10 Baked Mac & Cheese Recipes That Feel Like a Warm Hug from Grandma

Zucchini-Pimiento Skillet Mac & Cheese
Photo: Jacob Fox

These lighter takes on baked macaroni and cheese will leave you feeling all warm and cozy. Whether you want to make this cheesy pasta dish the star of your meal or just have a scoop on the side, these twists on the classic dish will surely satisfy. Recipes like our Vegan Mac & Cheese and Skillet Mac & Cheese with Zucchini & Pimiento are comforting dishes you'll want to make again and again.

01 of 10

Sweet Potato Mac & Cheese


Fiber-rich sweet potato is used as the base for the cheese sauce in this healthy, homemade macaroni and cheese recipe. The bright orange color tricks your eyes into thinking this healthy macaroni and cheese recipe is loaded with cheese, but there's actually only about half as much cheese as compared to a traditional recipe.

02 of 10

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese no longer has to be off the menu if you don't do dairy. A blend of hearty cauliflower, butternut squash, cashews and nutritional yeast gives this vegan macaroni and cheese the gooey, cheesy texture and flavor of traditional mac, without a bit of dairy!

03 of 10

Skillet Mac & Cheese with Zucchini & Pimiento

Zucchini-Pimiento Skillet Mac & Cheese
Jacob Fox

Sweet and mild pimiento peppers add a little zest to this skillet mac and cheese, while zucchini boosts the veggie count. Here we boil the pasta a little less than usual, until just shy of al dente, so it doesn't overcook in the oven.

04 of 10

Skillet Broccoli-Cheddar Mac & Cheese

Ep. 9: Skillet Broccoli-Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Joy Howard

Broccoli—just like pasta—makes a tasty pairing with sharp Cheddar. Here, we've combined all three ingredients in a homey casserole that's baked in a cast-iron skillet. Replacing some of the pasta in the dish with vegetables makes it more nutritious and helps you cut down on carbs.

05 of 10

Monticello's Macaroni

A dish of baked macaroni and cheese
Jerrelle Guy

This is the macaroni and cheese recipe that would have been used in the kitchens at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. The popularization of this iconic American dish can be traced to Black cooks who helped spread the dish throughout the United States.

06 of 10

Four-Cheese Macaroni and Cheese


The more cheese the merrier in this baked macaroni recipe, which also features butternut squash and whole-grain pasta.

07 of 10

Mable's Mac 'n' Cheese

mac and cheese in a casserole dish
Johnny Autry

Mable Clarke, the creator of this baked mac and cheese recipe, is a cook and activist from South Carolina who serves this dish at a monthly fish fry she started to save her church. "One thing I dislike is dry macaroni," says Clarke, so she makes plenty of custard for her version of this classic. "When people taste it, they say, 'Oooh, this macaroni!'"

08 of 10

Spinach-Tomato Macaroni & Cheese


An old-school classic gets a boost of nutrition and flavor from garlicky spinach and tomatoes in this healthy mac and cheese recipe.

09 of 10

Easy Macaroni and Cheese


This updated casserole recipe uses fat-free milk, refrigerated egg product and reduced-fat cheddar cheese, which lower the calories, fat, and carbs in your meal. As an added bonus, this recipe fits into a diabetes-friendly diet.

10 of 10

Baked Mac & Cheese

Baked Mac & Cheese

Mac & cheese can be a true comfort on a gloomy day, and our healthy update takes advantage of extra-sharp Cheddar balanced with creamy low-fat cottage cheese and tucks a layer of spinach into the middle, which may help picky eaters down their vegetables. Whole-wheat pasta adds robust flavor and extra fiber.

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