The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
Profile photo of Erika (TK)

Comfort Food: Mac and Cheese

Posted by in The Theme Is...

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Mac and Cheese!

I’ve been meaning to do something here to celebrate the new (well, not so new now) Comfort Food category over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks. It’s loaded with goodies like fried round steak and potatoes au gratin, but for today, I want to focus on one of the most beloved comfort foods of all time: macaroni and cheese.

Seriously. What can be more comforting than spoonfuls—or forkfuls, if that’s your weapon of choice—of pasta bathed in creamy cheese? Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.

Let’s start with a few classic versions. This is mac and cheese 101, the basic combination of regular pasta and cheese. Done in the oven or on the stove, you can’t go wrong with any of these.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Mac and Cheese! (Classic)Clockwise from left: Creamy Stovetop Mac ‘n’ Cheese from lizzygoesdutch, Ree’s Macaroni and Cheese, and Oh So Good Macaroni and Cheese from Emily.

You know we’re just getting started here. Let’s take the classic version, throw in some special cheese or a little something extra for a crunchy top, and start mixing things up a bit.

That’s because we can’t help ourselves. It’s what we do here.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Mac and Cheese! (Special)Clockwise from top left: Easy Peasy Baked Mac and Cheesy from Not A Leaf, Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese from A Cozy Kitchen, Spicy Baked Mac & Cheese from sweet anna’s, and Creamy & Crunchy Mac and Cheese from pammy.

Ready to raise the stakes a bit higher? Let’s throw in some vegetables and sneak in a little extra nutrition, whether it’s Swiss chard or mushrooms or butternut squash.

It’s a great way to get picky eaters to add some greens to their diet, too.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Mac and Cheese! (With Vegetables)Clockwise from top left: Truffle Mac and Cheese from Not A Leaf, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese from in sock monkey slippers, Swiss Chard & Sun-Dried Tomato Skillet Mac from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate), and Island Macaroni and Cheese from Global Table Adventure.

And now, because we’ve blown that door wide open, let’s take that simple mac and cheese and add in some bacon. Or chicken. Or maybe some ground meat and roasted vegetables. Sprinkle some extra spice in there, and you’ve got yourself a seriously loaded, jacked up, ain’t-your-traditional-no-more mac and cheese.

It’s like comfort food that’s been pumping iron and doing P90X.

I have no idea what I just said.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: The Theme is Mac and Cheese! (With Meat)Clockwise from top left: Ree’s Fancy Macaroni, Bacon & Butternut Skillet Mac from Natalie (Perrys’ Plate), Deliciously Healthy Mac and Cheese from bonniethebaker, Chicken Mac and Cheese from HowSweetEats, Mac-N-Cheese from Sheila Johnson, and Jalapeno-Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from cicadagirl.

And there you have it! A quick roundup of some wonderful macaroni and cheese recipes that you can find here in Tasty Kitchen. Aside from being absolutely delicious, the great thing about this classic comfort food is that just about everyone loves it, kids and grown ups alike. It also makes a wonderful packed lunch for school or work, and you’ll be kissed repeatedly and followed around if you bring a pan of creamy, cheesy comfort to a party.

How about you? Do you have a favorite mac and cheese variation? Do you like to experiment with different ingredients or do you feel that nothing beats the classic version? Let us know!



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Profile photo of Lark (SparkyLarky)

Lark (SparkyLarky) on 1.26.2011

I just cant seem to make up my mind as which one to make first!

I am really thinking of hosting a Mac and Cheese Girl’s Night Out!

Mindy T. on 10.14.2010

Everything about Tasty Kitchen is great! The pictures are awesome and anything pumpkin is my favorite!!

Linda on 10.14.2010

I wish you could see the reviews earlier rather than being the reviewer.

Claudia on 10.14.2010

I can tell you what I love about the Tasty Kitchen site — the fabulous pictures. I’m never attracted to a cookbook without pictures and I guess that transfers over to this site. I love your giveaways, too, and hope this entry will be lucky.

Chana Johnston on 10.14.2010

My favorite dessert is French Silk Pie; the chocolatier the better! I don’t know much about Tasty Kitchen’s “old version,” but I love websites that have variations of recipes, like links to others like it or with different ingredient substitutes…

ALYSSA on 10.14.2010


Joann on 10.13.2010

I think it is great just the way it is!

els on 10.13.2010

I like your pictures going with the how to’s. So handy to have it that way…and i also like that you have seasonal suggestions.
You want to add some drinks? I don’t do alcohol, but it would be cool to have say different hot chocolate ideas…. or maybe festive drink ideas…?

Laurie Taylor on 10.13.2010

I love your comments on each step of the recipe. It makes it more fun to cook. I would like to see more healthy versions of the recipes in some cases.

Mama Bair on 10.13.2010

I love the category section I can always find something for supper. Never the same old chicken recipe and always a new goodie to take to work. I would like to see a freezing or make ahead recipes, esp. for Thankgiving and Christmas. any thing to save time during the holidays. txs

Nana Mo on 10.13.2010

I have tried so many of the recipes. No suggestions. Other than don’t stop!

Michael Lewis on 10.13.2010


Jackie on 10.13.2010

It’s always helpful to me when there’s a Quick and Easy section. If there was a section within each category that would be great.

Laura on 10.13.2010

There is very little to complain about here, I can’t wait to try some of these!

Kelli G. on 10.13.2010

1) I love all the pictures with step-by-step directions.
2) I like all the sharing of comments and suggestions that people have made with the recipes.
3) I would like to see a section for just health-conscious recipes, with the nutritional information.

Daniel on 10.13.2010

I like the color contrasts, it’s great!

April Doty on 10.13.2010

My favorite dessert is warm brownies with vanilla ice cream!

Ashley on 10.7.2010

my faaaavorite one (now that my tastebuds have outgrown stouffers :( ) is ree’s spicy mac n cheese…delicious!

@lauren there is one opening up near san francisco! the blogger at local lemons ( is opening one (or did already?)

Cassie on 10.4.2010

Wow, these all look so delicious! I’m glad lunch is in 20 minutes-I’m starving!

Profile photo of wyogal

wyogal on 10.3.2010


Deborah on 10.2.2010

Wow, woman, you sure have a way with food, might I add, quite creative … especially, with one of my fav comfort foods … mac n’ cheese! You should see my hubby drooling over my shoulder! We can’t wait to try some of these recipes!! :)

Molly on 10.2.2010

I made Ree’s Mac and Cheese yesterday, and WOW, was it ever good. ^-^ I thought about modifying it with pepperoncini but I didn’t get around to it…oh well, next time. :P

Profile photo of flicker

flicker on 10.2.2010

I add crumbled up Cheez-its or goldfish crackers to the top of my mac and cheese. Gives it an extra cheesy flavor with some crunch! It’s delish!

Angela on 10.1.2010

After seeing all these mac & cheese pics I was hungry and craving, well – you’ll never guess! I rummaged through the pantry, fridge and freezer and came up with penne pasta, an extra sharp white cheddar and cream cheese sauce, spinach and roasted garlic chicken sausages. Talk about a heavenly dinner, with leftovers tomorrow.

Profile photo of PamFromNY

PamFromNY on 10.1.2010

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese made with evaporated milk & eggs is the most LUSCIOUS of all! I’ll add that tomorrow if it’s not already on here.

Note: Make it with ‘torchio’ shaped pasta WOW!

pattilouwho on 10.1.2010

i’m pretty sure I just added 20 pounds to my hips just reading this!

Jess on 10.1.2010

I want to eat everything on this page. Seriously.

Tracy L. on 10.1.2010

My sister has the family recipe for Swiss Mac and Cheese from her husband’s grandmother. It is to die for!! Macaroni noodles, swiss cheese
(I usually cut it in half and use jack cheese) cooked potatoes and caramelized onions. Ok. I have just gained 10 pounds thinking about it!!
I love to call it a coronary waiting to happen! But, I will die happy!

April on 9.30.2010

glory hallelujah! i love some mac n chz!!

Profile photo of Eat 2gather

Eat 2gather on 9.30.2010

Hokey Pete! What a nice surprise, thanks to my friend Katie I found out you featured my Mac-N-Cheese! Thank you so much! It really is a crazy good, hope ya’ll give it a try.

Profile photo of cicadagirl

cicadagirl on 9.30.2010

Thanks much for including my Jalapeno-Bacon Mac n’ Cheese! It was a bit of an experiment, trying to recreate a meal I’d had at a restaurant…and it was a complete success. VERY tasty. But I’m going to have to check out some of the other recipes here, too! Mac n’ Cheese is the ultimate in comfort!

Demetria on 9.30.2010

Sheila Johnson’s Mac-N-Cheese that is featurned at the bottom is to die for! It’s simple name does not do it justice…it is so much more!!! Gotta try it.

Profile photo of cherylw

cherylw on 9.30.2010

I usually make a classic mac-n-cheese, but started adding cream cheese to it. Then I added some grilled onions once – yummy!!!! I’m now craving mac-n-cheese. Will have to make some soon!

Profile photo of Natalie | Perry's Plate

Natalie | Perry's Plate on 9.30.2010

You’re a girl after my own heart :) One of my most favorite posts EVER. Thanks for featuring my recipes!!

Lisa on 9.30.2010

We like Italian Mac and Cheese. It is a Rachael Ray recipe that I have tweaked. Basically, it is a white sauce with Italian cheese blend stirred in instead of cheddar, combined with mushrooms, diced tomatoes and sweet Italian sausage. The best part is it is a very, very easy and quick recipe.

Lisa in Fort Worth on 9.30.2010

I made Rueben Mac & Cheese last fall, if you like rueben’s you’ll love this variation. It’s great!

Profile photo of Aparna B. (Not A Leaf)

Aparna B. (Not A Leaf) on 9.30.2010

Oy! I meant butter and flour! Sorry ’bout that..

Profile photo of Aparna B. (Not A Leaf)

Aparna B. (Not A Leaf) on 9.30.2010

Jill – my mac and cheese recipes start with butter and flower to create the roux and then the milk is added :) It’s the best way to thicken it!

Profile photo of habybaby19

habybaby19 on 9.30.2010

That’s so funny, I just submitted a easy cheesy mac n cheese recipe earlier!! I have tried to fancy it up but I like the basic mac n cheese and so does my family.

Jessica on 9.30.2010

I definitely like to stick to the classic version…. but after seeing pics…. i am thinking a sprinkling of yummy bacon on top would be oh so scrumptios! Simple and delish!!

Heather on 9.30.2010

OMG – Ree, I made your fancy macaroni and cheese for our food day today at work (I get told each time it’s not potluck, it’s food day). And wouldn’t you know it – they ate every last bite and each person requested the recipe. I directed them all to your website, so if you see a bunch (okay, a few) more visitors from Central Illinois, I’m the reason.

It’s awesome!

p.s. my boyfriend asked me why i had to take it to work, since it smelled and tasted so good!

Aparna on 9.30.2010

Thanks for featuring my mac and cheese recipes!! This is by far one of my favorite foods of all time. I’m so excited to try more variations!

Sandy on 9.30.2010

I used to make the stuff from a box. I started making it from scratch and now my family asks for it. I use cream of mushroom soup in my recipe. My 7 yea old son calls it Macaroni and Cheese Casserole. These recipes look yummy. I will have to ty them.

Adrianna from A Cozy Kitchen on 9.30.2010

I think I could seriously have mac n cheese every single day. I have my eye on that jalalepeno-bacon mac and cheese. That stuff looks sinful!

Pammy aka Bored Cook on 9.30.2010

Thanks for sharing my Creamy Crunchy Mac and Cheese. It’s a big favorite in our house.

I LOVE Mac and Cheese and now I’ve gotten to see a few recipes I’ve missed before. I can’t wait to try some of these!

Profile photo of mdvshutterbug

mdvshutterbug on 9.30.2010

There is nothing I like better than mac & cheese. This week I made mac & cheese and added chicken, mushrooms, and asparagus.

lauren on 9.30.2010

I’ve always thought a restaurant that SPECIALIZES in Mac and CHeese would kick butt in cities like NY, LA, BOS, and PITTS

Sarah B. on 9.30.2010

I recently made my daughter mac ‘n’ cheese with peas, curry powder, and used coconut milk for the sauce. She LOVED it. It’ll become a staple around here, I suspect.

Nichole on 9.30.2010

Mac and cheese is my most favorite thing ever! Now I have several new recipes to try. Awesome!

Alice on 9.30.2010

I swear by the 1946 Fannie Farmer recipe for macaroni and cheese! It is so easy to adapt to your tastes and it never fails to be a crowd favorite. As long as you use good quality (sharp) cheeses, the flavor and texture are amazing!