Where to Find the Best Mac ’n’ Cheese in Boston Right Now

These options for gooey, cheesy comfort in a bowl (or a skillet, or a mug) will get you through Boston’s colder months.

A bowl of mac and cheese features thick rigatoni topped in creamy cheese and biscuit crumbs.

Waverly Kitchen & Bar’s mac ’n’ cheese. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

In the very un-scientific hierarchy of comfort foods—French fries, ice cream, tacos—one dish reigns supreme: mac ’n’ cheese. After all, a great mac ’n’ cheese combines all of the flavors and textures that light up our animal brain with fireworks of food euphoria. There’s that salty, creamy goodness, plus the full-belly feeling that comes along with a heaping portion of carbs. Whether you’re a mac ’n’ cheese purist or use the dish as a blank palette to pile on fixings, here are 17 of the best variations to savor around Greater Boston right now.

Last updated in January 2024; check back for periodic updates.

Buttermilk & Bourbon  

It’s perhaps no shocker that a restaurant with the word “buttermilk” in its name would peddle a banging mac ’n’ cheese. We are pleasantly surprised, though, that star chef Jason Santos offers two different, equally delicious versions, depending on where you dine. Head to the Back Bay original for pasta drowning in a smoked cheddar cheese sauce with brisket, spicy breadcrumbs, and green onions; the huge newer Watertown outpost, meanwhile, does a baked mac with a hearty combo of bacon, gravy, and biscuit crumbs.

160 Commonwealth Ave., Back Bay, Boston, 617-266-1122; 100 Arsenal Yards Blvd., Watertown, 857-760-7128; buttermilkbourbon.com.

Down Home Delivery & Catering

Besides serving up mashed potatoes and gravy you’ll want to scarf by the bucket, this Dorchester soul-food spot proves that sometimes it’s best to not overcomplicate things. Case in point: The simply delicious mac ’n’ cheese here is classic elbow pasta with just American and cheddar cheeses. The dish is baked, so that crisp-topped pasta adds a bit of texture—and it’s a perfect companion to Down Home’s other southern fare of barbecue ribs, fried fish, and more. (Oh, and despite the name, there is also dining-room seating at Down Home.)

2 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, Boston, 617-288-0813, downhomedelivery.com.

A bowl of mac and cheese, made with cavatappi, has an orange-yellow sauce and chopped herbs as garnish.

JM Curley’s mac ’n’ cheese with Buffalo chicken. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

JM Curley

This bustling neighborhood hang features killer cocktails and comfort food, including the Curley mac—which, incidentally, is also curly. Infused with High Life, made with American cheese, and lightly topped with buttery breadcrumbs, this take on the classic keeps things pretty simple—but you’re welcome to add fried Buffalo chicken (do it!) or burger meat to it. (Note: JM Curley serves food until 1:30 a.m. nightly, a rarity for Boston. The mac comes off the menu when late-night kicks in at 11 p.m., but you can get the Best of Boston burger instead.)

21 Temple Pl., Downtown Crossing, Boston, 617-338-5333, jmcurleyboston.com.

A square of golden-brown, cheesy noodle kugel is accompanied by a sliced carrot slaw.

Lehrhaus’s mac ’n’ cheese kugel with tzimmes-inspired carrot slaw. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal


Jewish staple noodle kugel meets mac ’n’ cheese in this delightful bit of fusion at Somerville’s “Jewish tavern and house of learning.” The certified kosher restaurant, bar, and educational space explores flavors of the Jewish diaspora—and in the case of this particular dish, that means “an ode to the Jews of color in America,” based on a recipe from Michael W. Twitty’s Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew, as Lehrhaus chef Noah Clickstein previously told Boston. (The current side dish, instead of the carrot slaw pictured above, is shaved zucchini kashkarikas with sunflower seeds.)

425 Washington St., Somerville, lehr.haus.

Cavatappi is smothered in cheese, bread crumbs, and herbs, served in a cast-iron skillet.

Lincoln Tavern’s mac ’n’ cheese. / Photo courtesy of Lincoln Tavern

Lincoln Tavern & Restaurant

Southie haunt Lincoln Tavern is not kidding around with its comfort-food-heavy menu, including the truffle mac ’n’ cheese, which fuses white cheddar, blue cheese, fontina, and pecorino Romano with English peas, buttery Ritz crumbs, and truffle oil. Truffle, like cilantro, is a divisive ingredient that many diners don’t want anywhere near their food; here, though, it’s easy to taste how the truffle’s deep earthiness complements all the creaminess.

425 W. Broadway, South Boston, 617-765-8636, lincolnsouthboston.com.


Mission Hill’s Milkweed, a favorite hangout for brunches of shakshuka and strawberry-Nutella French toast since its opening in 2017, slings a casserole-y spin on the comfort-food classic for lunch and dinner. Its take is light-years more luxe than what you’d whip up from a box at home, though, adding shaved sirloin to a rich mornay sauce and blue cheese crumble, plus caramelized onions for added depth of flavor. The dusting of Parmesan-herbed breadcrumbs adds a little extra texture, and the shape of the elbow pasta ensures that each bite is coated in sauce.

1508 Tremont St., Mission Hill, Boston, 617-516-8913, eatatmilkweed.com.

Neighborhood Kitchen

Tucked away in a mostly residential nook of Medford, Neighborhood Kitchen serves a Haitian-inspired menu that’s deeply comforting, from brunch favorites like chicken and waffles (try the red velvet!) to a Creole chicken dinner plate with pikliz, sweet plantains, and djon djon rice. The “Flexx” mac ’n’ cheese—available as a side, entrée, or kids’ meal—bakes macaroni with plenty of cheese and invites the diner to add bacon and scallions, Buffalo chicken, barbecue chicken, or (and this is the baller move) lobster. Bring home some pikliz, a Haitian spicy pickled slaw, by the pint or quart while you’re at it.

84 Spring St., Medford, 781-391-9001, nkboston.com.

Olde Magoun’s Saloon

With 28 taps of local and imported craft beer and a wide selection of spirits, Olde Magoun’s Saloon is the perfectly cozy pub setting for a cast-iron mac ’n’ cheese. Consider adding blackened chicken, grilled kielbasa, grilled steak, or—our favorite—Buffalo chicken on top.

518 Medford St., Magoun Square, Somerville, 617-776-2600, magounssaloon.com.

Overhead view of a white bowl full of mac and cheese, the cheese slightly browned.

Picco’s baked mac ’n’ cheese. / Photo courtesy of Picco


This South End mainstay might lure you in with its signature Alsatian pizza, but the sleeper star of the menu is the heaping plate of mac ’n’ cheese with cheddar, gorgonzola, gruyere, and provolone. Since this dish is baked (you can request to skip this step, but why would you?), there’s a perfectly golden layer of slightly crisped cheese to meet your fork as you dive in. You can also add toppings: roasted garlic, mushrooms, bacon (a no-brainer), and/or sausage.

513 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-927-0066, piccorestaurant.com.

The Publick House

It’s damn near impossible for anything to overshadow the exceptional beer list at Brookline’s beloved gastropub, which debuted way back in 2002. The mac ’n’ cheese, though, makes a good go of it. The orecchiette is baked in a cast-iron skillet, and it’s served as a simple melting pot of cheeses or loaded up with any number of add-ins: Pickled jalapeños, hot dog, shrimp, truffle cream, and fried egg are just a few of the hearty options available for pairing with an equally rich stout or two.

1648 Beacon St., Washington Square, Brookline, 617-277-2880, publickhousebrookline.com.

A cast-iron pan of mac and cheese is topped with a pile of pulled pork and some green garnish.

Stillwater’s mac ‘n’ cheese. / Earl Studios


Chef and owner Sarah Wade is a bonafide master of comfort food. In the early days of the pandemic, she even launched a Stillwater takeout-and-delivery spinoff called the Mac Bar, featuring a fun (and award-winning) menu of customizable mac ‘n’ cheese. These days, the Mac Bar options live on on Stillwater’s takeout menu, but if you’re settling in to dine at the cozy downtown spot, you’ll find one decadent dish: creamy mac ‘n’ cheese topped with slow-smoked barbecue pulled pork and buttery Ritz cracker crumbs.

120 Kingston St., Downtown Boston, 617-936-3079, stillwaterboston.com.

A small blue camping mug is full of mac and cheese topped with Ritz crumbs.

A mug of Sweet Cheeks Q’s mac ’n’ cheese. / Photo courtesy of Sweet Cheeks Q

Sweet Cheeks Q

Since opening in 2011, chef Tiffani Faison’s first restaurant in her growing empire has boasted some of the best barbecue north of the Mason-Dixon. Come for the behemoth, sauce-brushed ribs and the buttermilk fried chicken, but stay for the gooey mac ’n’ cheese: cavatappi with cheddar, American, Monterey Jack, provolone, and Parmesan, all topped with garlic-butter breadcrumbs and Ritz crackers. It’s served in a mug as a side option for the generous meat trays, but also offered as its own entrée-size “Big Mac” with optional mix-ins of pimiento cheese and bacon.

1381 Boylston St., Fenway, Boston, 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

Open from morning ’til night daily, Trident Booksellers doesn’t just offer an array of great books at discounted prices; there’s also a sprawling menu (including breakfast all day!) with a fantastic mac ’n’ cheese bowl. The macaroni is served in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with Ritz crackers; feel free to add extras from a long list of meats, meat substitutes, and veggies.

338 Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-267-8688, tridentbookscafe.com.

Trina’s Starlite Lounge

The mouthwatering creamy mac ’n’ cheese from neighborhood favorite Trina’s is simply made with “love,” according to the menu. In a more tangible sense, you’ll find shell pasta smothered with a sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, and cream cheese sauce. It’s finished with a classic crumble of Ritz crackers, and, if you choose, toppings like hot dogs, bacon, tofu pups, and blue cheese. Pair it with one of Trina’s excellent cocktails.

3 Beacon St., Inman Square, Somerville (steps from the Cambridge border), 617-576-0006, trinastarlitelounge.com.

Veggie Galaxy

This traditional diner in Central Square offers an all-vegetarian menu—with lots of vegan options, too—featuring five variations on mac ’n’ cheese. Go for the classic baked mac, elbow macaroni with a choice between a creamy three-cheese sauce or a house-made vegan cheese sauce, with an herbed panko crust. Or try the inventive French-onion-soup mac, which comes with a reduced French-onion-soup broth and caramelized onions, topped with croutons and Swiss or vegan mozzarella.

450 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, 617-497-1513, veggiegalaxy.com.

A black plastic takeout bowl sits on a wooden surface and is full of barbecue sauce-covered chunks of pork belly and a lime wedge.

Wade BBQ’s pork belly burnt ends over mac ’n’ cheese. / Photo by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Wade BBQ

This Somerville newcomer, a takeout counter nestled in a nook of Union Square, is aiming to define “Boston barbecue.” Figure out just what that means with one of chef and owner David Wade’s filling “suppah bowls,” which top one of several carb-y bases with your choice of protein from a long list of smoked meats. This is a mac ’n’ cheese guide, so obviously we’ll tell you to choose the ultra-creamy mac as your base (other options include beans, mashed potatoes, or yellow rice), and our favorite protein pick—and the one Wade is most excited to show off—is the chicharrón-style pork belly burnt ends, sticky-sweet bites that are crispy on one end and tender on the other.

5 Sanborn Ct., Union Square, Somerville, 857-266-4628, wadebbq.com.

Waverly Kitchen & Bar

Fireplace? Check. Heavenly mac ’n’ cheese available pretty much all day, every day? Check. This cozy, family-friendly Charlestown hotspot uses rigatoni for its mac, smothering it in a scotch-and-smoked-gouda sauce, sneaking in big pieces of thick-cut bacon, and topping the whole thing with buttery crumbs—no, not breadcrumbs, but biscuit crumbs. Find it on the brunch, midday, and dinner menus seven days a week.

231 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown, Boston, 617-380-6500, waverlycharlestown.com.