Home Recipes Original Kraft Mac and Cheese (Upgraded Recipe)

Original Kraft Mac and Cheese (Upgraded Recipe)

Level up mac and cheese from the box! This upgraded Kraft mac and cheese is too good not to try.

When you’re too busy to make lunch or dinner or just not up for it, you can always depend on Kraft mac and cheese.

Bowl of Original Kraft Mac and Cheese on a White Marble Table with More Mac and Cheese in a Casserole Dish and a Plate of Ritz Crackers in the Background
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The blue box is a lifesaver! I always make sure I have a steady supply of it at home. 

While it’s perfectly good as it is, there’s an incredibly easy little trick to make it 10 times better.

With this little hack, you can transform the simple comfort food into a party-worthy dish.

Homemade Kraft Mac and Cheese Recipe

I found this recipe from a Kraft newsletter some time ago.

I was impressed by how incredibly simple it was and how significant it improved the basic mac and cheese.

With added cheese and sour cream, the sauce becomes even richer, cheesier, and downright divine.

The crushed cracker and butter topping gives the dish a crunchy outer crust that complements the texture of the mac and cheese very well.

So the next time you’re wondering how to make kraft mac & cheese better, be sure you also have some cheese, sour cream, butter, and crackers on hand.  

Believe me, once you’ve tried it, you’ll never cook boxed mac and cheese the same way ever again.

Close Up of Gooey Original Kraft Mac and Cheese with Ritz Cracker Topping in a Casserole Dish with a Wooden Spoon


  • Kraft Macaroni and Cheese – Use the classic blue box, the one with a packet of cheese sauce that you simply squeeze out. I haven’t tried this recipe with the powdered cheese version, but I imagine it’ll work well, too.
  • Cheddar Cheese – More cheese = more scrumptious mac and cheese. I use cheddar here because it’s what I always have on hand. But feel free to experiment with other cheeses as well. As long as it melts well, it’ll work!
  • Sour Cream – For an extra dose of richness and creaminess.
  • Ground Red or Black Pepper – Even if you don’t like spicy food, don’t skip the pepper. As you can imagine, the added cheese and sour cream make this dish ultra-rich. The pepper is as such, essential to balancing things out.
  • Crushed Crackers – It’s sprinkled over the mac and cheese to make a crunchy topping. I always use Ritz crackers for this recipe but you can also try panko breadcrumbs or French fried onions.
  • Butter – or margarine, in a pinch. It’s combined with the crushed crackers to create the topping.
Top View Macaroni Noodles Cooking in Boiling Water in a Saucepan Over the Stove
Top Side View of Macaroni and Cheese Cooking in a Pot

How to Make Kraft Mac and Cheese Better

1. Cook the mac and cheese. Just follow whatever it says at the back of the package. Easy-peasy.

2. Stir in cheddar cheese, sour cream, and pepper. This simple addition makes the sauce even more decadent! 

3. Spoon the mac and cheese into a greased baking dish. Don’t forget to grease the dish, okay? Otherwise, the macaroni will stick to it.

4. Top the mac and cheese with even more shredded cheese. This will add an extra layer of melty, ooey-gooey goodness on top of the already scrumptious dish.

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5. Combine crushed crackers and melted butter. This is the crunchy topping that makes the boxed mac and cheese seem homemade. Sprinkle this on top of the cheese layer.

6. Bake the mac and cheese for 20 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Super Close Up of Ritz Cracker Topping of Original Kraft Mac and Cheese in a Casserole Dish

Tips for the Best Mac and Cheese

  • Grate the cheese yourself. I know using pre-shredded cheese is so much more convenient, but it really makes a difference. The anti-caking agents in pre-shredded cheese keep it from melting well. 
  • Salt the pasta water well. As in, it should taste like salt water! Trust me, it won’t be to much, so don’t be afraid to add a whole spoonful to the pot!
  • Cook the macaroni to al dente, or about 1-2 minutes less than prescribed by the package. I find that the pasta gets a little too mushy if cooked exactly according to instructions.

If you’ve accidentally overcooked the macaroni, just toss it with butter to coat. The butter will create a protective coating that will keep the pasta from absorbing more liquid.

Storage Instructions:

Place mac and cheese in an air-tight container or cover it with plastic wrap. Store it in the fridge for 5 days.

Next, you’ll need to know how to reheat mac and cheese the right way!

I like to reheat it in a saucepan over medium-low heat. If the sauce dries up, add a bit of milk or cream to thin it out.

When reheating small servings, place mac and cheese in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat for 1-minute or until warmed through.

Bite of Original Kraft Mac and Cheese on a Fork Being Held Over a Bowl with more Mac and Cheese and a Casserole Dish with More in the Background

Recipe Variations

Make your mac and cheese more to your liking with these variation suggestions!

  • Make it meaty: throw bacon crumbles, cubed ham, ground beef, cut-up hotdogs, or shredded chicken into the mix. Add mushrooms if you’re vegetarian.  
  • Have you ever had mac and cheese with a piece of fried egg on top? It’s to die for! It makes the dish even more indulgent, so only go for this if you don’t mind an incredibly rich dish.
  • If you find the sauce way too rich, balance it out with herbs and spices. Cayenne and red chili flakes are great additions if you like some heat to your mac and cheese. Garlic and onion pepper taste really well with cheese, too. For an earthy flavor, add rosemary, thyme, or oregano. 
  • Instead of crushed butter crackers, you can also use panko breadcrumbs or French fried onions. Anything crispy and crunchy works.

More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes You’ll Love

Velveeta Mac and Cheese
Sweetie Pie’s Mac and Cheese
Cracker Barrel Mac and Cheese
Paula Deen Crockpot Mac and Cheese
Trisha Yearwood Crockpot Mac and Cheese Recipe

Original Kraft Mac and Cheese (Upgraded Recipe)



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For comfort food at its best, try this original Kraft mac and cheese recipe! With just 6 ingredients, you can have the dish you know and love in a homemade version.


  • 1 (14-ounce) package of Kraft macaroni and cheese, Dinner (blue box)

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red or black pepper

  • 6 butter-flavored crackers (e.g. Ritz), crushed

  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 1/5-quart baking dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  • Cook macaroni and cheese according to package instructions. Stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, sour cream, and pepper.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese into the greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
  • Mix the crushed crackers and melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture over the cheese.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes before serving Enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Original Kraft Mac and Cheese (Upgraded Recipe)”

    • Hi Donna!
      I haven’t tried it with Velveeta, but if you like it, give it a shot!
      Use about 4-5 ounces of Velveeta, cut into cubes so it mixes and melts evenly in the pasta

      Hope you like it!


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