Review: Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese (New)

Cracker Barrel brand cheese has been around since 1954. Just recently, the company has started making macaroni and cheese. You see where this is going…

First of all, let us say that this is not the same Cracker Barrel as Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. That place is different. Confused yet? Have another beer…

This Cracker Barrel is now owned by Kraft. So Kraft has pushed it to the next level by offering the new mac and cheese. There are a bunch of flavors available.

IMG_20160418_162940603Sharp Cheddar, Sharp White Cheddar, Cheddar Havarti, and Sharp Cheddar & Bacon are available, all expertly shot above at our local Kroger by Herman.

Think about this for a minute. Kraft already has the regular Kraft mac and cheese that has been around forever. Kraft also makes Velveeta mac and cheese. Now, we have the Cracker Barrel version. But they are all the same company. You are competing with yourself, Kraft! But ok, makes sense we guess.

Cracker Barrel Macaroni & Cheese is designed to be “higher end,” if you will. According to an article in AdvertisingAge, Cracker Barrel’s version is, “…is positioned at a premium to Kraft’s other boxed macaroni and cheese products…” So, this is basically an upscale mac and cheese.  Good enough.

Also, the box says that there are no artificial flavors or dyes. Nifty. We don’t care about that, but whatever. It’s “high end.” Or something.

IMG_20160519_115021As you can see, “The Difference Is In The Cheese!”

We love macaroni and cheese. What isn’t to love about a bowl full of cheese all over macaroni? Plus, it makes great drunk food. We decided to review the Sharp Cheddar version since that seems like the standard. No, we aren’t ordinary! Stick with us, people.

IMG_20160519_115454Oh look! Macaroni! And a cheese packet! It is worth noting that the macaroni is much larger than the regular Kraft kind. Plus, they have nifty little ridges on them. Classy.

We cooked the macaroni for 10 minutes and it was perfect, despite the box saying to cook for 11-12 minutes. Actually, we didn’t cook it. Herman did. Denny would burn water, so Herman wouldn’t let him near the stove!

IMG_20160519_122336Yummay! Cooked macaroni and a glob of cheese sauce. See the little pattern on the mac? Also, this is a good time to bring up that the cheese isn’t a powder like regular Kraft mac and cheese. Yet it is different than the Velveeta kind, too. More on that later…

Herman expertly mixed the goo (HO HO!) all over the mac, and…

IMG_20160519_122611If that isn’t one good looking bowl of mac and cheese, we don’t know what is!

The macaroni itself is good stuff. As mentioned, it is much bigger than the regular Kraft stuff. This made for a pretty filling meal. Other than that, it is macaroni. Not much else to say.

The cheese is the highlight here, obviously. The flavor is indeed a sharp cheddar, but it isn’t overly sharp. We think that is a good thing. The consistency was very creamy. We could put a joke here, but we will actually pretend we are civilized for once!

Velveeta turns to concrete almost immediately, and this cheese did not. It stayed pretty creamy. Herman took a while to finish his bowl (because he wouldn’t stop drinking!), and only after quite some time did the cheese start to congeal. But he mixed it back up, and it got pretty creamy again. By this time, Velveeta would have hardened to the point of becoming a weapon!

Overall, this is very good macaroni and cheese. It is a notch above the regular Kraft kind and Velveeta. We can see why Kraft would position this the way that it is.

The price, as you saw above, was $3.49 at Kroger. We think it would probably be cheaper at Walmart. But since we are too lazy to go and check, we can’t say for sure. Detectives we ain’t.

As we said, this is a notch better than the other kinds. So, we think it is worth the extra money. Plus, according to the boxes, you get twice the amount of food in the Cracker Barrel box as you do in 1 box of the regular Kraft mac and cheese. The value is there for what you get.

Would we get it again? Yes. This is good stuff. It is good by itself as a meal, and it would make a great side dish.

Good job, Kraft. We approve, and that’s all that matters!


  1. mary ryan

    I am a huge mac and cheese fan and this was AWFUL! The cheese was SHINY and tasted like it was plastic. Very disappointed. I will never purchase this product again and am sorry that I did this time.

  2. Very sad

    I am very disappointed. As a Mac and cheese conisseaur I was not pleased. I think this box of mac & cheese was plagiarized and just a downright dissapointment to the Mac and cheese lovers of this world. I write this on behalf of everyone. Save your money!!! I figured I would give every box of mac & cheese a fair chance. This should be taken off the market. I wouldn’t want anyone to waste their time and hard earned money on this garbage. I love Cracker Barrel to death. I use to work for them. But this is just a disgrace to the mac and cheese society as a whole. Hot sauce didn’t even make it better. I mean, a tad better. Thank you.

    1. Marie

      Agree!! I bought the sharp cheddar thinking that it would be so much better than the Kraft deluxe Mac and cheese. Very disappointed to say it tasted EXACTLY like Kraft brand. Will not waste my money on this again!!

    2. melissa

      you worked for the packaged cheese company? thats a lot of anger over a $3 loss. i thought it was okay, basically velveeta shells & cheese with elbows and a tiny bit of a tang element. not bad. not fab. i’d maybe buy it again only if i was in the mood for the velveeta one cause i think the elbows hold up a lot better than the shells.

      for a few dollars its fine and worth trying if you like the shells & cheese variation…. but if you think that one is gross, this won’t change your mind about squeeze packet goo cheese.

    3. Christina C Fiscus

      you are so right

  3. Garfey Buffknuckles

    Nobody seems to want to talk about Havarti, so I will. I’ve always liked Cracker Barrel, but Havarti will have to be one exception. As a “Cheddar,” it tastes very dull and flat. Definitely has no “sharpness” to it. I’ve tasted candlewax with a more exciting flavor. I think Kraft must be trying to hide this, because I can’t find any posts willing to talk about Havarti.

  4. HO HO!

    (HO HO!)

  5. sunny

    I love that conspiracy theories are forming over macaroni and cheese. This makes me happy inside. LOL

  6. SallyZ

    Love this stuff! I always bought the Kraft white cheddar, which was just passable. When I tried the Cracker Barrel white cheddar, it was great!
    Obviously nothing is as good as homemade, but the CB far out-shines the Kraft in flavor, amount and creaminess! And the best part IS…the creaminess!
    I will no longer buy the old blue box Kraft! And when you consider you have to add 1/2 stick butter and some milk to the blue box stuff, the price isn’t that much more!

    1. Trina

      I do agree! But really do not like the noodle so I get a thick she’ll and it is mighty yummy!

  7. Licia

    For a boxed mac and cheese this is far superior to any others we have ever tried. It is also a good vehicle for adding “stuff” I have added broccoli and a touch of cream and it was yummy! Made it once with my own seasoned chop meat for a complete comfort meal too. The mac and cheeses if perfect by itself, but like I mentioned it has other possibilities too

  8. julane

    I bought the sharp cheddar the hint of sharp was good just needs to be cheesier, not worth the moneymore mac than cheese

  9. JW

    I did a little searching online for reviews about this product because I tried it and was curious to see if anyone had the same opinion I did. Reading through this review, I honestly have no idea what kind of taste the people who wrote this article have! I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED! I tried this product when it first arrived at my local grocery store (roughly 6 months ago) and boy was I excited to try it. WRONG. I like mac and cheese, no love it, whether its boxed or homemade to me its the ultimate comfort food, I’m sure many people would agree. But after having this, I’ll stick to a nice bowl of the original Kraft in a pinch or make some homemade. Thanks Cracker Barrel, but no thanks. It just goes to show that a nice picture on a box is not a guarantee. In my opinion, and contrary to what this article says, this product is no better than Velveeta Mac and Cheese.

    1. Mike Edwards

      strange how people’s tastes can vary. I get these at the dollar store down here all the time, and I VASTLY prefer the Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar over the Kraft sharp cheddar. way cheesier and has a much better flavor (or maybe Cracker Barrel has fie tuned the recipe in the last couple of years)

  10. Rose

    I always make my home made macaroni & cheese with cracker barrel cheddar so I thought I would try their packaged macaroni & cheese. What a disappointment! It was absolutely nasty and cheap tasting. Will I ever buy this product again? NO!! I would highly NOT recommend this product to anyone. I am sure the cheaper versions of macaroni & cheese have to taste better than this one. The money I spent for this product was a rip off!!!

  11. mike

    I was at Target last night and bought Cracker Barrel Sharp Cheddar, Kraft Deluxe Original Cheddar (two boxes, actually, since it was my favorite at the time), and Velveeta Cheese & Shells Original. I enjoy all three, but the plan was to taste-test all three sauce-pack box macs within a very short window of time.

    I made the CB last night and the Kraft Deluxe earlier today. After finding this article, I can say that I agree 100% with this review. Points re: noodle size, sauce-retaining ridges, creaminess, and sauce coagulation time are all absolutely accurate.

    There’s not light-years of difference between the two, but if you eat these macs back-to-back, there is definitely a noticeable difference. Kraft D tastes and looks much more artificial, and the sauce has more of a sticky, artificial mouthfeel to match (the words “melted plastic” and “gluey” come to mind).

    Nice review!

    Incidentally, I am somewhat regretting buying the second box of Kraft D, now that I know about the Cracker Barrel mac.

  12. Mavv

    Just got a 3 pack of sharp cheddar from Groc Out for $3. I’m a fan of the white cheddar and the sharp isn’t bad either. One of the better varieties of mac&cheeze IMO. Nice review.

  13. Mikey

    I mean… it’s all hype… trust me. It’s exactly like velveeta shells but better than kraft Mac

  14. Christine

    HORRIBLE!!!! Sorry, I’ll take velveeta over this, any day! I’ve tried 3 different flavors of the Cracker Barrel and for whatever reason, the cheese is thick as hell! It’s not creamy like velveeta at all! They fell short and I can’t see how people are saying they love it. Def over-hyped!

  15. Dan

    Found this product at our local dollar store. Usually that means the product is post date or a failure but we decided to give it a try anyway. We absolutely love the taste of the sharp cheddar version. Preparation and clean up is more than most mac and cheese products but well worth the extra cost and effort. After our first bag we went back to the dollar store and purchased 11 more bags.

  16. Jane Smith

    This product is wayyyyyy…. over priced! I could not believe that I paid almost $5 for a freakin’ package of mac and cheese. I thought at that price, “This will be delicious” Yeah Right!

  17. Edward J Odgren

    just tried for the first time. no season package with it. pretty blah!!!

  18. Carmen B

    I really liked this product when it was *2.98 back in January 2018 but now that it is 4.98, I will not be buying it again.

  19. Leigh

    This was so nasty I couldn’t even eat a bowl!! Is not at alllike Kraft original with cheese. I don’t like the cheap stuff. I love the Kraft original. I thought I’d try this one because it was Cracker Barrel. NOPE!! Don’t waste your money. This is nothing like what you want. DISCUSTING!! Yuck!!

  20. Christina C Fiscus

    I love Crackel Barrel cheese. I go through 2 packages a week I eat it with my wine. I love Mac and cheese! I just saw it at BJ’s three boxes for 14.99 it almost made it to the register. I could not wait to try it! I just checked Walmart today and they sold the single box for 4.48 still pretty steep for one box and it was horrible just gross they should be ashamed to sell such nasty stuff for such a high price, not name brand mac taste better. Very disappointed.

  21. Lisa

    I bought the Cracker Barrel 32 oz. frozen white cheddar mac n cheese because the box was so attractive. I usually buy the excellent Stouffers mac n cheese. I wanted to try something different and was tempted that is was on sale for about $2 less than the Stouffers. What an incredible disappointment! Gak! This was just white, pasty, flavorless, sodium infested crap! I decided to doctor it up with mexican 4-cheese and yellow sharp cheddar. It was still very pasty. Then, after I ate some of leftovers tonite, I discovered a black beard like hair in it. I do not have hair like that! Enough to make me never buy anything Cracker Barrel again! Gag me! I called to complain. Rep was nice but didn’t offer anything. Seriously?

  22. Philip

    This was promising: comes with a seasoning packet consisting of some flavors and some flour which you are instructed to make a roux out of and add the milk pretty much like real m & c. And the resulting bechemel-type sauce seems like we are about to have some good macaroni and cheese. Then the cheese mixture is added in. It doesn’t look too good, a glob of yellow something or other. But still, I am optimistic as I assume it is pretty much Cracker Barrel cheese which is decent. A nice touch too is the toasted bread crumbs for the topping. But the final result SUCKS. That glob of cheese was bland, gooey and tasted much more like silly putty than cheese. It takes only a little less time than real macaroni and cheese. The time and effort invested apparently fools some folks into thinking that it tastes good. But it tastes really lousy.

  23. Laurie

    The most disgusting thing I have ever tasted!

  24. Jo Ann

    I love your product best mac n cheese over all others. I have a small complaint about the cheese package. Need to know who I can relay it to.

  25. Jim

    I find this mac n cheese way too salty. Velveeta is twice as good. Not salty. I thought at that expensive $3.49 price might be better than the rest. Not so. I won’t buy anymore of it.

    1. Andrea B

      Velveeta has even more sodium than this though

  26. Debbie

    Yuck- couldn’t eat box cheddar – I love cracker bare cheese this was not it I would take kraft original over

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