasted Squash Chili Mac

Rachael packs characteristic chili spice into gooey mac and cheese. Add roasted butternut squash for a rich balance of flavors.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Squash Chili Mac

Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Mac 'n' Cheese

Whether you're attempting to sneak greens into your children's meals or you're digging the cauliflower craze, this cruciferous veggie-filled mac is a heartier take on the cheddar-topped pasta.

Get the Recipe: Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin Mac n Cheese

Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese

Patti LaBelle makes an extra-rich mac and cheese by pulling in plenty of butter, eight kinds of cheese and a cup of cream.

Get the Recipe: Over the Rainbow Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese

Though this looks like your standard bowl of macaroni and cheese, Tyler tucks aromatic thyme, bay leaves, garlic and dry mustard into the creamy cheddar and Parmesan sauce, giving this kid-friendly dish very adult flavor.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

Sloppy Joe and Macaroni Casserole

Combine two childhood classics in one casserole with Rachael's hearty, easy-to-eat mash-up. Serve it bubbling hot from the oven and top with chopped dill pickles for bright tang.

Get the Recipe: Sloppy Joe and Macaroni Casserole

Crab Cake Mac and Cheese

This hybrid of two classics uses nutty Gruyere cheese alongside lump crabmeat. But the real kicker is the seafood seasoning, worked into the cheese sauce and sprinkled generously on top of the individual crocks alongside a panko breadcrumb topping.

Get the Recipe: Crab Cake Mac N Cheese

Mac and Cheese Carbonara

Bobby Flay sources five different cheeses for this hybrid pasta dish, including the Parmigiano-Reggiano that traditionally accompanies carbonara. Mac and cheese + savory cubes of pancetta = the best of two comfort foods, combined.

Get the Recipe: Mac and Cheese Carbonara

Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese

A bechamel sauce base gives this mac and cheese ultra-creamy flavor and rich texture. When topped with bacon and crispy breadcrumbs, it’s downright irresistible.

Get the Recipe: Skillet Bacon Mac and Cheese

Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Layered with tender chunks of tail meat, this cayenne-spiced mac is a luxurious take on the homey pasta dish. Sharp white cheddar and heavy cream create a silky-smooth sauce, which is balanced by acidic white wine and tomato paste.

Get the Recipe: Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac N Cheese

The fresh ingredients (cauliflower and watercress) in this mac and cheese are a wholesome and unique addition to the classic comfort food.

Get the Recipe: Cauliflower Mac N Cheese

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Sunny spikes her baked mac with cayenne and dry mustard, then layers buttery, golden-brown croutons over the top for contrasting crunch.

Get the Recipe: Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese

If you don't like black sesame seeds and pork rinds, you can substitute breadcrumbs for this mac 'n' cheese recipe's topping. (But once you try the crispy fried snack in your mac, you'll never reach for breadcrumbs again.)

Get the Recipe: Kabocha Squash Mac 'n' Cheese with Pork Rind Crust

Brunch Mac and Cheese

Bundle your brunch with lunch by topping fontina and Cheddar mac and cheese with diced fried potatoes and a hot fried egg.

Get the Recipe: Brunch Mac and Cheese

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Alton Brown knows how to perfect classic dishes. His simple mac and cheese with sharp cheddar is topped with breadcrumbs and baked until golden and bubbly.

Get the Recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

BB 'n' C Mac and Cheese

This stovetop mac and cheese possesses two family-friendly secret weapons: cooked squash and cheddar cheese. The squash, added to the cheese sauce, kicks up the fiber and vitamins with an incognito yellow color that leaves diners none the wiser.

Get the Recipe: BB n' C Mac and Cheese

Dreamy Butternut Squash Mac 'n' Cheese

Butternut squash that's cooked in almond milk and pureed until smooth is practically unrecognizable when mixed with macaroni and Gruyere. It lends a velvety richness to this mouthwatering, better-for-you mac and cheese.

Get the Recipe: Dreamy Butternut Squash Mac 'n' Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms and Kale

Smoked paprika, mushrooms (porcini and cremini) and kale add great flavor to mac 'n' cheese and give the age-old dish a sophisticated edge.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese with Mushrooms and Kale

Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

Ellie Krieger includes pureed winter squash in her mac and cheese recipe to lighten up the indulgent dish, add nutrients and fiber, and lend it bright orange photo-ready color.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and 4 Cheeses

Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Stovetop Mac and Cheese

Beefsteak tomatoes provide an edible bowl for Kelsey's creamy smoked bacon-studded mac and cheese. Shredded Muenster cheese adds its sweet flavor, and a dash of hot sauce provides subtle heat.

Get the Recipe: Baked Tomatoes Stuffed with Creamy Stovetop Bacon Mac and Cheese

Curried Macaroni and Cheese

Rich curry and chiles spice up this classic comfort food. Use mild provolone cheese to let the flavors shine through and top with asparagus and breadcrumbs.

Get the Recipe: Curried Macaroni and Cheese

Jalapeno Popper Orzo Mac-n-Cheese

Add some heat to your mac and cheese by mixing chopped jalapenos to the creamy sauce, and then topping with a breadcrumb mixture containing two types of chiles.

Get the Recipe: Jalapeno Popper Orzo Mac-n-Cheese

Baked Mac ‘N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Duck Sausage

Nadia G. puts her unique spin on an American classic by adding the sharp, sweet and savory flavors of creamy Brie, caramelized onions and duck sausage to this casserole.

Get the Recipe: Baked Mac 'N Cheese with Caramelized Onions and Duck Sausage

Macaroni and Cheese, Indian-Style

White cheddar is the perfect backdrop for spices such as garam masala, turmeric, cardamom and fresh ginger in this Indian twist on mac and cheese.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese, Indian-Style

Smoky Mac and Cheese

Cloak buttery egg noodles in a creamy trio of Cheddar, smoked Gouda and American cheeses and infuse the sauce with hickory liquid smoke to send the flavors over the edge.

Get the Recipe: Smoky Mac and Cheese

The Mac n Cheese

The six different cheeses used in this recipe offer their own distinctive flavors while the orecchiette, or "little ear" pasta, creates perfect pockets for the oozing melted cheese.

Get the Recipe: The Mac n Cheese

Thai Red Curry Mac 'n' Cheese

Mac and cheese takes an exotic turn in Aarti's easy stovetop recipe that blends creamy Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheeses with spicy red curry paste. 

Get the Recipe: Thai Red Curry Mac 'n' Cheese

Skillet Mac and Cheese

Ellie Krieger creates a guilt-free mac and cheese by combining whole-grain elbow macaroni with cauliflower, which adds subtle flavor, yet melds seamlessly with the three-cheese blend.

Get the Recipe: Skillet Mac and Cheese

Mini Mac & Cheese All'Italiana

This version of the quintessential comfort food is even simpler to make than the standard, in spite of elevated flavors (and name). The cheese sauce is almost instant with no roux at its base: just mix grated cheese with a little cornstarch and whisk into wine-spiked chicken broth.

Get the Recipe: Mini Macaroni and Cheese All'Italiana

Macaroni and Cheese

This brightly-hued baked mac replaces classic macaroni with torchio pasta, which is ideal for scooping up chunky sauces. Boost the flavor with an extra-stinky cow's milk cheese, and add heat with Creole mustard and paprika.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese

Lean Hamburger Mac & Cheese

Let your mac and cheese stew in a slow cooker with all the main components of a lightened-up cheeseburger: ground turkey, ketchup and chopped onion.

Get the Recipe: Cheeseburger Mac Attack

Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

Add some pork belly to a classic mac to intensify the flavors, but don't dare skimp on the porter glaze. It reduces dark beer down to a thick, savory syrup that's spooned over the pork belly and soaks into the pasta.

Get the Recipe: Pork Belly Mac and Cheese

Glam Mac and Cheese

This classic "just for the family" dish is turned completely on its head with strong Gorgonzola used as the cheese of choice. Serve this little number in individual bowls to make it perfectly portionable for a crowd.

Get the Recipe: Glam Mac and Cheese

Veggie Mac and Cheese

Balance out all of the cheese — Parmesan, Gorgonzola and mozzarella — with a colorful vegetable blend of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. 

Get the Recipe: Veggie Mac and Cheese

Macaroni & Cheese (A Few Ways)

This Italian-inspired mac and cheese recipe can be varied by adding tomato sauce, crumbled bits of Gorgonzola or Taleggio cheese.

Get the Recipe: Macaroni and Cheese (A Few Ways)