10 Best Seasonings For Mac And Cheese: Step Up Your Cooking Game!

Cauliflower mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is a universally loved dish!

You can always switch it up by adding more cheese and your favorite meats and vegetables to mac and cheese. But even with these additions, you might feel like there is something missing – which is why you need some seasoning options with your delicious mac and cheese.

What are the best seasonings for mac and cheese? Some of the best seasonings for mac and cheese include cayenne pepper, chili powder, basil, oregano, jalapeno, mustard seeds, paprika, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and cumin.

Read on to know more in detail about each one of these substitutes!

Best Mac And Cheese Seasonings

To make your next serving of mac and cheese more delicious than ever before, here are some of the best seasoning options that will take your next meal to an entirely different level.

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is commonly used to add a touch of a zinger to dishes.

You can either choose powdered cayenne pepper, dried flakes, or finely chopped pieces to add to your next mac and cheese in the future. However, this spice is relatively hotter than other chili peppers, so you might want to be spare with your usage.

You can always add some more herbs and spices along with cayenne pepper to give your mac and cheese the ultimate boost of spice and flavor. Another benefit of adding cayenne pepper is that it will add a visual touch of red color to your dish.

2. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

This powder is another classic seasoning that can do well with any dish.

It can easily be added to mac and cheese to give it a more complex flavor. If you cannot get your hands on any chili powder, you can always drizzle some dried red chili flakes on top of your mac and cheese instead.

As compared to other spices like cayenne pepper, chili powder is milder when it comes to spice. So, if you are serving mac and cheese, we suggest going with chili powder as it is versatile, easy to use, and not very spicy.

3. Basil


The mild, slightly minty taste of basil goes well with creamy mac and cheese.

Tomato and basil are typically paired together with mac and cheese. While preparing this concoction, you can also add other spices, herbs, and breadcrumbs to create the ultimate mac and cheese dish.

Adding some basil to your mac and cheese is not only a way to add some delicious flavor to the dish, but it is also a healthy choice. Of course, if you decide to throw some tomatoes in the mix, you’ll get an even more healthier and delicious meal!

4. Oregano

Another classic seasoning that you cannot miss is oregano.

Oregano can be added to pretty much any food. Thus, it should not be surprising that it goes well with this dish. The best part? Seasoning your mac and cheese with oregano will suit everyone as it adds a fresh flavor and not too much spice.

Along with oregano, you can also add some ingredients like garlic or ginger to give your mac and cheese dish the ultimate kick of flavor.

5. Jalapeno

Jalapeño Pepper

You might not have thought of pairing jalapeno with mac and cheese, however, we’re sure that you can imagine how delicious that would be.

Top your mac and cheese with a few pieces of jalapeno. Or sprinkle powdered jalapeno. You can also use jalapeno sauce or powder while cooking your dish. Or add it as a drizzle on top before serving it.

Some bacon, chicken, or any other of your favorite meat along with jalapeno on mac and cheese will surely be one of the best meals that you’ve had.

6. Mustard Seeds

mustard seeds

These seeds can be a great way to add some spice to your mac and cheese.

Mustard seeds have will add a spicy and slightly nutty taste to your mac and cheese. This contrast in taste will be a great addition to your usual indulgence of mac and cheese.

You can also use mustard sauce or powered mustard if you cannot find the seeds. 

7. Paprika


Paprika is one spice that cannot be missed when it comes to seasoning.

You surely already know paprika will add a mouthful of spice to your mac and cheese. The best part is paprika can be easily found and be used any way you like.

You can use dried paprika flakes, some paprika chili sauce, or even chopped pieces of paprika to elevate your usual mac and cheese dish.

8. Italian Seasoning

Italian Seasoning

Italian seasoning can be called the ultimate seasoning.

It is made using a mix of herbs like rosemary, thyme, basil, and more. It is much better to get the flavor or a variety of delicious herbs rather than just going for one.

Therefore, if you want a mouthful of complex, delicious flavor along with your mac and cheese, Italian seasoning is the way to go. You can also make homemade Italian seasoning to add more spices and herbs which you prefer over any others.

9. Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

You might have heard of roasted garlic mac and cheese.

The intense flavor of garlic goes extremely well with the smoky taste of some roasted mac and cheese. Moreover, instead of using it as an ingredient while cooking, you can top your mac and cheese with some garlic.

Of course, small pieces of garlic won’t make the cut. So, you can opt for some garlic powder to take your next mac and cheese serving to a new level of deliciousness.

10. Cumin


Lastly, we have the warm and slightly sweet flavor of cumin.

If you are familiar with this spice, you can imagine how well this complex flavor would go with some creamy mac and cheese.

Cumin is common in Indian cuisine. Therefore, you can go all the way and add some other Indian spices like garam masala to your mac and cheese.

This will give you the ultimate spicy yet complex flavor profile to add a twist to your usual comfort meal of mac and cheese.

What Can I Add To Bland Mac And Cheese?

There’s no limit to what you can add to mac and cheese.

Of course, salt and pepper are a must before you head on adding any other seasonings to your dish. As for herbs and spices, you can go with red chili pieces or flakes, paprika, basil, cumin, coriander, sriracha, oregano, garlic powder, and more. On the other hand, you can always add some cream cheese to make your mac and cheese even creamier.

Don’t be shy to add your favorite sauces! You can use peri peri sauce, hot sauce, BBQ sauce into the mix to give your mac and cheese a dash of flavor. Some people also add breadcrumbs, corn, diced meat, or fried chicken, on top of their mac and cheese.

What Spices Are Good For Mac And Cheese?

Some spices that you can add to your mac and cheese to add a zinger are:

  • Chili Pepper
  • Sriracha
  • White Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Jalapeno
  • Nutmeg
  • Black Pepper

How Can I Add Flavor To Macaroni And Cheese?

You can add flavor to your mac and cheese by adding different herbs, spices, and sauces. As mentioned above, there is a variety of spices that go well with mac and cheese.

However, don’t feel shy to experiment with your mac and cheese. You can always add any other of your favorite spices to give the dish a zinger. You can even add spice mixes like garam masala or even some shredded Cheetos on top of the mac and cheese.

Related Questions

What Are The Best Herbs For Mac And Cheese?

Some of the best herbs for mac and cheese are basil, cumin, coriander, thyme, chili pepper flakes, jalapeno flakes, oregano, sriracha flakes, Italian seasoning, etc. 

How To Spice Up Homemade Mac And Cheese?

You can spice up homemade mac and cheese with hot sauce, garam masala, mustard seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, salsa sauce, etc.

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