How Do You Elevate Trader Joe's Mac & Cheese

How Do You Elevate Trader Joe’s Mac & Cheese? Tips

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Shari Mason

Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese is already very savory just the way it is. But, were you aware that by merely introducing a few extra ingredients from your own kitchen, you can further enhance its yumminess? Simple inclusions from your pantry can significantly boost this dish’s taste.

So how do you elevate Trader Joe’s Mac and Cheese?

I’ve tried many tricks and want to share the best ones. Let’s make that Mac and Cheese extra special.

5 Best Ways To Elevate Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese

1. Add Veggies

Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Adding veggies to Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese [1] is a delicious twist that boosts nutrition and introduces a splash of color and texture. 

“My favorite food is macaroni and cheese that my grandma makes. My favorite drink has to be Vita Coco coconut water.”

– Sloane Stephens, American Tennis Player

Whether you stir in lightly sautéed broccoli florets, colorful bell peppers, or tender spinach leaves, this enhancement takes a humble dish from good to gourmet. 

With every bite, you’ll enjoy the rich creaminess of the cheese complemented by the freshness of garden produce. Elevate your dish and delight your taste buds with this simple yet transformative addition.

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2. Extra Cheese

Adding extra cheese to Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese is the ultimate indulgence for cheese lovers. You can amplify the richness and depth of flavor by sprinkling in a mix of your favorite cheeses, such as sharp cheddar, smoky gouda, or creamy mozzarella. 

This cheesy upgrade transforms the dish into a heartier, more luxurious meal. Every forkful becomes a delightful melt-in-your-mouth experience, making your mac & cheese irresistibly cheesy and satisfying.

3. Bacon Bits

Close Up Image of Mac & Cheese with Bacon Bits

Introducing bacon bits to Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese adds a savory twist that’s hard to resist. These crispy, smoky morsels infuse the creamy pasta with a crunch and a rich, meaty flavor. 

Not only do bacon bits offer a delightful contrast in texture, but they also complement the cheesy goodness, creating a harmonious blend of tastes. 

With this simple addition, your mac & cheese takes on a new level of deliciousness, blending comfort with culinary excitement.

4. Spice It Up

Spicing up Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese can transport your taste buds on a thrilling journey.

A sprinkle of chili flakes, a dash of cayenne pepper, or a hint of smoked paprika can add a warm, zesty kick to the creamy classic. 

A spoonful of your favorite hot sauce can provide just the right amount of heat for those who prefer a milder touch. This simple twist not only awakens the flavors but also turns your dish into a fiery, cheesy delight that’s sure to impress.

5. Crunchy Topping

Mac and Cheese Topped with Panko Breadcrumbs

For a delightful texture contrast to the smooth creaminess of Trader Joe’s Macaroni & Cheese, a crunchy topping is the way to go.

Toss some breadcrumbs [2] with melted butter and a pinch of garlic powder, then spread them over the mac before baking. 

“Turning the simple into splendid, elevating Trader Joe’s Mac & Cheese is an art of flavor and imagination.”

– Eat Pallet Restaurant & Food Advice

The result? A golden, crispy crust that complements the gooey cheese beneath.

This added layer offers a satisfying crunch and elevates the dish to a gourmet level, perfect for special occasions or just a Tuesday night treat.


u003cstrongu003eWhat can I add to mac and cheese when I’m out of milk?u003c/strongu003e

Running out of milk doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a creamy mac and cheese. There are several clever alternatives to ensure your dish remains delicious. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eYou can use butter or margarine to add some richness, even if it won’t be as creamy. If you have cream or half-and-half in your fridge, it’s an excellent substitute for milk and will make your mac and cheese even creamier. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eAnother option is broth or stock, adding flavor while providing the needed liquid. Greek yogurt or sour cream can also be mixed in for a tangy twist and a creamy texture. 

u003cstrongu003eShould I defrost mac and cheese before cooking?u003c/strongu003e

Defrosting mac and cheese before cooking is a wise move. By doing so, you ensure even cooking and prevent cold spots. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eDefrosting also allows for a faster cooking time, especially if you’re reheating in an oven or microwave. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eTransfer the frozen mac and cheese to your refrigerator the night before or several hours before cooking. When reheated, this prep step will help maintain its creamy texture and delicious flavor.

u003cstrongu003eShould you rinse pasta for mac and cheese?u003c/strongu003e

It’s best to leave the pasta out after cooking for mac and cheese. Rinsing washes away the starch that helps the sauce cling to the noodles, making the dish creamier. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eSkipping the rinse will give your mac and cheese a richer consistency and better texture. u003cbru003eu003cbru003eSo, to achieve that perfect, velvety mac and cheese we all love, let your cooked pasta go straight from the pot to your cheese sauce without a detour under the faucet.

Key Takeaways

Elevating Trader Joe’s Mac & Cheese goes beyond just reheating the dish. Adding veggies, extra cheese, bacon bits, spices, or a crunchy topping can transform this classic comfort food into a gourmet delight. 

No matter which path you choose, remember that creativity is vital. Experiment and discover new flavor combinations to make your mac and cheese experience unforgettable.

After all, a little imagination can take a familiar dish to new culinary heights.


Shari Mason

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