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Product Review: Kraft Homestyle Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese

Taste Test: Kraft Homestyle Deluxe Macaroni and Cheese

After checking out Kraft's Macaroni and Cheese Cheddar Explosion, I learned the brand had also released a new line of mac-and-cheese dinners called Homestyle Deluxe. I was curious to give the new product line — which has a (slightly) more elaborate cooking process — an earnest try. Compared to its hassle-free counterpart, was it worth the extra effort? Keep reading to find out.

With its plastic pouch packaging, the Homestyle Deluxe line is easy to identify, and comes in three varieties: Classic Cheddar, Hearty Four Cheese, and Old World Italian. A cut of the pouch revealed dried macaroni, which is much wider and thicker than the blue box version; a "seasoning packet," which contains flour and occasional herbs; a cheese sauce; and a packet of breadcrumbs.
I boiled the pasta, then drained it, using the same pot to create a roux with butter and the seasoning packet. Then I added milk, the cheese sauce, and finally the pasta. I topped off the cheesy mess with a sprinkling of breadcrumbs. All in all, it took about 30 minutes to prepare the three flavors side by side.

Classic Cheddar: I thought this would be my favorite based on the name, but it was bland — it was reminiscent of Kraft's original blue box, but with less sodium and flavor.


Hearty Four Cheese: This mix of parmesan, asiago, colby, and cheddar cheeses was my favorite. It looked exactly like the Classic Cheddar, and tasted similar, but the parmesan and asiago cheeses lent a salty sharpness that the cheddar lacked.

Old World Italian: The alfredo-like appearance of this pasta, which is made with parmesan and romano cheese, didn't sit well with a fellow taster. Still, I thought it possessed a nice gooeyness from monterey jack cheese and a subtle garlic flavor.

If I had one primary gripe, it would be the breadcrumbs, which permeated the cheeses with a taste of old, stale cardboard. The packages also include instructions for a special topping, which involves finishing off the casserole with a layer of breadcrumbs and shredded Kraft cheddar, but since I didn't have that extra ingredient, I passed on the last step. Overall, I think the additional steps render a much more positive Kraft pasta experience. Have you tried Homestyle Deluxe? If so, I'd love to hear what you thought, too.





Paul2879717 Paul2879717 5 years
too much time and effort for something so bland
saradd saradd 6 years
It tastes even better if you take the extra time and bake it. The four cheese is much better than the classic cheddar.
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 7 years
ToddStoon: I omitted the breadcrumbs entirely. The extra step of creating a roux did make a huge difference the end result; it was much creamier. jPhoto801: You have a very good point -- come to think of it, that is quite possibly the case.
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 7 years
You can finish it off with shredded cheese and breadcrumbs in the oven, but that is an optional variation. I was curious to try it but didn't have shredded cheddar on hand.
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 7 years
The commercial always shows it being baked in the oven. I thought these were supposed to be more of a baked pasta casserole. Maybe it would be better that way?
Spectra Spectra 7 years
verily--I was thinking the same thing. Why not just make it from scratch if you have to go through all that trouble? It's not like it's rocket science and you use REAL ingredients instead of processed crapola.
dclsweetspot dclsweetspot 7 years
I found it to be too much work for something that tasted the same as their boxed deluxe mac n cheese. We really disliked the bread crumb topping so that was a real negative, especially with the kids. I will stick with the box when in a hurry or making the real thing rather than waste my time and money with this again.
fuzzles fuzzles 7 years
:rotfl: No forking way. Not even with bacon.
Susannah-Chen Susannah-Chen 7 years
Verily, I see your point. You do save a little time acquiring and parsing out ingredients, but in the end, it's basically everything premeasured going into a bag. It definitely does not stand in as a replacement for homemade macaroni and cheeses!
verily verily 7 years
Wow...if they're going to make you go to all those steps, you might as well just make it from scratch because it's the same process! Instead of using their junky cheese sauce, you could be using real cheese without all the extra additives.
Desirella Desirella 7 years
I tried this a few months ago and the four cheese is also my favorite! I never put the breadcrumbs on though because I don't like it. This is one of my go to meals when I need something quick and it's great because I can add broccoli or any sort of protein to it.
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