Every Annie's Mac And Cheese Flavor, Ranked Worst To Best

If there were ever a contender for Kraft's place on the mac and cheese shelf at your local grocery store, it has to be Annie's. The brand is known for its healthy-ish prepared foods that seem appealing to buyers who are willing to spend more money on a premium product or upgraded flavors. But not all instant mac and cheese brands are created equally, and neither are all of Annie's offerings. Some of the brand's shapes and flavors are amazing and truly show off what a great boxed meal can do. Others leave a lot to be desired and can put a bad taste in your mouth ... and we don't mean that metaphorically.

So, just how should you tackle the Annie's mac and cheese section at your local grocery store? We want to help you out with this guide to the best and the worst this brand has to offer. Of course, you don't have to take our word for it — try these products out for yourself to discover which ones you like best. You may just find a new favorite in the process.

15. Organic Shells and White Cheddar with Whole Grains

We totally get that some people are trying to eat healthier by incorporating whole grains into their diet. But if you fall into that camp, you might want to avoid Annie's altogether. That's because, if you ask us, the Organic Shells & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Whole Grains are not the best the brand has to offer. Admittedly, that doesn't mean that the whole product is bad. If you happen to like cheddar cheese, there's a good chance you're going to love the white cheddar cheese sauce in this product. But when it comes to the pasta itself? We'll have to pass.

This whole-grain pasta is just that: grainy. It has an unpleasant texture that comes close to regular pasta but just misses the mark. When you cover it with the white cheddar sauce it comes with, it's not too bad. However, this isn't the type of pasta we'd ever want to eat on its own. When there are other, better products to choose from in the Annie's line, you shouldn't settle for less than the best.

14. Gluten-Free Rice Pasta and Cheddar

Don't get us wrong — we absolutely love the fact that Annie's offers a gluten-free option for those who can't or who choose not to consume gluten. It's great when a company tries to make its products more accessible to a wider group of buyers. But if you can eat gluten and are just interested in trying something new, we can't exactly recommend the Gluten Free Rice Pasta & Cheddar Mac from the brand. The cheddar sauce is fine, but it just can't cover up the slightly strange texture you get from the rice pasta. It has too much chewiness to remind us of the classic mac and cheese we grew up on.

If you choose not to eat gluten for whatever reason and want to give this pasta a try, you're probably not going to be that disappointed. But if you're used to eating wheat pasta and you give this stuff a try, there's a high likelihood that you won't love it.

13. Organic Vegan Cheddar Flavor

We fully believe that there should be more vegan products lining the shelves, so it's great to see that Annie's is doing its part by providing a vegan option for those who choose to abstain from the consumption of animal products. But if you were to do a blind taste test, we can almost guarantee that the Organic Vegan Cheddar Flavor Mac from Annie's wouldn't win the top spot — or even come close. The problem for us all comes down to the cheese sauce. It's not terrible, but does it taste like cheddar? Not exactly. If they hadn't invoked cheddar specifically, we could probably accept it as a generic cheese-like sauce. But if you're expecting a distinct cheddar flavor from this product, you're probably not going to be thrilled after you take the first bite.

If you ask us, there are better vegan mac and cheese options out there, but if you're vegan and can only find Annie's on store shelves, it might be doable for a quick meal.

12. Shells and White Cheddar

Out of all the cheese sauce flavors that Annie's offers, the white cheddar is one of our least favorites, and that's why the Shells & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese isn't further up on our list. The white cheddar cheese doesn't taste bad — it just doesn't taste like much at all. We think it happens to be rather bland and boring, but it makes a great meal for picky kids and those who are looking for something that's just simple and easy to eat. We think it can also be used as a base to which you can add other ingredients, like chili oil, green peas, or even ground meat.

The shells themselves are great, and they surprisingly hold onto their al dente texture even after they've been combined with the sauce. We love that they hold the sauce so well, delivering the perfect pasta-to-sauce ratio in every bite. Is it our favorite? No. Is it worth a try if you're okay with a somewhat bland flavor? Maybe.

11. Classic Cheddar

Oftentimes, we find that the best of any brand is the original, and we certainly hoped that would be the case when we tried Annie's Classic Cheddar Mac & Cheese. But it definitely wasn't our favorite of the bunch — not by a long shot. We like to think of this product as a slightly elevated Kraft mac and cheese. It's very clear that it's boxed mac, which means that it's just average at best. That's probably what a lot of people are expecting when they buy a box of mac and cheese from any brand, but considering that some of Annie's products are so much tastier, we were disappointed that the original wasn't better.

The cheddar cheese sauce is decent, but it's nothing special. You may want to add some seasonings or some extra cheese to make it a bit more flavorful. The noodles are those classic mac and cheese tubes you'll find from most boxed mac and cheese brands. It's not bad, but you can definitely do better.

10. Deluxe Rich and Creamy Shells and Four Cheese

Just because you're eating boxed mac and cheese doesn't mean that you don't deserve the best. If you're looking for the next step up from your typical boxed mac, you may want to check out the deluxe line from Annie's. They offer slightly better-quality, creamier products than the standard line, and some of the flavors are delicious. Our least favorite of the bunch, the Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Mac & Cheese, is still pretty solid. The cheese sauce is lacking in flavor despite its inclusion of not one, not two, but four cheeses, but it does have an undeniably pleasant creaminess to it that we just can't get enough of.

Of course, we love that this product utilizes shells. It's perhaps one of the best cheese sauce delivery methods because all that cheese melts and settles inside each shell. We like some of the other deluxe flavors more than this one, but the four-cheese flavor is still worth a try.

9. Penne and Four Cheese

Annie's is known for having a wide variety of pasta shapes in its products, but one of our favorites also happens to be one of the simplest: penne. It may not be the pasta shape that first comes to mind when you think of mac and cheese, but that may be why we like the Penne & Four Cheese Mac & Cheese from Annie's: It offers something different and unexpected. The cheese sauce is fine, but it's not our absolute favorite. However, we love how the cheese works itself into all the crevices in the penne pasta.

The sauce is made with a blend of aged cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, and ricotta cheeses, and they all come together to coat each piece of penne in a creamy, rich sauce. If you're on the hunt for a mac and cheese product that deviates from what you've grown to expect, this one may be just the switch-up you need.

8. Yummy Bunnies and Cheddar

When you see Yummy Bunnies & Cheddar from Annie's, you may wrongly assume that this is a product only for kids. The undeniably fun shape of the pasta and the bunny illustrations on the box may seem like they indicate that this flavor is reserved for the little ones, but we're here to tell you that you should embrace this fun-shaped pasta if you're looking for a more exciting boxed mac and cheese experience. Not only are the shapes fun, but they create an interesting, bouncy texture that's a nice departure from your average adult mac and cheese pasta shape.

The cheddar cheese sauce is the same cheddar sauce we've encountered before, but something about the shape of this pasta really highlights its cheesiness in a way that makes it more appealing. So, sure, make some of this stuff for the kids, but don't forget to save yourself a bowl too — you're not likely to regret it.

7. Organic Alfredo Shells and Cheddar

You may have assumed that you could only find plain mac and cheese from Annie's. Well, think again because the Organic Alfredo Shells & Cheddar Mac & Cheese is offering a whole new flavor combination that you may not have even considered when you walked down the mac and cheese aisle. This flavor is distinctly less cheesy than many of the others — the creamy alfredo sauce is to thank for that. But don't worry, cheese lovers. You're still getting plenty of that cheesiness from the addition of cheddar cheese. The sauce is made even more delicious with both garlic and basil, giving this mac and cheese a more sophisticated flavor profile than most of the brand's other options.

You already know it by now, but we love the shells from this brand. And when you combine those shells with such a garlic- and herb-forward sauce, it's no wonder this product ranks so well on our list.

6. Organic Peace Pasta and Parmesan

Let's get one thing straight: We have never been against a fun pasta shape, especially when that pasta comes covered in a delicious sauce. That's why we happen to love the Organic Peace Pasta & Parmesan Mac & Cheese from Annie's. This pasta is shaped like peace signs, which makes it a fun eating experience for kids and adults alike. This unconventional shape, like the bunny pasta we've already mentioned, adds an interesting textural element to the dish, making it even more appealing than a standard mac and cheese.

What really makes this mac and cheese special, though, has to be the Parmesan cheese sauce. You're not going to find this flavor of sauce with any of the other pasta shapes, so it's worth a try with this product. The sauce has a sharp, distinctly Parmesan-esque flavor to it, and there's even a bit of garlic in the mix to keep things interesting. This is one of the more sophisticated flavors of the bunch, and we could easily eat it on the regular.

5. Deluxe Rich and Creamy Shells and White Cheddar

We already talked about the fact that we don't love the white cheddar cheese sauce from Annie's, but there is one exception, and that's the Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese. While the other white cheddar cheese sauces we've had from this brand are a bit thin and bland, you're not going to have that problem when you pick up the deluxe version. The cheese sauce has a rich, creamy texture to it that makes every bite even more irresistible, and it somehow clings to the shell pasta better.

Sometimes, we all need a night when we just make boxed mac and cheese and sit in front of the TV for a few hours. But if you're trying to do that in the most indulgent way possible, you may want to opt for this decadent Annie's offering.

4. Organic Farm Friends and Cheddar

The fun pasta shapes strike again, but this time, you're going to find farm-themed shaped pasta in your box of Organic Farm Friends & Cheddar Mac & Cheese. These pasta shapes are super fun — you'll find tractor, carrot, cow, and rabbit shapes in the mix, and they make eating boxed mac and cheese so much more exciting. Their light, springy texture makes them the perfect vehicle for the cheddar cheese sauce. The cheese sauce isn't the most interesting thing you've ever tasted, but something about it on the interesting pasta shapes makes it taste more appealing than it would be on a more traditional pasta.

Of course, the little ones are going to love this mac and cheese, so you might want to pick it up if you feed kids on a regular basis. But listen, we don't judge. Sometimes, even adults need fun pasta shapes, so pick it up for yourself if you're looking for a quick, simple, and unfussy lunch or dinner.

3. Deluxe Rich and Creamy Yummy Bunnies and Cheddar

If you want the best of all possible words, you may have to spring for the Deluxe Rich & Creamy Yummy Bunnies & Cheddar from Annie's. First of all, this product has the cute bunny-shaped pasta we know and love. Again, this stuff is sure to be a hit with the kids, but you don't have to limit yourself just because you're over 18. This product also features the original cheddar cheese flavor Annie's is known for, but this particular box takes it up a notch. This cheese sauce is richer and creamier than the standard cheddar cheese sauce you're used to from the brand, which means it coats those bunny-shaped noodles even better than the original.

While there are more interesting flavors available from Annie's, it's just hard to beat the creaminess and the fun texture this particular flavor offers. Whether you're trying to cook a fun meal for your little ones or you're just trying to elevate your mac and cheese experience slightly, it's hard to deny how fun this boxed mac and cheese is.

2. Spirals with Butter and Parmesan

There are few things we love in this life more than simplicity, which is probably why the Spirals with Butter & Parmesan from Annie's is one of our absolute favorites of the bunch. First of all, there's the pasta shape: You're not going to find any of the other flavors featuring this rotini-like pasta shape, so by virtue of its originality, it's one of our absolute favorites. Part of the reason this is such a fantastic pasta shape is the fact that the spirals hold onto that cheesy sauce better — and you're going to want a big dose of that sauce in every bite.

That's because this sauce is one of the best that Annie's offers. It's based on butter, which means it's ultimately a really simple sauce, but it has a richness and fattiness to it that makes it taste more expensive than it actually is. Once you add in the sharp, rich flavor of the Parmesan, you have an incredibly simple pasta sauce that tastes fantastic despite the fact that there's not much going on on the surface.

1. Shells and Real Aged Cheddar

There are plenty of standard cheddar cheese sauce offerings you can find from Annie's, but if you want something that's even more flavorful than the norm, you might want to spring for the Shells & Real Aged Cheddar Mac & Cheese. While the original cheddar cheese sauce is solid, it's nothing super special — it just tastes like any average cheese sauce you've ever had in a boxed mac and cheese. But the aged cheddar cheese sauce is something else entirely. It has a funkiness to it that we wouldn't expect from boxed mac and cheese.

And once again, our beloved shells make an appearance in this product. They carefully cup that glorious aged cheddar cheese sauce so it can be easily delivered to our mouths, leaving us savoring every bite. If you're wondering where to start your Annie's mac and cheese journey, we definitely suggest starting with the shells and real aged cheddar mac and cheese.