Kirbie's Cravings

Healthier Macaroni and Cheese

If you like boxed macaroni and cheese but want to make it a little lighter you will love this two-ingredient recipe. You don’t need all the butter and milk – just some cottage cheese! Trust me, it’s so good.

close-up photo of a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese

What is it about boxed macaroni and cheese? No matter how many gourmet, grown-up macaroni and cheeses I’ve eaten, cooked, and enjoyed, I still like the boxed kind too.  I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow this stuff.

I’ve had some cottage cheese sitting in my fridge I’ve been trying to get rid of, so I went searching for recipes when I came across a healthier boxed macaroni and cheese on A Duck’s Oven.  The recipe uses cottage cheese as a substitute for the margarine and milk.

With the substitution, you eliminate 304 calories and 44.4 grams of fat from the box.

photo of Macaroni and Cheese

Some Notes about this Recipe

  • Boil the pasta and then, once it’s soft, add the cottage cheese and the cheese mix. Stir until the powder has dissolved.
  • It would be super creamy – the cottage cheese doesn’t completely break down into a creamy sauce, so there are some small lumps.
  • The taste is definitely lighter than the original, but it still tastes good. Even though it’s not the prettiest to look at the fact that it’s so much lighter makes up for it.
  • It doesn’t keep well, so plan to enjoy it as soon as you make it.

I would definitely make this again – it’s so easy and it satisfies a craving for macaroni and cheese but without all the calories and fat.

Here are a few more recipes that are easy to make, too!

photo of a bowl of healthier macaroni and cheese

Healthier Boxed Macaroni and Cheese

Servings: 3
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
I still love boxed macaroni and cheese and when I get a craving I like to use cottage cheese to make it a little more healthy.


  • 1 box Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese


  • Boil macaroni noodles until desired doneness. Drain noodles and pour noodles back into the pot. Add in cheese mix and cottage cheese and mix until the cheese mix is dissolved. Serve immediately.


Recipe slightly adapted from A Duck's Oven


Serving: 0.33of recipe, Calories: 296kcal, Carbohydrates: 50.9g, Protein: 13.6g, Fat: 4.2g, Saturated Fat: 1.3g, Sodium: 592mg, Fiber: 2.2g, Sugar: 8.2g, NET CARBS: 49g

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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10 comments on “Healthier Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. The cottage cheese is really good with the kraft because it makes it richer and it adds tasty lil chunks of cheese to the texture

  2. one suggestion that you might also want to try – when i get a craving for boxed macaroni and cheese, i use greek yogurt. it makes things thicker and sort of tangy, which i suppose would be like cottage cheese, but without as many lumps.

    • Oh, I was actually thinking of trying that next time! I was thinking it might be similar and without the lumps. I’m also going to try pureeing the cottage cheese too.

  3. Growing up we would use ‘2 caps’ of skim milk and maybe tsp of margarine. I’ve used the boxed directions as it turns out runny. In college I would just use a bit of the pasta water to thin the dry cheese. I’ll try this cottage cheese addition next time though. Thx.

    • Hmm, mine hasn’t turn out runny using the boxed directions. But anyhow, give this a try. It’s creamy, not runny. I liked it though it did taste a bit healthier than the original.

  4. What if you tried pureeing the cottage cheese a bit before adding? It would make it smoother and not so noticeable. I definitely nee to try this soon! Thanks for the idea!

    • I actually thought about that after when I realized the cottage cheese chunks were not going anywhere. I’ll try that next time!

  5. Hmmmm – the jury is out on this one. I really like cottage cheese so, I might just like this. Rarely do I buy a boxed mac and cheese … but yes, sometimes ya feel like a throw back to high school days ; – )

    I’d also give it a good shake of hot sauce, too.

    • I don’t usually buy the boxed ones either. I usually make ones from scratch. But DH buys the boxed ones. And I always have some of his- I can’t resist! haha. But yeah, you might like this one. The cottage cheese does make it taste creamier and less fake cheese-ish.

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