When I’m craving comfort food, it just doesn’t get better than homemade mac and cheese. I know that grocery store kit is soooo easy to make—and probably the right move on a busy weeknight—but when you need a fix of the real deal, these decadent mac and cheese recipes are where it’s at. With ingredients like truffles, lobster, and gnocchi, these recipes take our kids’ favorite dish to a whole new level that will have everyone—even vegans and gluten-free eaters!—begging for more.

Top: Gnocchi Mac and Cheese with Bacon | Fox Valley Foodie

Related: How to cook pasta perfectly, even ahead of time.

To start off, let’s get a handle on homemade mac and cheese basics. If you’ve never made the stuff from scratch or you’re just worried that it won’t turn out well, start by checking out these 5 mistakes to avoid when making mac and cheese from our friends at The Kitchn. These super helpful tips will help you achieve mac and cheesy nirvana. (Yes, there is such a place. I’ve been there and it’s as good as it sounds.)


Easy dinner tonight: Classic Baked Mac and Cheese | I Heart Eating

With some basics under your belt, you can jump right into simple decadence with a classic Baked Macaroni and Cheese like the one at I Heart Eating. While most scratch mac and cheese recipes are better saved for the weekend, this one can be made on a weeknight since it skips the roux. One fewer step and less cleanup: My kind of recipe.


Holy moly, this Butternut Squash and Beer Mac and Cheese looks amazing! | Brooklyn Suppers

Whoa! The seriously upgraded flavors of this Butternut Squash and Beer Mac and Cheese at Brooklyn Supper might make this a new favorite in my house. It has a lot of tang from the white pepper and IPA, and the addition of butternut squash makes it extra smooth and creamy. Beyond delicious.


Easy, decadent Bacon and Gnocchi Mac & Cheese. Yessss! | Fox Valley Foodie

I’ve seen a few recipes for gnocchi mac lately, but this Gnocchi Mac and Cheese with Bacon (above and top) at Fox Valley Foodie actually looks like something I could make . . .  and something my kids would eat. Because, hello bacon.

Related: Classic Italian American recipes: The ultimate comfort food.


Yes, mac and cheese can be vegan! Decadent, even: Green Chili Mac and Cheese | Minimalist Baker

Green Chili Mac and Cheese | Minimalist Baker

Vegan mac and cheese? Yes, it exists! We found this recipe for vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese at Minimalist Baker and are seriously impressed with the decadent creaminess she yields from cashews. Plus, a load of Mexican spices and chilis give this one some kick that even non-vegans will love.


Take mac & cheese to a new level with Spicy Bacon, Mushroom and Truffles Mac & Cheese, which can be made gluten-free too! | Bless Her Heart Y'all

This gluten-free recipe for Spicy Bacon, Mushroom, and Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese at Bless Her Heart Y’all takes mac and cheese to a whole other level. Of course, you can tweak the “spicy” part however you want and even go with not-gluten-free pasta if you prefer. Any way you dish it up, this one looks so over-the-top good.


Rich and decadent and so, so good: Lobster Mac and Cheese | Kitchen Joy

I’ve been seeing lobster mac popping up on menus all over the place lately, so why not try it at home for a fancy dinner in? This Shrimp and Lobster Mac and Cheese at Kitchen Joy shows you how. This one is seriously rich though—a little goes a long way.

Related: How to cook with frozen shrimp, plus 8 kid-friendly, super-fast shrimp dinner recipes.


Homemade mac and cheese in the microwave? Yes, it's possible and so much better than the stuff from a box | The Kitchn

I know that we’re supposed to be talking decadent mac and cheese recipes, but how could I round up a bunch of recipes without giving you a realistic, decadent-by-comparison box alternative that you can whip up any night of the week? I couldn’t, which is why I have to include this handy guide on how to make mac and cheese in the microwave at The Kitchn. Try this once and you’ll never go back to powdered cheese again.

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