The Absolute Best Mac And Cheese In The U.S.

Mac and cheese is the gold standard of comfort food. Although it's tough to qualify precisely what that first gooey mouthful of molten cheese and comforting carbs tastes like, nobody can deny the rush of satisfaction they get from digging into a big old bowl of mac. Our collective obsession with mac and cheese is nothing new. According to Smithsonian Magazine, this iconic dish was dreamt up sometime around 1769. In 1937, Kraft rolled out its first boxed blends and mac and cheese, and our favorite comfort food became a household staple. Although Kraft gave us comfort and convenience let's be honest here- nothing beats homemade. 

If you don't have the time or patience to whip up a batch of creamy mac and cheese at home, but you're craving the real deal, we have the inside scoop on what restaurants are serving the best mac and cheese in the country.

Mercer Kitchen Macaroni and Cheese with Truffles and Prosciutto - New York City

Perhaps it's not so shocking that you can find some of the swankiest mac and cheese in New York City. Mercer Kitchen Macaroni and Cheese with Truffles and Prosciutto is the last word in sophistication, and despite the decadent ingredients, the dish is perfectly well-balanced.

It's a delightful medley of elbow macaroni, Monterey jack, cheddar, and cream cheese. The cream cheese gives it a velvety consistency, and the truffles add a whole new dimension of earthy flavor. Don't like meat? No problem. You can still get Mercer Kitchen's classic creamy recipe without the prosciutto, served in a piping-hot cast iron pan. Although their mac and cheese is technically a side, it's enough food to enjoy as a small meal or share with a friend over drinks. One taste of Mercer Kitchen's mac and cheese, and you'll banish the boxed stuff from your life forever. 

Boston Burger Company Mac Attack - Boston

The world asked for hedonism on a plate, and Boston Burger Company complied in the form of the Mac Attack Burger. Although this favorite Boston restaurant is well known for creating some seriously outrageous and delicious signature dishes, the Mac Attack Burger wins all the prizes for originality, creativity, and downright deliciousness. Although it's technically possible for one person to finish one of these babies, you might want to bring a friend to help.

The dish is a combination of two classic comfort foods; a giant bacon cheeseburger and a huge, mouthwatering helping of creamy mac and cheese. The mac and cheese itself is loaded up with four different types of cheese, and the team at Boston Burger Company tops the burger with another four kinds of cheese before serving it to you piping hot. The result is a dish that's simply drowning in cheese in the best possible way.

AJ's Fish Market Mac and Cheese - Lake Elsinore, California

Lake Elsinore, California's AJ's Fish Market is a humble little joint with a delicious secret; it's one of the best spots in the state to get incredible mac and cheese that tastes almost better than homemade. While people flock there for the fresh fish, reasonable prices, and friendly staff, few people leave without picking up a cup of mac and cheese. It's really that good.

AJ's Fish Market is a local fave, well-known for ocean-fresh fish and crispy hush puppies, but the real star of the show is the mac and cheese. Their mac and cheese doesn't rely on special ingredients or gimmicks to stand out. Instead, the secret of their cheesy success lies in consistency. It's pillowy soft and bursting with cheese. Served at the optimal temperature with dine-in or to-go options, this mac and cheese is a great option for people who want to savor homemade mac without going to a fancy restaurant.

Yardbird Lobster Macaroni and Cheese - Miami

Why top your mac with a few flakes of lobster or crab when you can crown it with the whole thing? Although we can't say with certainty that this is the logic behind Yardbird's massive lobster macaroni and cheese, it seems like a pretty plausible explanation. 

Yardbird is a Miami Beach classic known for wowing customers with its generous portions of homecooked goodness. Their mac and cheese is absolutely no exception, combining two ultimate comfort foods into one cohesive dish. It's a towering marvel of luscious mac and cheese, lobster, and plenty of seasoning, all served in a hot iron skillet. No matter how big your appetite is, you're almost definitely leaving with leftovers.  

If you are not ravenous, don't like lobster, or want to give your cholesterol levels a little break, get their regular five-cheese mac with a crunchy breadcrumb crust. It's got all that creamy goodness, just sans lobster.

Bourbon Steak Truffle Mac & Cheese - Washington, D.C.

Enjoy some next-level comfort food deliciousness at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C. when you tuck into a plate of their truffle mac and cheese. While some steakhouses treat mac and cheese as an afterthought, Bourbon Steak pays proper homage to the dish with a beautiful blend of premium ingredients. It's no wonder that this mac and cheese is one of their top-selling side items and the perfect partner in crime to your filet mignon. 

Bourbon Steak doesn't skimp on the quality or shy away from using full-fat, decadent ingredients. So while their mac and cheese might not be diet-friendly, it's bound to send you straight into comfort food heaven. It has three kinds of cheese, truffle oil, and a ton of rich, heavy cream. The truffle oil adds depth, while the heavy cream and cheeses provide that coveted silky texture. Served steaming hot, this mac and cheese is a dish to celebrate. 

Murray's Cheese Bar Classic Macaroni and Cheese - New York City

Murray's Cheese Bar in Queens, New York celebrates everything gooey and cheesy, so it should come as no surprise that they also have one of the best mac and cheeses in the country. At Murray's, you can get your mac with truffles, lobster, or seasonal ingredients. Personally, we're partial to the classic mac, but if you're craving a little variety, why not go with a friend and split a few plates?

Their classic mac has several different types of artisanal cheeses, and you can add a fresh little ball of burrata on top to take it totally over the edge. The burrata is a fresh and inspired take. Since it's a lighter cheese with a creamy, elastic consistency, it plays off the deeper flavors in the dish for a mac and cheese that tastes both traditional and unique at the same time.

Fox Smokehouse BBQ Mac & Cheese - Boulder City, Nevada

Although you can visit Fox Smokehouse BBQ in Boulder City, Nevada for its famous mac and cheese, you can also order this spectacular side online. Fox Smokehouse BBQ is a local legend, serving up traditional southern-style BBQ, pulled pork, and creamy, sweet cornbread. With all that comfort food goodness, you know that there's got to be a world-class mac and cheese lurking on the menu, and Fox Smokehouse BBQ's mac certainly does not disappoint. 

Although you should definitely load up on the smoky, salty, slow-cooked meat while you're there, it would be a sin not to make room for the homemade mac and cheese. With a crunchy crust, plenty of liquid golden cheese, and a generous serving of elbow macaroni, this mac is a meal all in and of itself. Pro tip: mix the mac with your pulled pork for an epic out-of-this-world flavor bomb.

Beecher's Handmade Cheese World's Best Macaroni and Cheese - Seattle

Beecher's Handmade Cheese proudly calls its mac and cheese the "world's best," and it's not hyperbole. Its mac and cheese walks the line between simplicity and creaminess and a complex, nuanced flavor profile that makes each bite taste just a little bit different from the last.

In fact, its mac and cheese is so renowned that its Seattle location in Pike Place Market sells oodles of these noodles from morning until night, and there's always a demand for more. Beecher's Handmade Cheese uses fresh ingredients and a tried and true recipe that ensures that each piece of penne is thoroughly coated in plenty of rich cheese sauce. Although you can certainly eat it plain, we love our "world's best" mac and cheese with a generous sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper. The spice from the pepper cuts through the creaminess of the cheese for a delicious dish.

Mr. Mac's Cheeseburger Mac - Manchester, New Hampshire

As the name suggests, Mr. Mac's in Manchester, New Hampshire is the best place in the state to get your fix of cheesy, carb-laden goodness. Their mac and cheese is enormous, crispy on the outside, and creamy and decadent on the inside. Plus, you can customize it to fit your preferences, or order several different varieties for the mac and cheese party of your dreams. 

Although vegetarians will want to opt for one of Mr. Mac's more classic options, we love their cheeseburger mac. Mr. Mac's expertly combines two comfort food classics into a smorgasbord of flavor, cheese, and plenty of perfectly seasoned ground beef. It's like the Mac Attack Burger turned inside out, with a glorious explosion of molten cheese and meat in every bite. Each morsel is rich and filling, so don't be surprised if you need to share this dish with one or five friends.

Fat Bob's Whole Farm Mac Bowl - Buffalo, New York

Fat Bob's is a Buffalo, New York staple. This hometown BBQ joint serves huge portions of delicious comfort food designed to take the chill off those Western New York winters. Aside from the smoked meats, the jewel in their comfort food crown has got to be the mac and cheese.

Although you can get their mac and cheese as a side, Fat Bob's recently kicked it up several notches by pairing their smoked meats and BBQ with the mac itself in an inspired combo they refer to as the Whole Farm Bowl. They start off with their classic homebaked mac and cheese and then add in the good stuff; slow-cooked pulled pork, chicken, brisket, and bacon. If you're the sort of person who squirts extra BBQ sauce on their mac and mixes up everything on their plate, this dish was absolutely made for you.

The Loaded Bowl Cashew Mac + Cheese - Oklahoma City

Although Oklahoma might not be the first spot you think of for expertly prepared vegan food, The Loaded Bowl is here to shatter all of your preconceptions and introduce you to mac and cheese without the guilt. Their cashew mac and cheese is full of tender noodles, creamy sauce, and all of the fixings with absolutely zero animal products. You can get your cashew mac loaded with additional veggies and toppings, or simply enjoy the meat-free symphony of textures and flavors all on its own.

This delicious, plant-based offering is designed to satisfy even the carnivores in the room. Thanks to The Loaded Bowl's creamy cashew concoction, you won't even miss the cheese. Plus, the portions are big enough to share between two people. If you're a vegan with a hankering for tasty mac and cheese, or just want to try something a little different, head to The Loaded Bowl.

Hall's Chophouse Lobster & Smoked Bacon Mac 'n Cheese - Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston's Hall's Chophouse is famous for its southern hospitality and fantastic food. True to gourmet form, sides aren't an afterthought at this South Carolina institution. Instead, Hall's Chophouse brings all the flavors with its lobster and smoked bacon mac and cheese.

This sizzling side would make a great meal all on its own, or you can pair it with one of their fine steaks for a luxe meal that you won't forget anytime soon. The combination of tender, sweet chunks of lobster, robust smoky bacon, and plenty of gooey cheese make every bite a true delight. Don't be surprised if you decide to order an extra portion to take home and enjoy later.

If you prefer to stay home and make mac and cheese your way, check out this one-pot mac and cheese recipe for gourmet eats right in the comfort of your own kitchen.