Tuna Is The Best Secret Weapon For Better Boxed Mac & Cheese

Fish in mac and cheese may not sound like the dream combination, but you may be surprised by how delicious it can be. You're probably used to ingredients that increase the richness or creaminess factors, such as truffle and bacon bits — but our list of the 15 best additions to mac and cheese includes broccoli, kale, and mustard. In fact, too much cream can actually ruin your mac and cheese, proving that sometimes you need ingredients to balance all the cheesiness, not add to it.

That's where tuna comes in. It's not the first time seafood has been used to amp up this dish — if you've ever tried garlic shrimp or lobster in your mac and cheese, you know how tasty it is. But adding tuna specifically evokes the feeling of a warm, comforting tuna casserole. Both dishes have ample amounts of cheese and are typically baked in the oven with breadcrumbs until they develop a crunchy golden crust on the outside while remaining soft and creamy on the inside — hungry yet? And the best part is that you don't need to be a master cook to make tuna mac and cheese. In fact, you can use the boxed stuff.

Adding tuna to your mac and cheese is an easy way to enjoy tuna casserole flavors

If you want to add a little pizazz to your boxed mac and cheese, one of the easiest ways is to throw in some canned tuna. You could use the tuna packed in water or oil, but we'd recommend oil for added flavor (but make sure to drain it either way). The tuna should be added after the noodles are cooked at the same time when you mix in the cheese packet, milk, and butter. To make the process more seamless, try flaking it before dumping it in — even if you don't, it should break up as you stir everything together anyway.

Adding tuna brings a major protein boost to your mac and cheese, as just one ounce packed in oil contains eight grams of protein and only two grams of fat. But it also adds a salty, tangy depth of flavor that nicely balances out the richness of the cheese, milk, and butter. Here are a few other ingredients you can add to tuna mac and cheese to zhuzh it up even more: peas, corn, broccoli, chopped celery, chopped onion, and mustard. Incorporating a little mustard can amp up the tanginess even more — but feel free to leave it out, as tuna should bring plenty of flavor on its own.