What's Really In Chick-Fil-A's Mac And Cheese?

When you see a Chick-fil-A out along the road, you think of one thing: chicken. Chick-fil-A's chicken is famous in the world of fast food, but the chain also has a handful of other menu items that are just as famous as the classic chicken sandwich. There are milkshakes, ice cream, soup, and that old comfort food staple: macaroni and cheese.

Introduced in 2019 following an extensive test in five markets (via Chick-fil-A), the chicken chain's macaroni and cheese is baked daily and uses a combination of cheddar, Romano, and parmesan cheeses. Chick-fil-A isn't the first to offer macaroni and cheese with their chicken, joining the ranks of KFC and Popeyes. Chick-fil-A's mac and cheese does have its fair share of critics both good and bad. Brand Eating called it "an exemplary rendition of a classic mac & cheese," while on Reddit, some claimed it was "mediocre" and that it "tastes like nickels."

What could make macaroni and cheese, even one purchased from a restaurant, taste like nickels? Perhaps the answer can be found in what exactly makes up Chick-fil-A's mac and cheese. Is it just parmesan and cheddar or is there something else that's hidden under that golden, crispy top layer?

Chick-Fil-A's mac and cheese is full of processed ingredients and oils

It's no secret that fast food companies use processed ingredients in their food, and Chick-fil-A is no exception. According to the ingredient list by Chick-fil-A, their mac and cheese includes ingredients such as thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, soybean oil, pasteurized process cheese spread, and natural and artificial flavors. Needless to say, Chick-fil-A's macaroni and cheese contains a bit more than just pasta and cheddar cheese.

But how does this hold up to macaroni and cheese dishes from other restaurants? According to Fooducate, KFC's macaroni and cheese also contains thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, soybean oil, and pasteurized process cheddar cheese product. KFC's mac and cheese also contains butter flavor, which is made up of soybean oil, water, natural flavor, and enzyme-modified butter. While Chick-fil-A doesn't have any enzyme-based products, it's still concerning to see how something as simple as macaroni and cheese can contain so many preservatives, oils, and fillers.

This isn't to say that Chick-fil-A isn't safe to eat. If you enjoy Chick-fil-A's mac and cheese, there's no reason to be ashamed of it, but just keep in mind what you're eating. If you're a fan of Chick-fil-A but worried about the fillers, don't fret. There's a simple copycat recipe that you can make at home without any of those preservatives or oils.