9 Best Spices for Mac and Cheese (Extra Tasty!)

Macaroni and cheese is a traditional American dish. A simple mac and cheese dish with only a little of salt and pepper is delicious on its own.

However, understanding which spices to use and which cheese to use will result in an outstanding meal that you will want to prepare again and again.

Garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, and even nutmeg are among the greatest spices for mac and cheese. The spices you use, however, will be determined by the desired taste of your food.

Some of the most frequent spices used in classic mac and cheese are Mediterranean and Italian herbs. There are several spices available that you may use to enhance the flavor of your macaroni and cheese dish.

Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes may be used to increase the spiciness.

When choosing a taste profile, consider the recipe for your mac and cheese as well as who you will be serving it to.

We took this into account while putting together this list, so you can’t go wrong with any of these mac and cheese additions.

Best Mac and Cheese Seasoning

You may prepare a traditional mac and cheese with delectable savory herbs and spices, or you can make a fiery meal with several varieties of pepper.

If you’re cooking for a big party and don’t know what they like, don’t add anything extra, particularly if you’ll be serving youngsters.

So, what are the greatest macaroni and cheese spices to make your delicious meal pop?

Garlic and Onion Powder

While they are actually two spices, we feel they complement each other. Garlic and onion powders may be used to enhance the taste of practically any cuisine.

Both of these spices are affordable and widely available. They are pantry essentials, making them ideal for any cuisine, particularly mac and cheese. If you want to add a little bit extra to your next mac, these two mainstays are the way to go.


Oregano is a famous Italian herb that gives each dish a unique flavor. Oregano is a versatile and tasty herb that is often paired with other Mediterranean and Italian herbs such as basil, marjoram, thyme, and garlic.

Because oregano is not overwhelming, you may use a reasonable quantity in your pasta. It may also be combined with additional tastes such as salt, garlic and onion powders, oregano, basil, and paprika.

Oregano is simple to balance in taste, so you won’t have to worry about it overpowering or competing with other herbs in your recipe. If you enjoy spaghetti sauce and pizza, you probably like oregano, so go ahead and use a lot of it!


Basil and oregano are both members of the mint family, which explains why they complement each other so well.

Basil is widely used in sauces such as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and, yes, cheese sauce for macaroni and cheese. It may be extremely tasty when combined with mozzarella, provolone, or other soft Italian melting cheeses.

This simple and affordable spice can give your macaroni and cheese a hint of Italian flavor. It is difficult to overuse basil, so don’t be afraid to use a generous amount when flavoring your pasta. It may also be used as a garnish after the pasta has been cooked or baked.


Another plant in the mint family is marjoram. It is classified as an Italian herb, along with oregano and basil, and Italian herbs go well with cheese.

Marjoram and oregano are quite similar, although marjoram has a little sweeter flavor. The two herbs complement each other wonderfully in any meal.

This spice may be more harder to locate, and you may not already have it in your cupboard. It’s a little more pricey than the others we’ve discussed, but it’s wonderful and well worth it.

If you want to make an authentic Italian-style mac and cheese, have oregano, basil, and marjoram on hand!


Paprika is a tasty spice that adds color to every cuisine. Smoked paprika may be used to impart a smokey flavor to your dish. If you’re taking homemade mac and cheese to a BBQ or picnic, that’s a terrific alternative.

When added straight to the cheese sauce, paprika tastes exceptionally wonderful in homemade mac & cheese. The paprika enhances the taste of the cheese, and the modest bit of red coloring makes the pasta look wonderful.

Paprika, like oregano, is not extremely strong and blends nicely with other spices. It’s also an excellent finisher. Sprinkle some on top of a bubbling mac and cheese dish for a splash of color that will make you want to dive in.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is an excellent choice for adding heat. Adding this spice to your mac & cheese will give it a spicy kick.

Many individuals like spicy foods, including mac & cheese. Nothing beats a little spicy homemade baked macaroni and cheese. Cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and nutmeg will give you the right taste combination to dazzle your dinner guests.

If cayenne pepper is too spicy for you or your visitors, red pepper flakes may be used instead. Crushed red pepper flakes retain the taste and heat of the pepper, although they are not as spicy as cayenne pepper.

Because mac & cheese is frequently a rich meal, heat complements it beautifully. That dash of spice cuts through the richness to provide a more balanced taste.

Chili Powder

Regular chili powder is another option to spice up your mac and cheese without going overboard on the Scoville scale. Chili powder is a flavorful condiment prepared from ground chili peppers.

While cayenne peppers are a form of chili, the peppers used in commercial chili powder are not.

Chili powder will add a hint of smokiness and gentle heat to your mac and cheese, giving it a Tex-Mex flavor without overloading you with spice. You may expand on the Tex-Mex motif by include red and green bell peppers in your recipe.


When it comes to delicious comfort dishes, we like to think of this spice as our hidden weapon. Most people associate nutmeg with the spice mixture used in Christmas delicacies such as pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, apple cider, and other wintery recipes.

Nutmeg, on the other hand, is ideal for mac and cheese. When we first heard about nutmeg being used in savory foods like mashed potatoes and au gratin, we thought it was a crazy concept, but after we tried it, we understood the frenzy.

Nutmeg is commonly accessible in all grocery shops and spice stores, so you should have no trouble finding some for your macaroni and cheese.

It not only makes regular mac and cheese more tasty and indulgent, but it also goes well with spicy mac and cheese. No matter what other spices you use in a cuisine, a sprinkle of nutmeg can kick it up a level.

A little nutmeg goes a long way. Only a little quantity should be used. Don’t overdo it, or you’ll dominate the whole meal. It’s also best to use freshly grated nutmeg whenever feasible.

Purchase it whole and grate it into your recipes as required.

Truffle Salt

We put this spice last on our list since it may be difficult to locate. Furthermore, it is often more costly than other spices.

However, truffle salt is gaining popularity among foodies and in the restaurant business. If you can get it, it’s a terrific way to add depth of flavor to your creamy mac and cheese.

Truffle salt is a mixture of black truffles and sea salt grains. Unless you’ve had truffles, it’s difficult to explain the flavor, but it’s earthy, savory, and almost mushroom-like.

Truffle mac & cheese is a popular dish at high-end restaurants around the country. You won’t be able to shave black truffles straight into your mac and cheese, but truffle salt is the next best thing if you want to increase the ante.


What spices taste good in mac and cheese?

Oregano, basil, and marjoram are delicious additions to classic mac & cheese. Italian herbs go well with cheese and pasta, so adding them to mac and cheese makes sense.

What can I add to macaroni and cheese to make it taste better?

Here are a few of my favorite ways to jazz up packaged mac & cheese with three or less ingredients:
Broccoli paired with shredded chicken.
Bacon, peas, and an egg.
Pickled jalapeos with garlic.
Grated Gruyère with mushrooms and thyme.
Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Pesto.
Kimchi with bacon and scallions.
Mozzarella + Cherry Tomatoes + Basil.

What spices can you add to box mac and cheese?

Red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, chile, onion, and garlic powder are all basic spices that you may already have in your cabinet. Spices like cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, and paprika are all great additions if you’re ready to go shopping.

What cheeses are best for flavorful mac and cheese?

Gruyere is a staple because cheese melts similarly to Cheddar but has a beautiful nutty taste. Classics including Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, Fontina, Havarti, and Monterey Jack are also available. Brie also works great; just be sure to remove the peel before incorporating it.

What makes mac and cheese taste gritty?

“Every time I make homemade mac and cheese, the sauce starts out smooth but quickly becomes grainy (paste-like) as it cools.” “What am I doing incorrectly?” Rach says, “Your ratios—from your roux to the fat content in the cheeses you’re using—might be a little off.” “You could also be overcooking it.”

How do you spice up bland macaroni and cheese?

For pasta meals, salt is an essential requirement.
A sprinkle of spicy sauce provides taste without adding heat if used sparingly.
Replace the milk with heavy cream.
Top with panko, breadcrumbs, butter crackers, or smashed croutons.

What makes mac and cheese better?

To get the ideal al dente bite, slightly undercook the pasta.
To the cheese powder, mix with your choice cheese.
For a smooth texture and delicious zing, add a spoonful of cream cheese.
Replace ordinary milk with sour kefir.
Add veggies for a nutrient-dense crunch.
The bone broth adds a lot of umami to the mac and cheese.

Why does my macaroni taste so bland?

The pasta water was not salted.

And superb pasta starts with generously salted water. We’re talking about salt levels in ocean water. If you don’t add salt to the water, your noodles will be bland and tasteless. As a result, even after adding the cheese sauce, the completed dish is flavorless.

How do you keep macaroni and cheese creamy?

To prevent mushy mac and cheese, cook your macaroni for one minute shorter than the package recommended. Replace all or half of the milk in the recipe with heavy cream. Boil the pasta in salted water. Season each layer of your sauce, including the roux, the milk, and the melted cheese.

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