Whether from a box or from scratch, mac and cheese has a cozy spot in the hearts of many.

We’re not here to tell you there’s something better than your cherished family mac and cheese. We are here to tell you there are different and tasty recipes in their own right.

From add-ins to color swaps, here are some fun twists and turns on a classic dish.

Baked Pasta With Chicken and Pepper Jack. This creamy cheese sauce gets a mix of cheddar and pepper jack, though if you’d like more kick, you can opt for all pepper jack.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Greens Mac and Cheese. Controversial, perhaps, but unless you’ve tried this bright green mac and cheese, say nothing. Instead, trust that leeks add their mild onion-y touch, and that spinach and broccoli actually contribute to the flavor instead of taking away. I will not hear any slander!



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Tim’s Macaroni and Cheese. Garlicky with a little bit of heat, we thank you, Tim, for this simple crowd-pleaser.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Roasted Red Pepper Mac n Cheese. This one gets even more orangey from sweet roasted red bell peppers and paprika.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Mac and Kimcheese With Mushrooms. Spicy mac and cheese is a winner! Why kimchi? Because not only is kimchi spicy, but it also adds some welcome crunch.



(Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

Swiss Mac and Cheese With Ham and Peas. Swiss-style cheeses like Emmental or Gruyere pair deliciously with a bit of ham and some peas.



(Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; food styling by Nichole Bryant for The Washington Post)

Green Chile Mac. For the vegans and dairy-intolerant folks out there, you can still have creamy mac and cheese. This recipe uses cashews to create a rich base, and nutritional yeast to capture that cheesy, umami flavor. It’s also part of our Plant Powered newsletter series, which, if you sign up, gets you 24 plant-forward recipes.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)

Sun-Dried Tomato Vegan Mac and Cheese. Here’s another plant-based masterpiece! Cashews, again, provide the base, while a mix of sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast and miso capture the savory, umami elements you love in cheese.

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