Kraft Frozen Mac and Cheese Review
I try to stay on top of mac and cheese news, but Kraft dropped a new frozen mac and cheese and I missed it. Luckily for all of us, I’m on their email list and discovered it that way.
Kraft offers both microwave and oven preparation for their frozen dish. The first time I made it, I was in a rush and microwaved it. Generally I opt to oven baking it, but sometimes you have to make due with the time constraints you have. When microwaving other products I have no problem following the package instructions, but it seemed like it was just a smidge too long. The sauce was clumpy and kind of gross. The second time we oven baked it and the difference was evident. Do not bother with microwaving this pasta. It is not worth it. Take the 30 minutes and bake it.
The pasta utilized in mac and cheese makes a huge impact. If the noodles are too small, you lose out on structure and run the risk of your mac and cheese becoming a soupy mess. On the flip side, if your pasta is too large, it becomes difficult to eat and takes the fun out of eating it. The perfect noodle shape sits somewhere between tiny stars and long spaghetti. While both have their places, it isn’t in mac and cheese.
Kraft took the traditional route and used elbow pasta in their mac and cheese. This is an interesting choice seeing as they typically lean toward shells, characters, or tubes but not specifically elbows. The hollow tube offered plenty of space for sauce to soak in ensuring that every bite is full of sauce.
However, the pasta is starting to get a little mushy. It’s the pitfall of having pasta sit in sauce for too long. It absorbs too much of the liquid and loses it’s structural integrity. It hasn’t gone completely mushy, but the texture is noticeable.
I purchased both the Homestyle Cheddar and the Four Cheese Flavors because I wanted to compare the two. If I really looked for it, I could notice subtle differences between the two, but not enough to justify tracking down both flavors. The description of the Four Cheese pasta includes Cheddar, Parmesan, Mozzarella, and Asiago, and I just don’t see it. There’s nothing in particular that stands out in this sauce. It’s reminiscent of generic food service mac and cheese. Fine, but nothing to write home about.
The sauce was serviceable. When I microwaved it the clumpy texture was a little more noticeable, but when I baked it the second time around you couldn’t pick it up as easily.
You have so many topping options for this dish. It truly is a blank slate. The first time I ate it without any toppings and it was sorely lacking. But the second time I tossed some air fried breaded chicken strips and this made a huge difference. I wouldn’t necessarily reach for the plain version again, but I could see myself making buffalo chicken mac and cheese on lazy weeknights.
I snagged mine at target for $3.50 a piece. Each dish serves one person, so you’ll need to plan accordingly if you’re serving more than yourself. Other mac and cheeses tend to serve 2 or more people per tray, so the cost will stack up quickly.
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While there are plenty of choices I’d keep on hand, I don’t know that I’ll buy the Kraft frozen mac and cheese again. It just doesn’t stand up to the competition and there’s a lot of better flavored mac and cheeses out there. In a pinch it wouldn’t be the worst option but it won’t be my first pick either.