We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Beyond the American Classic: 6 Unique Ways to Incorporate Mac and Cheese

fried mac and cheese balls on a cutting board with sauce
Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

You probably loved some form of boxed mac as a kid and later enjoyed the pleasures of baked homemade macaroni and cheese. But, have you ever tried it on pizza, or in a BBQ Beef Sandwich?

It makes a fantastic side dish to many American classic entrees, but why not take this famous traditional comfort food to the next level? From fried mac and cheese balls to chili mac, we’ve got something special for you.

Fried Mac and Cheese Balls

A few fried mac and cheese balls on a cookie sheet
Damn Delicious

This trendy fried food is popular in restaurants, and you can find it during most early fall carnivals. So, why not try it at home? Whether you have extra mac and cheese leftover from last night’s dinner or an additional box of easy mac in your pantry, this recipe works.

After your mac has cooled in the fridge for a few hours, you’ll notice it gets firm as the cheese gets cold. Using a cookie scoop, you’ll make equally sized balls that you then dip into egg and Panko breadcrumbs. After frying, you’ll have crispy golden-brown balls of fried goodness.

This makes for the perfect game day appetizer or party addition. You can’t go wrong with fried food, especially when it’s a family favorite like macaroni and cheese.

Get the Recipe: Damn Delicious

Mac Attack (Cheeseburger)

A cheeseburger stuffed with cheese macaroni
Food Network, Courtesy of Paul Malvone

If you’re hoping for something healthy, keep scrolling because this one is full of fattening and delicious ingredients. However, if you’re hoping for something that’ll make your taste buds dance, then this one is for you.

Homemade mac and cheese mixed with a hot sauce of your choice, formed into patties and placed on top of burger patties. Can’t forget about the sliced bacon, in case this doesn’t sound enticing enough as it is.

For a little extra guidance, watch the helpful tutorial video. Grab a beer or soda, because you’ll surely need to wash this one down.

Get the Recipe: Food Network

Grilled Mac and Cheese Sandwich

A grilled (mac and cheese) sandwich
Spend with Pennies

Here’s another recipe that gives you the choice of homemade or stovetop macaroni. Whichever you choose works excellent for this delicious lunchtime treat. The author also recommends making this with tomato soup for a perfect combo.

If you’ve ever made grilled cheese, then you can certainly make this sandwich, too. Just add the mac and cheese inside of your sandwich and enjoy watching your kids love each bite. In case you were wondering, you don’t actually need to have kids around to make this one. This meal is adult-friendly, too.

Get the Recipe: Spend with Pennies

Mac-N-Cheese Pizza

A pan mac and cheese pizza
All Recipes

In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve got a trend going on here. Every one of these meals falls under the stereotypical foods that most kids love to eat. So, why not combine classic children’s meals that your whole family will eat?

This gives you the perfect excuse to ditch take-out pizza and replace it with this two-in-one masterpiece. With only a few ingredients, this easy-to-make meal is one you’ll enjoy serving time and again.

Get the Recipe: All Recipes

Barbecue Mac Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

a barbecued and Mac 'n Cheese sandwich, grilled and plated

Shredded barbecue beef with freshly made macaroni and cheese come together so nicely between two slices of sourdough bread. Just add a slice of cheddar to that extra cheesy boost, and you have quite a sandwich in front of you.

If you aren’t a fan of beef, try pulled pork instead. Either way, the tender cooked meat complements cheesy macaroni so nicely, so why not combine them into one meal.

Serve this one with a side of sweet potato fries or tater tots, and savor each bite.

Get the Recipe: Buns in my Oven

Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

chili Mac and cheese in a bowl with sour cream and garnish

Chili is one of those classic hearty meals that taste great, especially on a chilly evening. Here, you get to try it with mac and cheese incorporated. How clever.

If you like chili, macaroni and cheese, and goulash, you pretty much get to enjoy all three meals combined into one.

This classic chili recipe is extra cheesy and uses cavatappi pasta for a fancy flair. Sprinkle with additional cheddar and a dollop of sour cream for the perfect winter meal.

Get the Recipe: Tasty

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?