The Easy Addition To Give Boxed Mac & Cheese A Spicy Kick

Boxed mac and cheese has long been a staple in many households — known for its quick preparation and familiar, comforting flavor. However, it's easy to fall into a rut and feel like this humble dish lacks excitement. Or maybe you simply want to jazz up a childhood classic as an adult. Regardless, fear not, boxed mac and cheese aficionados.

With the addition of a few simple ingredients, you can elevate this pantry classic into quite an impressive meal. For those who don't appreciate the singular texture of packaged macaroni and cheese, you can add a textural twist by topping it with toasted bread crumbs. Simply sprinkle them on top of your dish for a satisfying crunch. 

But there are so many more options than just this textural upgrade. Explore other mix-ins to create your own mac and cheese masterpiece and expand your options with a few more flavorful ingredients — especially for those looking for a touch of tang and a bit of spice.

Add spice and tang with pickled jalapeños

If you're craving some heat in your go-to boxed mac and cheese, pickled jalapeños are a total game-changer. Slightly less spicy than fresh jalapeños, the pickled peppers add a pleasant kick that pairs beautifully with the creamy, cheesy goodness of mac and cheese without being overpowering, while the tanginess cuts through the richness of the dish, making each bite an unforgettable experience.

To upgrade your boxed meal, simply stir in a few tablespoons of chopped pickled jalapeños after you've mixed in the cheese sauce; Remember that you can adjust the amount to your heat tolerance, so start with just a little bit and add to suit your tastes. For an extra layer of flavor, you can also mix in a spoonful of the jalapeño brine for a bright twist.

After adding spicy, zesty pickled jalapeños to your dish, you'll never look at that box of mac and cheese the same way again.