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Taste Test: Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Cheddar Explosion

I eschew processed foods, but with a few glaring exceptions — like anything with processed cheese. (Yes, I already realize I can't reconcile sustainably raised seafood and organic, local produce with Velveeta chile con queso. And no, I have no plans to ever change that.) You should've seen the cheesy grin (no pun intended) that spread across our faces when a giant box of Kraft's latest macaroni and cheese arrived. With an active name like Cheddar Explosion, how could one not feel a blast of giddiness? We were excited to test it out, and I even used the occasion as an excuse to make the stovetop original for comparison. What were our ultimate thoughts? Find out when you keep reading.

Kraft's Cheddar Explosion promises a "bigger blast of cheese sauce" with bigger shapes. We compared the Cheddar Explosion Macaroni & Cheese Dinner Cups with the original stovetop version from the box, and the spirals were indeed larger and more tightly wound. It had the same flavor as the standard, just much more intense — as though someone had dumped twice the amount of cheese powder into the bowl. If you don't like processed cheese, then stay far away; if you do, know that it was cheddar product overload, in the best way possible.

"Why don't they just make all of it like this?" PartySugar asked, to which I had no good answer. The more instant version in a cup was too soupy for our liking, but in the future, should we ever have a hankering for Kraft's macaroni, we'll be reaching for the boxed version of the Cheddar Explosion. Also, I can't wait to try the brand's baked Homestyle renditions. Have you had any of Kraft's new concepts?


The soup product.

In comparison, the stovetop original I made at home had looser, smaller spirals.

The pasta.

Cooking the Cheddar Explosion.

The color isn't explosive...yet.

Cooking the pasta.

The mixing begins.

Et voila!
Join The Conversation
hummerseeker hummerseeker 5 years
I just had the classic mac and cheese with the packet of gooey cheese like the Velveeta shells and cheese, and it's still okay. As far as I can tell they haven't screwed that up. But the kind with the powdered cheese is simply nasty, all the different varieties that have come out. If they want to make all those different ones, fine, but bring back the original one or I'm not buying it any more.
Food Food 6 years
"I am a huge fan of gourmet/fancy cheeses, but sometimes in life you need good old fashioned junk." mrsld, I couldn't agree more :)
hexentanz hexentanz 6 years
Ehhhh I do not like the instant ones. Its like a ball of mush. I must agree with the comment by mrsld Kraft just does not taste the same as when I was a kid. Velveeta is so much better these days.
mrsld mrsld 6 years
Party- They don't make it all that way because it is slightly more expensive. I don't like Blue box anymore, it doesn't have the good cheese flavor it had when I was a kid. Velveeta on the other hand tastes like the old blue box to me. The more fake cheese the better! I am a huge fan of very gourmet/ fancy cheeses, but sometimes in life you need good old fashioned junk.
Food Food 6 years
Same as partysugar! I could not stop eating the stovetop mac right out of the pot. It was addictive.
partysugar partysugar 6 years
I forgot how much I loved Kraft Mac & Cheese!
danizzle danizzle 6 years
i am a devoted lover of kraft mac and also velveeta. its a life long obsession i tried the homestyle mac - HUGE disappointment. both flavors were ehh but the italian one was better. they basically give you the shells, a package of cheese (like velveeta) a small package of breadcrumbs (which were the best part) and a small package of "seasoning" which is just flour. you cook the macaroni drain it and then use the same pot to basically make a roux w butter and the "seasoning" then add the pasta and cheese sauce, then top w breadcrumbs not bad, but i still go for the original
HeyKristen HeyKristen 6 years
So funny! I have the same processed cheese rule. At a baseball game recently, my boyfriend came back to our seats with a giant plate of nachos covered in "drippy cheese." We joke that I've never loved him more than I did at that moment.
Spectra Spectra 6 years
I'm not big on mac and cheese and especially not Krap Macaroni and Cheese. I'll have to pass on this one.
Sundaydrive Sundaydrive 6 years
I have a box of the cheesy explosion in my pantry. My boyfriend isn't a big fan of Mac n Cheese so I haven't gotten to try it yet. But I do love the cheese so I'm thinking I'll like it. I'm glad it doesn't have a weird cheese taste (well weirder then processed cheese)
hwall1018 hwall1018 6 years
Funny, I just had the new Cheddar explosion tonight. Eh. I really didn't think it was that special to be honest. I have also had the homestyle stuff. That stuff is pretty good, better than Kraft's regular blue box, more expensive too. Comparable to Velveeta's Shells, which I grew up loving. Personally, I'd stick to Velveeta, it has just a bit more flavor. Close competition though.
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