Chick-Fil-A Mac & Cheese: What To Know Before Ordering

Whether you love or loathe Chick-fil-A's politics, there's no denying the tastiness of the chain's chicken sandwich and related poultry-based menu items. The fact that their waffle fries are unlike anyone else's is icing on the proverbial cake.

Known originally (and still primarily) for its chicken sandwich, the menu now features dozens of items, with each one carefully considered, vetted, and launched. The fast-food giant increased its stranglehold on southern cuisine when it added mac & cheese to the menu nationwide in 2019, following successful tests in select markets. Although many people weren't all that upset about the deletion of classic coleslaw from the menu, this addition did help placate those who were pretty bummed. It all worked out well in the end, as Chick-fil-A ended up adding a valuable contingent of vegetarian (if not vegan) customers with this hearty offering.

Although mac & cheese is a beloved comfort dish, there's still plenty to know about Chick-fil-A's incarnation, whether you've noshed on it already or not.

How much does Chick-fil-A mac & cheese cost?

Chick-fil-A's mac & cheese is readily sold in sizes small and medium via the app. Many stores also have a large size, but it is not available everywhere. As a result, it is typically only available in the drive-thru or at the counter at participating locations.

There is some price variation by location, but at one Atlanta location, the price for a small is $2.55 and a medium is $3.29. This is quite a bit more than a side of waffle potato fries (size small is $1.79, and size medium is $1.99). This is not terribly shocking, since mac & cheese is certainly more of a premium side, so you will likely pay a premium price for it. For the sake of comparison, a single serving of mac at KFC is the same as a size small at Chick-fil-A, but a large is $3.79.

What's the nutritional information for Chick-fil-A mac & cheese?

Now for the bad news. Chick-fil-A has a number of fairly healthy options on its menu, but the mac & cheese is definitely not one of them. A small order of mac & cheese packs 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, 17 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of protein. A medium order comes in at 450 calories, 29 grams of fat, 28 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of protein. So, it's probably not the healthiest thing you'll put in your body on any given day.

Shockingly, there are zero trans fats in Chick-fil-A's mac & cheese. There are, however, 40 milligrams of cholesterol and 720 milligrams of sodium, neither of which are exactly good for you. In fact, one small mac & cheese contains more than one-quarter of the recommended daily sodium intake of 2,300 grams, per the FDA. It does contain only 2 grams of sugar, so there's a little bit of good news!

What ingredients are in Chick-fil-A mac & cheese?

Chick-fil-A mac & cheese has more ingredients than just the two in the title. The restaurant primarily bills it as a special blend of cheeses. Indeed, there are plenty of cheeses to be found in the label, including Montamore, cheddar, Asiago, Parmesan, Romano, and others. There's also something called pasteurized process cheese spread filling in the gaps. 

The official ingredient list is long and comprehensive, and includes other bits and pieces like (obviously) macaroni, which contains niacin, iron and folic acid. All of those are good things. It's likely most people don't get enough folic acid in their daily diet, so if there's a positive to be found, that's it. There's also plenty of modified corn starch, soy lecithin, a preservative called sodium benzoate, natural and artificial flavor, soybean oil, nonfat dry milk, and many others to cull through. Concerned? Check out the full list on the corporate site.

How does Chick-fil-A mac & cheese taste?

Reviews on Chick-fil-A's mac & cheese have varied from "exemplary rendition of a classic mac & cheese" (via Brand Eating) to "totally forgettable" (via Eat This, Not That). The dish is creamy, cheesy, and hearty enough to qualify as an entrée. It can also be described as a tad greasy, a certain turnoff to some people. "It tasted reminiscent of Stouffer's frozen mac and cheese, which is something I lived on as a teenager. I wouldn't swap waffle fries for it, but if someone added it to a catering order, I'd grab a spoonful," one Atlanta Magazine writer described. So, not the most glowing review, but not particularly damning, either.

Ideally, it's served nice and hot. Each restaurant bakes the dish on a daily basis for a fresh, quality experience. If it doesn't come out that way, simply ping a manager or a staff member, and they'll likely get you a better serving because Chick-fil-A is known as being one of the more customer experience-oriented fast-food chains out there.

How can I make my own Chick-fil-A mac & cheese?

Chick-fil-A mac & cheese is baked fresh every single day (except for Sundays because the restaurant is closed), which is a major part of why people are so wild about the dish. It didn't take long for big fans of Chick-fil-A's mac & cheese to come up with copycat recipes to achieve the same taste and texture of the dish, but at a fraction of the cost. Even Mashed shared a copycat Chick-fil-A mac & cheese recipe that only takes 30 minutes to prepare. Notably, the Mashed test kitchen found that the dry milk powder listed in the official ingredient list is indeed better than standard liquid milk for this purpose. Who woulda thought, right?

Another option is an Instant Pot version from Mama Needs Cake, in which the author recommends steering clear of pre-shredded cheese. Shredding your own cheese takes a couple of extra minutes but will render a creamier final product than pre-shredded cheese that contains extra preservatives and starches.