The Fastest, Fanciest Way to Upgrade Boxed Mac and Cheese

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

A box of instant macaroni and cheese carries a reputation of ease and comfort. While fancy isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind, it can be if you know how to dress it up. The fastest, fanciest upgrade is something you may already have in your pantry at this very moment. I am talking about good ol’ garlicky, herby pesto.

(Image credit: Lauren Volo)

Why You Should Add Pesto to Your Boxed Mac and Cheese

Whether you bought a jar of pesto at the grocery store or made a batch yourself that’s currently tucked away in the freezer, a dollop or a drizzle over your mac and cheese is a cause for celebration. All the flavor that’s packed into the condiment — the garlic, the herbs, the nuts, the cheese — amps up the bowl, while also dressing it in pretty flecks of green. Suddenly it’s not simply boxed mac and cheese — it’s pesto mac and cheese worthy of serving to your nearest and dearest.

How to Make Pesto Mac and Cheese

Cook up your favorite boxed macaroni and cheese — white cheddar is especially good here, as the yellow variety mixed with green pesto may make for an unpleasant-looking brown bowl. Drizzle a few big spoonfuls of homemade or jarred pesto over the prepared pot and toss to combine it evenly with the cheese sauce and pasta.

Upgrade Mac & Cheese

A box of instant macaroni and cheese is a blank slate for a quick and easy, but more importantly, family-friendly lunch or dinner. With the help of well-loved pantry staples, you can whip up some cheesy mac that’s bigger in flavor, texture, and satisfaction. This series gives you the inspiration to dig through your kitchen and discover single ingredients that will transform your bowl.