Last Updated on June 20, 2023 by Shari Mason
Looking for the ultimate mac and cheese fix? Look no further! We’re diving into the world of fast food mac and cheese, where comfort and flavor come together in perfect harmony.
Join us on a mouthwatering journey as we explore some of the best US fast-food spots that serve creamy, cheesy goodness like no other.
Which is the best among the rest? We listed below some of the best fast food mac and cheese bowls. Read on.
Top 10 Fast Food Mac & Cheese Options (Must Try!)
Average Price: Individual serving ($3.89), large size ($5.49)
Calories: Regular (140 cal), large (540 cal)
Why We Like It:
Their iconic popcorn chicken tenders as toppings make KFC mac and cheese more appetizing.
I noticed that fried chicken’s crispness complements the rich cheese blends with the softness of elbow macaroni Kraft noodles. The mac and cheese had a creamy and cheesy texture that was enhanced by the iconic popcorn chicken tenders on top. It added a delightful crunch and flavor to each bite.
Find out if Kraft mac and cheese go bad here.
Average Price: Solo bowl ($1.99), picnic size ($4.19)
Calories: 280 cal per serving
Why We Like It: Bojangles’ mac and cheese impressed me with its classic style. The classic mac and cheese style is composed of creamy cheese sauce and elbow macaroni.
It is rich, creamy, smooth, and cheesy. Every bite tastes flavorful, which would make you order more. I also appreciated the option of a picnic-sized bowl for sharing.
8. Bush’s Chicken
Average Price: Solo bowl ($3.79)
Calories: 260cal per serving
Why We Like It: The solo bowl of mac and cheese at Bush’s Chicken, priced around $3.79, left a lasting impression on me. The addition of brown sugar hickory baked beans gave it a unique twist, and the crumbled bacon complemented the flavors beautifully.
The combination of creamy melted parmesan cheese, elbow macaroni noodles, beans, and bacon created a truly satisfying comfort food experience, making it the ultimate comfort food for our weeknight cravings.
Read the most recent fast food statistics here.
7. Noodles & Company
Average Price: $6.65 to $9.20 but as a side ($2.25)
Calories: 420 (solo serving) 850cal (large bowl)
Why We Like It: We like that Noodles and Company have four different noodle dishes that you can choose from because they have their mac and cheese category on the menu.
I particularly enjoyed their Buffalo mac, which had a tantalizing hot sauce and green onion flavor. The Wisconsin-style bowl, with a lighter cheese option, catered to different preferences.
6. Boston Market
Average Price: Bowl ($4.83)
Calories: 270cal (small order) 620cal (upsize bowl)
Why We Like It: Boston Market used rotini noodles instead of the elbow macaroni pasta. With every bite, the cheddar cheese sauce trapped between the spirals makes this dish extremely satisfying.
The dish had a delightful blend of flavors that left me craving more.
5. Panera Bread
Average Price: Small ($6.99) Large ($10.69)
Calories: 370cal (Small) 740cal (Large)
Why We Like It: We like the unique twist of the recipe because instead of the traditional cheddar cheese sauce, Panera bread uses creamy and tangy white cheddar sauce to coat every bit of the macaroni shell.
The strong savory flavors and rich taste linger in your tastebuds and will make you forget that the Panera bread bowl is a bit more expensive than the other fast food chains’ mac and cheese.
Average Price: Regular ($3.09) Large ($3.95)
Calories: 270cal (Small) 450cal (Large)
Why We Like It: We like this version of mac and cheese because they use not just one but three cheese blend: parmesan, cheddar, and romano.
All creamy cheese sauce compliments the soft macaroni shells. It is also baked in the fast food restaurant for extra layers of crispy cheese.
Average Price: Small ($4.09) Upsize ($7.09)
Calories: 345cal (small) and 1035cal (large)
Why We Like It: We like its ‘homestyle’ taste. The true homemade flavor and gooey finish complement the thick cheddar sauce.
Its noodles are also firm enough with all those cheese sauce. Popeye’s Mac and Cheese is the nostalgic version of “what grandma used to make.”
2. Dave’s Hot Chicken
Average Price: $3.49.
Calories: 290 calories per serving
Why We Like It: They cook the noodles al dente, adding spice to ramp up the flavors to compliment the firm elbow macaroni noodles.
The creamy and smooth cheese sauce goes well with a healthy dose of peppery goodness, making it in the second spot of best fast food mac and cheese.
1. Arby’s Loaded
Average Price: Starts at $5.39.
Calories: 345cal to 1035cal, depending on the size
Why We Like It: It is loaded with thick cuts of bacon and crispy and juicy chicken. This mac and cheese of Arby’s are more than just a side.
“Your mac and cheese shouldn’t be mushy.”Alissa Fitzgerald, Professional Chef
They use real butter and cheddar cheese to dress up those soft elbow macaroni for our tastebuds. The bacon strips and southern-style fried chicken tenders deserve to be in our top spot.
Insider Tip: Try it out with some ranch dressing.
Factors To Consider
The texture of noodles in making mac and cheese depends on how it is cooked. Take note of the cooking time to achieve the right finish.
The baked macaroni and cheese should be crunchy, with lots of toasted cheddar cheese. The stovetop must be soft and creamy.
Macaroni and cheese should taste the way it is promoted, especially in fast-food chains. The cheese tasted slightly salty, so adding more salt might be unnecessary.
Mac ‘n’ cheese should taste creamy and flavorful, and the indicated ingredients, like bacon, should blend into the recipe.
Mac and cheese are high in fat and refined carbs. And eating more of it is equal to consuming more calories. Taking more calories than you can burn may lead to weight gain.
Arby’s uses real cheese and butter with signature chicken tenders on their mac and cheese, making it healthier than others.
A delicious mac ‘n’ cheese for us is the steam of freshly-baked cheese and the smell of sharp cheddar flavor with golden brown crust.
The creamy or crunchy finish of the cheese they used and how the pasta is cooked to make it a satisfying dish is a plus too.
Toppings and loaded cheeses could add more of an appetizing appearance because it would look like fewer calories and be high in protein for those watching their calorie intake.
“Indulge in cheesy bliss with fast food’s mac and cheese.”–Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice
Is Popeyes mac and cheese better than Chick Fil A?
No, Popeye’s mac ‘n’ cheese is not better than Golden Chick-Fil-A in terms of taste, finish, and appearance.
Golden Chick uses three real blends of cheese that complement every bit of the not-so-mush baked pasta.
Popeye’s has a thick cheddar sauce, but it isn’t as good as the cheese sauce used in Chick-Fil-A.
Is fast food mac and cheese healthy?
Yes, fast food mac and cheese is healthy if consumed moderately. Mac and cheese are high in calories and sodium, so it is better not to each more than your body can burn.
After a whole day of mac and cheese overload, Arby’s Loaded is the best mac and cheese on the list of fast food restaurants. Mac and cheese at Arby’s are loaded with real cheeses, signature chicken tenders, and al dente pasta .
The fast food chain also added protein toppings like chicken and smoky bacon strips, which help lower the calorie content and increase the protein.
All mac and cheese on the dish list are delicious and flavorful, but Arby’s Loaded  tops all the side dishes in terms of appetizing appearance and taste.
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