13 Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes Like You've Never Seen Before

When your only reference for macaroni and cheese is stovetop Kraft, chances are you're pretty happy because that stuff is delightful. But if you've ever chanced upon a cast-iron casserole of the real-cheese-sauced, crunchy-topped, homemade variety, cheese powder packets are probably less appealing. So here are 13 homemade mac and cheese recipes that'll quell those blue-box blues.

Homestyle mac and cheese
Courtesy of Recipe Girl

There is no way to go wrong with a tangy sharp cheddar & Dijon béchamel base and a Ritz cracker and bacon crust. Recipe here!

No need to make a roux, blended cottage cheese works just fine. Recipe is here.

Mac and cheese stuffed portobello
Courtesy of How Sweet Eats

Elevate leftovers from any of these other recipes by stuffing them in some brown sugar- and balsamic-glazed mushrooms. Get the recipe!

Bourbon and white cheddar mac and cheese
Courtesy of Cooking With Cakes

Bacon and bourbon go together like macaroni and cheese, so this is all pretty logical. Find the recipe here

Nutritional yeast and tofu somehow combine to make a comparable cheese substitute, unless you're totally fine with eating cheese, in which case, there is no substitute. Here's the dairy-free recipe!

Butternut squash and brussels sprouts mac and cheese
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Never one to shy away from excess, Tieghan from Half Baked Harvest throws roasted butternut squash puree, Brussels sprouts, bacon, heavy cream, and three kinds of cheese into a saucepan of al dente whole-wheat pasta (for balance, you know?) and then tops it all off with some bacon fat-soaked Ritz crackers. Not that we're complaining. Recipe here

Somehow the combination of pears, honey, and blue cheese makes some ordinary mac feel pretty friggin' elegant. Here's the recipe.

Brie mac and cheese
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

What the Brie doesn't contribute in flavor it does in creaminess. French mac here.

Beer mac and cheese
Courtesy of How Sweet It Is

Any opportunity we get to encourage you people to cook with beer, we're gonna take. Recipe here

There's no crunchy broiled top, but the stovetop makes this recipe infinitely quicker and easier. Check it out!

Mac and cheese-stuffed fried zucchini
Courtesy of Half Baked Harvest

Zucchini is low in calories and contains useful amounts of folate. Recipe here.

It's the beautiful lovechild of penne alla vodka and baked mac and cheese. Isn't it darling??

Apple sauce mac and cheese with apple sausage
Courtesy of Adventures in Cooking

Unconventional, maybe, but turns out Gruyere, apple, and chicken sausage is a damn good combination. Recipe here.

Carrie Dennis is an associate editor for Thrillist and thinks three-cheese is always better than one. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrrieDennnis.