KFC Mac and Cheese (Copycat)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

KFC Mac and Cheese is an indulgent creamy cheddar side that pairs perfectly with crispy chicken. Includes how to make it into a KFC Mac and Cheese Bowl!

Skip the drive-thru lines by making popular fast food Copycat Recipes at home whenever a craving hits. Make your own Family Bucket meal by paring this KFC Mac and Cheese with our KFC Original Chicken and KFC Coleslaw copycats. 

Scoop of KFC Mac and Cheese


This past summer, Kentucky Fried Chicken decided to take it’s well loved side dish, Mac and Cheese, and turn it into a Famous Bowl. That’s right, they said how can we make this better? Make it an entree!

Because this new Mac was only briefly offered, we knew it was time to master KFC’s Mac. Not only so we can pair with copycat Fried Chicken whenever we want, but also to recreate these limited time only Famous Bowls.

First though, let’s take a minute to gush about the delicious, creamy cheese sauce that is the key to KFC Mac and Cheese. It’s absolutely mind-blowing that a dish this cheesy and flavorful could come from a fast food chain. Yet here it is.

While we certainly love other favorite side dishes like mashed potatoes, and will definitely copycat them in the future, there’s something about Mac and cheese that makes getting a classic fried chicken bucket meal more of a splurge.


This Mac and cheese has a slightly tangy, sharp cheddar sauce gets soaked up into the tender jumbo elbow noodles. When you bite into the macaroni, you get bursts of hidden creamy cheddar that you never want to stop. 

Who among us hasn’t scraped the container to get every last drop of this thick and rich cheesy goodness?

Now that your (hopefully) convinced that it’s a must have side dish, you can understand why KFC would take this masterpiece and kick it to the next level by topping with crispy popcorn chicken and even more cheese.

Since Mac and cheese bowls were limited time only, and we don’t know if they will ever be back, we’ve got instructions to make both the regular and spicy versions. If they disappeared off the menu before you got to try one, you no longer have to wonder what you missed out on!

Drop a comment below of more limited edition or lifetime classic KFC Menu Copycats you’d like to see.  KFC is one of my favorite fast food places to recreate copycats for.



  • Cook the elbow macaroni for 18 minutes then drain.
  • Add in the milk, milk powder, mustard powder, cornstarch and salt until the milk is warm, stirring gently.
  • Add in the Velveeta and cheddar cheese until smooth and creamy, mixing gently, then serve immediately.

KFC Mac and Cheese in Pot


So, these cheese bowls are super easy to make, literally just 2-3 toppings depending if you make the regular or spicy versions. It really comes down to what ingredients you use in order to get the taste spot on.

  • Popcorn Chicken: The chicken that KFC uses on top their Famous Bowls, including the ones with mashed potatoes, is their popcorn chicken. Little chicken bites with thick crunchy breading. We don’t have a copycat (yet) but we suggest the Tyson frozen brand for the closest version until we do.
  • 3 Cheese Blend: The 3 cheese blend in the Mac and Cheese Famous Bowls is a blend of equal parts Low Moisture Mozzarella, Mild Cheddar Cheese, and Monterey Jack Cheese.
  • Spicy Mac: To make the Spicy Famous Bowl, you will need to make a Nashville Hot Sauce and drizzle it generously. Nashville Hot Sauce is a spicy sweet hot sauce filled with more spices than your traditional hot wing sauce.
  • Make it a Combo: If you want to make this into a full Fill Up meal, for much less, serve your Mac and Cheese Famous Bowls with a Chocolate Chip Cookie and a drink.

Red Dutch Oven with KFC Mac and Cheese


  • 3 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (the kind used for frying)

Whisk all ingredients and pour over your Mac and Cheese Bowls. You can also use this on fried chicken and make into a Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich. 


  • Not So Kentucky Fried Chicken: Although KFC was founded as Sanders Court & Cafe in Corbin, Kentucky in 1930, the first franchise location was opened in Salt Lake City, over 20 years later.
  • Do the Dew: Mountain Dew made a special flavor specifically for drinking with the Colonel’s Original Recipe. The Sweet Lightening flavor is a peach and honey blend, which sounds like the definition of southern flair in soda form.
  • Bucket of Facts: Before 1957, you would not be able pick up a KFC Bucket Meal. Created by one of the first franchisees, the same one that would coin “Finger Lickin’ Good”, the first bucket was 14 pieces of chicken, 5 rolls, and a pint of gravy.



  • Serve: This dish is best served immediately. It can sit out for up to 2 hours, but the sooner it’s eaten, the better.
  • Store: You can store this Mac and Cheese up to 4 days. Add a bit of milk, a tablespoon at a time, when reheating to get some creaminess back.
  • Freeze: You shouldn’t freeze this. The sauce will separate and the noodles will become gummy when defrosted.

KFC Mac and Cheese

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KFC Mac and Cheese (Copycat)

KFC Mac and Cheese is an indulgent creamy cheddar side that pairs perfectly with crispy chicken. Includes how to make it into a KFC Mac and Cheese Bowl!
Yield 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound large elbow macaroni
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 24 ounces Velveeta cheese
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese , cut into 1" cubes


  • Cook the elbow macaroni for 18 minutes (this is longer than directed on purpose to keep sauce creamier).
  • Drain pasta, then to the pot with the pasta add in the milk, milk powder, mustard powder, cornstarch and salt until the milk is warm, stirring gently.
  • Add in the Velveeta and cheddar cheese until smooth and creamy, mixing gently, then serve immediately.


Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 35mg | Sodium: 1034mg | Potassium: 383mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 772IU | Calcium: 473mg | Iron: 1mg

KFC Macaroni and Cheese collage

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.


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  1. My daughter loves KFC Mac & Cheese and prior to this recipe I couldn’t make homemade Mac & Cheese for nothing. I was skeptical at first with the dry milk because I’ve never used it at all in anything I make, but I’m glad I trust the process and I can now make homemade Mac & Cheese

  2. This is the best Mac and cheese recipe I have ever tasted. My family loves it and it’s the only recipe I use now. Thank you.

  3. I was so excited to try this recipe, I love mac n cheese (especially from KFC!) but sadly it was one of the worst mac recipes i have tried and I followed the recipe to a T. This tasted nothing like KFC and all I could taste was the velveeta flavor. The sauce was also VERY thin and soupy so it didn’t have the KFC texture either. This tasted like boxed mac n cheese to me except it was was obviously more $. I have used velveeta in mac n cheese recipes in the past and never had this issue with texture or flavor. The deal breaker wasn’t that this didn’t taste like KFC, I don’t care as long as it tastes good..
    I will not be making this again. I have tried other recipes here and they were great, this one was just not it for me.

  4. The Mac and cheese I have gotten was a light yellow almost white elbows was this the 3 cheese blend you mentioned in your post? Where is this recipe?

  5. Delicious!! I think if KFC had a premium Mac and Cheese, this would be it. So good and this is the second time now that I’ve made it. I had no powdered milk and both times I substituted powder coffee creamer. and no block cheese so used an 8 oz bag of shredded cheese. Worked well. My grand daughter thinks I’m some sort of Mac and Cheese Superhero…which I’m now beginning to believe too.?

  6. Haven’t made it yet, but it looks great. I’m curious, though, what type of cheddar block did you use? Sharp cheddar?

  7. Seriously? Making the sauce in a separate pan would have been ideal instead of adding everything to the pasta. Now I have shredded macaroni…

  8. I made this recipe for my daughter’s birthday. She and her cousins LOVED it. I get many compliments. I would have given this 5 stars except that its is just so unhealthy.

  9. First off, I did make this recipe, and it absolutely does taste a lot like the KFC mac and cheese. It’s Delicious! The velveeta really is the secret ingredient.

    If you re-hydrate the noodles w/ milk when re-heating in the microwave, it brings back the sauce much better 🙂

  10. It’s decent mac and cheese but not even similar to KFC. I’m sorry but it’s all about the cheese sauce and this is not it. I actually made this, unlike most of the people that left reviews.

  11. Finally! A good mac and cheese copycat that my husband and I both love. Thank you so much for this recipe. Sabrina! This recipe is spot on. We bought some mac and cheese from KFC and I made this. We could hardly tell the difference…except for this one was better! And we could have as much as we wanted!

  12. This is a great recipe! It tastes very good and I’d definitely make it again. But, it doesn’t taste like KFC’s Mac and Cheese…

  13. Absolutely delicious! Thank you. My daughter and I had this for dinner tonight and we loved it. At first I thought it was too much milk but it all came together magically. This is the best KFC copycat macaroni and cheese ever! I will always make this. Also love that it’s all cooked together on the stove all in one pot. Thanks again. Sincerely, Ms C

  14. My kids love KFC mac n cheese and I can’t wait to make this for them. It looks so creamy and decadent – perfect for the holidays!