If your little one’s favorite food groups are chicken tenders and mac and cheese, you’re in luck. We’ve rounded up a bunch of recipes that range from easy homemade mac and cheese to cauliflower mac and cheese. Some of these recipes incorporate other things like sweet potatoes to chicken, so whether you’re looking for rich indulgence or a lightened-up version, we’ve got you covered. See our favorite mac and cheese recipes below.
Gluten-Free Chili Mac
A spin on two classic family recipes, this cheesy gluten-free chili mac only has three ingredients, which makes it perfect for busy weeknights. Don't want to go gluten free? Swap out the gluten-free shells for regular pasta instead. Get the how-to over at One Lovely Life.
Gnocchi Mac and Cheese
A unique twist on a classic meal, this gnocchi mac and cheese only requires five ingredients and takes 30 minutes to make. Find the recipe over at A Taste of Madness.
Copycat Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese
The mac and cheese side dish is a favorite at Cracker Barrel, and it's easy to re-create your own version at home by using the recipe we spotted at Eat This, Not That! Be sure to use good Colby cheese and don't stop whisking! Grab the recipe here.
White Cheddar Avocado Mac and Cheese
Cheese? Check. Avocado? Check. Noodles? Check! This recipe from Life As A Strawberry has all your kids' favorite ingredients, mixed up into one delicious batch of mac and cheese. The easy-to-make avocado sauce gets a kick from cilantro and the white cheddar has a smooth flavor that'll please adults too. Get the recipe by clicking here.
The Easiest Stove Top Mac and Cheese
Sometimes you just want mac and cheese from a pot on the stove. To help you skip the processed and the packaging, we found this recipe from The Kitchn. Using cheese, milk and flour, you'll have a gooey, cheesy meal ready to go in a few. You can even throw in peas or peppers to give it a little something else. Grab the recipe here.
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
If you thought slow cooker mac and cheese was easy, wait until you get a glance at the recipe for an Instant Pot version we spotted over at Spend with Pennies. Even easier, you'll be eating cheesy noodles in no time. Grab the recipe here.
Three-Cheese Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
My Fussy Eater has found a way to sneak veggies into your kids' dinner without the inevitable "ewww" that follows. Butternut squash, which is a great source of vitamins A and C, plus fiber, and its smooth texture when cooked (not to mention that yellow color) combines perfectly with cheese, for serious pasta goodness. Grab the recipe over at My Fussy Eater.
Baked Mac and Cheese
We love The Chunky Chef's version for its gourmet cheese combo: medium cheddar and Gruyere. We also love the secret to getting that irresistible cheesiness. Head over to The Chunky Chef for the recipe.
Panera Bread Copycat Mac and Cheese
If you are obsessed with mac and cheese Panera-style, then this one is for you. For everyone else, this one is for you too. Made on the stovetop, with a hint of Dijon, this incredible copycat recipe from Smells Like Home will be your new favorite. Click here for the recipe.
Homemade Kraft Easy Mac
Mac and cheese is a surefire win for our kids, which is why we love this take on easy mac from Food Fanatic. The best part? It’s made entirely in the microwave and comes together in a flash. Click here to grab the recipe.
Make-Ahead Mac and Cheese
You can never have too many mac and cheese recipes! We’re digging this one from Kristine’s Kitchen because it’s a snap to make and you can refrigerate it up to two days before baking. It's a cheesy win-win! Get the recipe here.
Crock Pot Mac 'n' Cheese
Mac 'n' cheese that doesn't require boiling noodles or standing over a stove, stirring for what feels like hours on end? Yes, please! We couldn't believe our luck when we happened upon this recipe for Crock Pot mac and cheese from The Chunky Chef. You'll get all the same cheesy goodness with practically no effort.
3-Cheese Mac n Cheese
This macaroni and cheese recipe uses three different kinds of cheese (awesome!) and is made only in five easy steps. Kids will love the creamy and hearty taste of the dish, while parents will breathe a sigh of relief that this recipe is not only delicious but quick and easy as well.
Baked Mac and Cheese from Damn Delicious
This baked mac and cheese is perfect for a cozy night at home. The creamy cheese sauce is hidden beneath a crunchy top—yum! Get the recipe over at Damn Delicious.
Baked Artisan Mac and Cheese
Comfort food that is good for you? It does exist, thanks to this whole-food based makeover from Veggies Don't Bite. This sharp white mac 'n' cheese bake is as creamy and delicious, you'll never be able to tell that it's gluten and dairy free. Get the recipe here.
Green Macaroni and Cheese
Try out this veggie-fied take on mac and cheese from Weelicious. No food coloring needed—spinach and broccoli are the key ingredients to make the mix bright green. Find out how it’s made by clicking here.
Skinny Ham Mac ‘n’ Cheese
For a lightened-up take on your favorite dish, you’ve got to try this skinny mac ‘n’ cheese from Honey & Figs. Made with whole wheat noodles, a touch of barbecue sauce and Greek yogurt for added creaminess, it’s sure to be a hit with your crew. Click here to get the recipe.
Sneaky Spinach Vegan Mac & "Cheese"
Looking to sneak a few leafy greens into your kid's favorite dish? This recipe will have them asking for more, please. The "cheese" sauce actually vegan—nutritional yeast and soymilk are its base—making a creamy meal non-dairy eaters will love. Get the recipe here.
Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Cauliflower pairs perfectly with mac and cheese in this genius recipe from Love & Risotto. Once it’s topped with breadcrumbs and broiled to make a crunchy topping, even picky kids will be on board. To grab the recipe, click here.
Cajun Mac and Cheese
Baked Goat Cheese Mac and Cheese with Roasted Broccoli
Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese
Killer Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Vegan Mac and Cheese
If you’ve got a vegan in your family (or are just trying out Meatless Monday), this vegan mac and cheese from Running with Spoons is your new best friend. It’s pretty easy to pull off using items you probably have in your pantry, plus some nutritional yeast. Click here to get the recipe.
One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese
Cottage Cheese Baked Mac and Cheese
Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween—Miss Hangry Pants serves up this delish recipe with a fall-inspired twist. The pumpkin adds extra earthiness and makes the sauce even creamier. To get all the details, click here.
One Pot Andouille Sausage Skillet Pasta
White Cheese Pesto Mac
Skillet Pizza Mac and Cheese
Roasted Red Pepper Mac and Cheese
Sneak some veggies into your dinner with this recipe from The Stay at Home Chef. The roasted peppers, ground mustard, and a dash of hot sauce work together to make a perfect weeknight meal. Grab the recipe by clicking here.
Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese Cups
Roasted Vegetable Mac and Cheese
—Gabby Cullen with Susie Foresman
Featured image: iStock