As much as I love homemade mac and cheese, the Costco version is sometimes more convenient. I’m sure you already know about it, too. It’s creamy, cheesy, and just downright delicious. But do you know how to take it to the next level? I’m here to give you some pointers on how to transform that classic dish into something even more delicious! So, how to make Costco mac and cheese better?
To improve the taste of your Costco mac and cheese, add vegetables and proteins from meat, fish, or nuts, or customize the taste with herbs, spices, or sauces. You can also add crunchy almonds, different toppings, or extra cheese for a better taste and a creamy texture.
With just a few simple tweaks, you can make your Costco mac and cheese go from ordinary to extraordinary. In this article, I will be sharing my favorite ideas for how to elevate your Costco mac and cheese with ingredients you probably already have on hand. Get ready for a cheesy culinary adventure!
What to Add to Costco Mac and Cheese?
We all know the classic Costco mac and cheese is a great budget meal, but it doesn’t have to be plain and boring! With some creative ingredients and a few simple steps, you can turn it into something unique, delicious, and downright gourmet.
From adding bacon and jalapeños to throwing in some Parmesan, the possibilities are endless! So next time you’re standing in the Costco aisle, don’t forget to pick up those extra ingredients and get creative with your mac and cheese!
Here are some ideas that will transform your mac and cheese into something even more appetizing:
One simple way to give your Costco mac and cheese a bit of character and nutrition is to add some veggies. Not only will it liven up the dish with vibrant color, but you’ll be adding essential vitamins and minerals to your meal.
Some vegetables that will work especially well with this dish are broccoli, peas, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, and asparagus.
If you’re adding frozen vegetables, make sure to thaw and cook them first — otherwise, they can turn out soggy or crunchy in the finished dish. You could even saute your veggies or roast them beforehand for added flavor and texture.
And if you want to really give it a kick, try adding a little bit of garlic powder or freshly-chopped garlic as well!
Layer Up Some Protein
To make your meal more filling, adding some protein is a great way to do it. Whether you want to go classic and add some cooked bacon or get a bit fancier and throw in some shredded chicken, some protein will instantly make your dish more satisfying.
If you’d like to keep things vegetarian, no problem! Some cooked lentils tossed in are an excellent way to make the dish a more complete meal. Or, if you like eating fish, even small amounts of flaked salmon can elevate the mac and cheese flavors without being overpowering.
For vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, adding chopped nuts or walnuts can also be a great way to add some crunchy texture, flavor, and protein.
Customize for Added Flavor
When it comes to mac and cheese, the sauce is where all the flavor comes from. Here are some simple additions that will take your dish to the next level:
- Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or paprika.
- Add a few dashes of hot sauce to give it a kick.
- Add a teaspoon of garlic powder or onion powder for an herby twist.
- Make it smoky by stirring in smoked paprika or chipotle powder.
- Add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard for an extra layer of flavor.
- Sprinkle some cayenne pepper into your sauce for maximum heat!
These are just a few ideas but feel free to get creative and experiment with different spices and flavors you love.
Add Crunchy Almonds for Texture Variation
Why not add almonds? The crunchy addition gives the dish a delightful texture variation that turns it from bland to interesting.
Not only does it add a nice bite, but almonds are also a great source of protein and other essential nutrients, so it makes your meal more wholesome and nutritious. 
You can buy pre-roasted almonds at most Costco stores, or roast them yourself if you’re feeling fancy. Just be sure not to go overboard with the almond intake — too much of anything will be bad for your body!
To add them in the right quantities, toss only a handful into the mix and then lightly mix it into the rest of your ingredients. Doing so will ensure you get even distribution with every bite!
Spruce Up the Toppings for a Crunchy Finale
Next up is the topping. Now, Costco mac and cheese is that classic comfort food delight, but why not add a little kick by adding a tasty topping?
These are some of my favorite toppings:
- Parmesan cheese – Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for an extra cheesy crunch.
- Bread crumbs – Mix your favorite type of breadcrumbs with a little butter and Italian seasoning for an Italian-style flavor.
- Bacon – Cook some bacon bits ahead of time and sprinkle them on top for a smoky salty kick.
- Jalapenos – For those who want some heat, add thin slices of jalapenos for a spicy twist. (Or you can add scallions for a similar, but milder, effect.
- Spices – Combine your favorite spices like garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme, smoked paprika, and chili powder for a unique flavor combination.
- Herbs – Get creative with fresh herbs, like basil leaves or parsley flakes, to make your meal taste as if it came out of a 5-star restaurant!
No matter which topping you choose, you’ll take your Costco mac and cheese to the next level! With the right combination of flavors and textures, this beloved dish just got even better, all without breaking the bank!
The Best Cheese to Transform Costco Mac and Cheese
Sometimes you need something with a little more flair. This is exactly why I like to dress it up with some extra additions to make the dish special.
The first and most essential part of any great mac and cheese is the cheese. Since Costco mac and cheese already comes with lots of cheesy goodness, I recommend just adding one more type of cheese to elevate it even more.
Think in terms of cheeses that melt easily: Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Fontina, Gruyere, Gouda, or Swiss cheese are all good options here.
The good news is that adding one additional type of cheese is enough to take your dish from simple to sensational. By just adjusting the ratio or playing around with the types of cheese available at your local grocery store, you can transform your Costco mac and cheese into something extraordinary!
Costco Mac and Cheese Improved
- 1 Sheet Pan
- 1 pack Costco Mac and Cheese
- 3 Scallions
- 1 ¼ lb Bacon
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Chop the scallions and the bacon to bite size pieces.
- Sizzle the bacon on the stove over medium heat. When your pan starts getting oily, toss in the scallions, and sizzle for 2 minutes max.
- When it's done, take it out of the pan, add it to your Costco mac and cheese, and mix through.
- Cover the mac and cheese container with aluminum foil and place it on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 40-60 minutes at 350°F.
- That's it! Serve it with a colorful salad, and enjoy!