13 Frozen Mac And Cheese Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

Whether you're a diner die-hard, a Kraft connoisseur, or a homemade hard-liner, macaroni and cheese is pretty much universally adored. We love it too, so much so that we decided to put our questions to rest and figure out which brand is best once and for all. We have tasted our way through instant mac and cheese brands, so it seemed appropriate to do the same with some popular frozen options.

Some of these brands you're bound to have heard of before and others might be new to you. The next time you are at the grocery store, consider our findings on these mac and cheese brands so you don't regret what you choose. Whether you are a frequent consumer, or if you just like to keep a box in the back of your freezer for emergency reasons, read on to find out which brands bring the frozen mac and cheese best.

13. Lean Cuisine

Coming in at the bottom of the list is Lean Cuisine. We suggest saving your money (even though this product is fairly cheap) and getting literally any other frozen macaroni and cheese. We found that the texture of the pasta was strange and rubbery, the cheese had no flavor at all, and, overall, just had nothing going for it. The flavor in this Vermont White Cheddar Lean Cuisine didn't pop at all, which was disappointing since we typically enjoy white cheddar-flavored items. Our taste test of this mac and cheese turned out to be so bland that we're not even sure that we can call it classic mac and cheese — it's more like a distant relative of the comfort food classic. 

While our main complaint throughout the bottom few brands was a severe lack of flavor, this one, by far, had the least amount of flavor to offer. It needed some sharp provolone, salt, new noodles, and a facelift before we would ever buy this again. The brand also offers this mac and cheese in a few different versions, including Salisbury Steak with Macaroni and Cheese and Oven-Fried Chicken with Buffalo-Style Mac & Cheese. Maybe the buffalo-flavored mac and cheese would be better than the Vermont White Cheddar and, at least, offer some flavor.

12. Michelina's

If you are looking for a Stouffer's mac and cheese copycat product that's cheaper than the original, Michelina's is the brand for you. Do not get us wrong — we found it to be quite unimpressive. The cheese is quite bland, the orange color is so bright that its artificial, and there was a weird orange film on top after cooking. At best, it's just boring. There weren't even breadcrumbs to spice up the texture a little bit. If you're brave and want to give the brand's other mac and cheese varieties a chance, you can choose from Wheels and Cheese (mac and cheese with wagon wheel-shaped pasta), Cheeseburger Mac, Macaroni and Cheese Bake, and Macaroni & Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

We found Michelina's frozen mac and cheese for $1.08 at Walmart, and while it may seem like a bargain, you truly get what you pay for. It is not even close to the best option, and we suggest saving your dollar and spending it on any of the other brands ranked higher.

11. Stouffer's

Ah, Stouffer's. We're sure you all know this brand, and we're even more sure you've probably tried it at least once. If you have not, let us explain: Stouffer's is what you leave sitting in the back of your fridge for six months (cough, sometimes years), before you remember it exists. You might say to yourself, "Why have I left this sitting here for so long? It's probably great!" Then, you go ahead and put the frozen mac and cheese in the microwave, if you're impatient, or the oven if you really want to try and get it to taste its best. You peel the film off the top, swirl around the neon orange film on top, and eat it right from the container. And it's then you remember why it's been sitting in your fridge for six months.

The only reason this frozen mac and cheese ranks any higher than the previous brands is because the noodles are ever so slightly better than the previous two. Other than that, it tastes identical to Michelina's. Or, we should say, Michelina's tastes identical to Stouffer's. Hard pass on both. Perhaps, though, Stouffer's other mac-and-cheese-esque options would be more satisfying, like Bacon & White Cheddar Mac Bites, Baked Macaroni & Cheese, or BBQ Recipe Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl. Maybe Stouffer's Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese would do the trick?

10. 8 Myles

We would not walk eight miles to go buy this frozen mac and cheese. In fact, we'd walk right past it in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. This 8 Myles Homestyle Mac N' Cheese placed in the bottom half of this ranking because, and this is the simplest way to put it, it's just plain bad. These noodles had the strangest texture of all the ones we tried (and, turns out, the Buffalo Mac N' Cheese and the BBQ Mac N' Cheese varieties are the same things with just the sauce on top). They were like a college student during finals week: barely holding it together, and if you push them too hard, they'll easily fall apart. We'll move on.

The cheese flavor itself was non-existent and the noodles were greatly lacking, but there were two (minor) saving graces to this brand that placed it above the previous ones. First, the breadcrumb topping to this mac and cheese added a nice textural element to break up the mushiness of the rest of the meal. Secondly, there was a ton of protein in this dish at 16 grams. If you're in need of protein and don't mind adding a little of your own parmesan cheese to this frozen dish and can handle grainier pasta, go for it.

9. Good Food Made Simple

No, your eyes are not deceiving you: The pasta in the image on the Good Food Made Simple White Cheddar Mac & Cheese box is in fact different from the pasta this frozen dish actually comes with. Believe us, we were shocked, too. What can we say about this frozen mac and cheese? The brand's name, Good Food Made Simple, could really just be called "Made Simple." This was a no-frills mac and cheese, and, like all of the others on the bottom half of this ranking, it seriously lacked flavor. Yes, the butter and cheese and carbs are warm and comforting, but that doesn't mean we can just neglect the tastebuds. 

We were actually quite disappointed by this brand, as we typically love white cheddar items (Annie's White Cheddar box mac and cheese, we're looking at you), but this one was less white cheddar and more of a whisper of cheese. This was the La Croix of frozen mac and cheese, if you will.

8. Marie Callender's

If we had to pick a few mac and cheese brands to buy off of this list — we're still not at that point in this ranking. Generally speaking, we're not opposed to Marie Callender's. The brand makes a mean frozen pot pie that's easy to cook, so we were expecting the same from the classic frozen mac and cheese. It just did not deliver for us. It delivered much, much more than the previous brands in this ranking, but it still was lacking that magic. 

The best part about this item, in our opinion, was the breadcrumbs. After taste testing so many different mac and cheeses, we really appreciated whenever a brand chose to incorporate a breadcrumb topping into its frozen dish. It substantially adds to the experience. The flavor was fine, the noodles were fine, and the overall product was, well, fine. If a middle-of-the-ground frozen mac and cheese is what you're looking for (we're not here to judge), this one is ... fine. 

And if you're the world's biggest fan of shrimp to where you'd mix it into your mac and cheese, the brand offers a White Wine & Butter Shrimp Mac & Cheese Bowl. You could also get a Spicy Buffalo Style Chicken Mac & Cheese Bowl or a Kansas City Style Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Bowl in the hopes of amping up the flavor.

7. Evol

We desperately wish we could rank the Evol Truffle Parmesan Mac & Cheese higher. The second we opened this bad boy up, we could smell the truffle and not in an overwhelming way. It was inviting. The box said, "Let's finally introduce a new flavor to the mix here, shall we?" We were amped. After it cooked, we were still jazzed. The breadcrumbs have the perfect texture and balance to the pasta, the truffle flavor pops without waging war on your tastebuds, and we would happily order this dish again. The same goes for the Chipotle Chicken Mac and Cheese and the Five Cheese Alfredo Mac with Chicken.

All of that is to say, there's (frustratingly) a caveat: We can't really call this mac and cheese. It was a warm, wonderful, truffle pasta, but there was absolutely no cheese sauce or flavor, and we were craving that juicy cheese pull that you get when you lift your fork up with a bite of the dish. If Evol marketed this product as a frozen truffle pasta dinner instead of mac and cheese, it would be a winner. But, when you write mac and cheese on the box (and we try this item specifically for a mac and cheese ranking article), people will end up disappointed with the end result, and understandably so.

6. Severino

Going in, this one was a little bit of a wild card for us. Severino Pasta Company is a lesser-known brand when compared to giants in every grocery store like Stouffer's or Marie Callender's, so we weren't quite sure what to expect. Right off the bat, the packaging detailed a family origin story on the back, even including a family photograph. This did warm our hearts.

Cooking the actual mac and cheese was pretty much the same process for all of the other brands, except for this one. The box instructions noted that if you're heating it up in the oven, put tin foil over the container. We followed the instructions to a T. While we didn't notice any drastic differences between this mac and cheese and the previous ones, it's always good to remember that if you want the best results, just follow the instructions. The flavors of this dish were fairly minimal, with a slightly more cheesy flavor than previous brands on this ranking. The noodles were standard and nothing spectacular. Overall, this was a pretty decent middle-of-the-road option. We didn't hate it, but we didn't love it.

5. Trader Joe's

Now that we've reached the top contestants in this frozen mac and cheese brand competition, this is where it gets fun. If you're not a New Jersey or New York native, you might not be familiar with just how common diners are there (and home to some of the best diners in America). Growing up in South Jersey, every town had at least one. And we would bet that you could get the same classic dish to warm your heart and soul: diner-style mac and cheese.

We're not too sure how Trader Joe's managed to do it (maybe the brand employed a former diner owner to help replicate the magic?), but this brand hit the nail on the head for us. This frozen macaroni and cheese was creamy, starchy, cheesy, and truly a jump in the space-time continuum. If someone put this piping hot dish on a plate while we sat in a squeaky pleather booth and closed our eyes, you wouldn't be able to convince us that we weren't eating the real thing. It's classic. 

If you're not the biggest fan of diner mac and cheese, Trader Joe's has lots of other equally delicious mac and cheese options for you, like the Mac and Cheese bites, Gluten Free Mac and Cheese, Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese, and the French Onion Macaroni and Cheese. Still, while this dish did blow us away, a few other brands knocked it even more out of the park.

4. Amy's

The flavor has arrived! Amy's macaroni and cheese absolutely delivered with this frozen meal, and boy oh boy, will we be repurchasing it. This is what you want out of a frozen meal. Do not settle for less than what you deserve, folks. And Amy's frozen mac and cheese is exactly what we all deserve: an easy-to-cook and flavorful dish with a cheese flavor that doesn't just soak away into the pasta. 

At first glance after cooking, though, we have to admit we were slightly concerned. It had the same weird orange film on top like Stouffer's and Michelina's (remember those?) and it was very liquidy on the bottom of the container. But, after giving it a second to rest and then stirring it all together, it became the Amy's we now love. While the flavors did blow us away, the noodle shape was pretty standard. 

If you want to experience the lovely Amy's frozen mac and cheese, but want to switch it up from the standard variety, go for either the Gluten Free Rice Mac & Cheese, Mac and 3 Cheese with Cauliflower Bowl, or the Chili Mac Bowl. 

3. Devour

We love when a brand's name is accurate for the product it delivers. Devour this mac and cheese, we did. There are a lot of things that set Devour White Cheddar Mac & Cheese apart. First of all, the pasta noodles are in a fun twisted shape, which adds dimension and texture to the dish from the first bite. We were big fans, and the next time we make mac and cheese at home, we plan on using this spiraled pasta

Next, the cheese sauce was flavorful. It wasn't as flavorful as we would've liked, which is why this isn't ranked higher, but it was still legions above the other brands on this list. But, finally, the real star of the show was the bacon. The bacon bits in here added a much-needed third element to the dish. We found this mac and cheese to be incredibly filling, so if you're looking to be full but don't want to spend more than a few bucks, go for this frozen meal. 

Also, check out Devour's Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese, Sharp Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Bacon, and the Chicken Cordon Bleu Mac & Cheese for an equally delicious and satisfying frozen mac and cheese experience.

2. Kidfresh

The Kidfresh Wagon Wheels Mac & Cheese was a wild card for us. Sometimes, products marketed specifically toward children can fail to deliver as much flavor as we'd like, but not with Kidfresh. This frozen mac and cheese brand has all the elements going for it, and then some. It has a fun, unique pasta shape (wagon wheels), it has buckets more flavor than most of the other items on this list, and we had a great time eating it. Plus, there are actually pureed carrots mixed into the cheese sauce, and we'll never say no to getting some extra veggies in there. 

This mac and cheese is not just for kids, people. We found that the wagon wheel shape made the pasta more fun, and that applies even to adults. The cheddar cheese flavor popped here in the way we like, and we would absolutely repurchase this dish. Plus, for those of you looking to up your protein intake, this dish has 12 grams of protein, which is a win in our book. If you're wanting a little meat with your pasta, go for Kidfresh's Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese.

1. Beecher's

Having the words "World's Best Mac & Cheese" written in huge letters on the front of the Beecher's frozen mac and cheese box made us a bit skeptical. We thought, well, doesn't every brand think its product is the best? Plus, for over $12, which was significantly more than all the other prices, we were unsure if this gourmet frozen macaroni would be worth all of the fuss — or just a generic with fancy packaging.

We're happy to report this was the best frozen mac and cheese we tried — by a long shot. The choice of penne reminded us of the pasta you'd get if you ordered mac and cheese at a nice restaurant (and Beecher's cafes are found in Seattle). We found the penne shape actually held more of the cheese sauce, as opposed to the traditional macaroni shape. Next, the cheesy sauce: It was flavorful with every bite. A look at the ingredient list tells us there are two signature kinds of cheese in there (one reminiscent of cheddar jack), chipotle puree, garlic, chili powder, and more. But, don't let those things scare you off; it was not spicy, it was just flavorful. 

We would absolutely repurchase this Beecher's product again, and for the fancy restaurant quality that you're getting in this frozen item, it's a bargain. And if Beecher's mac is your go-to and you want some variety, opt for the Smoked Flagship Mac & Cheese with apple and cherry wood notes.