Spice up your mac and cheese with some tasty toppings. Mac and Cheese just got an upgrade!
Oh, the king of all sides… Mac & Cheese! Few dishes are as satisfying as cheesy, gooey, golden mac and cheese.
This one is an all-time favorite in my house and I’m sure it is in yours too. Everyone has their favorite cheese to add but my go-to’s are mozzarella, sharp cheddar, white cheddar, smoked gouda, fontina, and gruyere.
But there are far more toppings available for this family favorite than just cheese! From fried chicken and pulled pork to butter crackers and hot dogs, here are some of the best ways to top your mac and cheese.
1. Bacon Bits
Bacon and cheese, a match made in heaven! Just the sight of golden yellow mac and cheese and the dark crispy bits of bacon are enough to make your mouth water.
When I make this, I always cook the bacon extra crispy and then crush them before adding a generous amount on top of my mac and cheese. Yum!
2. Fried Chicken
For some truly southern comfort food, top off your mac and cheese with fried chicken! I like to use small pieces of chicken (the size of tater tots!) coated in a batter that makes them extra crispy.
This one is foolproof and probably won’t last long after you serve it! This combo is too good to resist.
A healthy way to add texture to your mac and cheese is by adding cauliflower bits. I love its mild, milky flavor and I will usually add this on top of my mac and cheese before baking.
If you’re trying to stay away from gluten or carbs, you can even make cauliflower mac and cheese without the pasta! Guilt-free but equally delicious!
4. Diced Ham
Craving something meaty with your mac and cheese but want to keep its gooey texture? Add in some diced ham instead of bacon!
It’s just as delicious and you even get that extra savory, salty flavor from the juicy ham. This combo works especially well with a milkier mac and cheese. I recommend using smoked ham as the smokiness pairs perfectly with the creamy, cheesy flavors.
Here’s another southern way to top of your mac and cheese… with corn! Add some buttery corn kernels with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and paprika and you’ll never think about mac and cheese the same way again.
If you want something crunchy, add in some homemade corn nuts and pour them on top. Yum!
6. BBQ Chicken
Aside from the usual fried option, BBQ chicken is also a great way to add some protein into your mac and cheese. The BBQ sauce pairs perfectly with the cheesy pasta.
Cut your chicken into smaller pieces. Add them on top of your mac and cheese and you’ve got the perfect one-bowl meal!
For an extra pop of flavor, drizzle some additional BBQ sauce on top!
7. Crushed Cheetos
This isn’t the healthiest option here but crushed cheetos make any cheesy dish taste even better! Instead of the usual bread crumbs, top off your mac and cheese with hot cheetos and thank me later!
I try not to make this too often but when I do, it’s always worth the extra calories. Plus, kids love it!
8. Pulled Pork
The sweet and savory flavors of pulled pork combine perfectly with mac and cheese. You’ll need to prepare this in advance but the effort is so worth it.
Those tender juicy bits of pork go oh so well with your mac and cheese. For a little extra kick, you can make it with Cajun seasoning. So delicious!
Want your seafood fix with your mac and cheese? Try topping it with shrimp!
Garlic butter shrimp goes especially well with extra cheesy and silky mac and cheese. If your mac and cheese is on the milkier side, try Cajun shrimp!
10. Lobster Meat
Another excellent seafood option to enjoy with your mac and cheese is lobster meat! I love how creamy lobster meat is and I think it pairs so well with whatever kind of cheese you use.
You can also try crab meat. If you can’t get them fresh, kani sticks or crab meat sticks are easier to find at groceries or asian stores. Definitely give this a try!
11. Butter Crackers
If you want something simple, why not try crushed butter crackers? This classic combo never disappoints and the combo of crunchy, buttery crackers with the creamy macaroni is just perfection. Simple yet delicious!
Who says hot dogs only go on buns? Dice them up and add them on top of your mac and cheese!
This is a major hit with kids (and adults too!) so give it a try. Aside from the usual red hot dogs, you can also try sausages or frankfurters for a more distinct flavor. Yum!
This is an excellent way to add heat to your mac and cheese. Jalapenos add a little bit of spice and a big bite of flavor.
I love how its sharp acidic flavor balances out the richness of mac and cheese. You can slice them up or dice them into small pieces. Sprinkle them on top or mix them in for a delicious kick of flavor.
Another great way to add heat to your mac and cheese is to add sriracha. To me, sriracha is the king of hot sauces. It has a great flavor and it’s not too hot or too mild.
No wonder this Vietnames sauce has become so popular! And if this isn’t enough heat for you, why not sprinkle some chili flakes too? Extra hot, extra yummy!
15. Ground Beef
Cheeseburger mac and cheese? Yes, please! You might have seen those burgers with mac and cheese on social media, so why not add the burger to the mac and cheese too right?
Season your ground beef the same way you would season it if you were making a burger. You can even add in some tomato slices and some shredded lettuce too.
16. Truffle Oil
Feeling fancy? Take your mac and cheese to the next level by making it with truffle oil.
If you’ve never used this in the kitchen, you should definitely give it a try because it makes EVERYTHING better. Before serving your mac and cheese, drizzle over a little bit of truffle oil. You can even top it off with some mushrooms too!
17. Crumbled Cheez-Its
Another excellent substitute for plain old bread crumbs… Cheez-Its! They’re less sinful than cheetos but add more flavor than the buttered crackers so it’s the perfect balance.
Crush them in a bag with a rolling pin or in a food processor and sprinkle a good amount over your mac and cheese. You’ll get more of that salty, cheesy goodness plus some crunch.
Pepperoni on mac and cheese? Yep! If it goes well on a cheesy pizza, why not on a warm bed of mac and cheese, right?
Whenever I use this as a topping, I like to add thick slices of mozzarella too. Think of it as a cross between a pizza and a mac and cheese. It’s two of the greatest foods ever so it’s bound to be extremely good!
Speaking of pizza, why not add in some tomatoes? Your mac and cheese will taste even better with a little bit of acidity.
Dress it up with thick slices of tomato and a sprinkle of parsley. It’s super simple but this will make your mac and cheese look and taste even better. I usually do this when I have guests over and they love it!
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