Armed with a handful of lactose pills, I went on a quest to find the best mac and cheese the fast-food world has to offer. I ate the mac and cheese from Manhattan locations of six chains: Popeyes, Boston Market, Panera, KFC, Subway, and Chick-fil-A.
Each one was melty and cheesy, but only one offered a tangy and rich flavour that left its competition in the dust.
Here’s how they compared.
Popeyes has truly won my heart with its fried chicken. But I wasn’t sure if its mac and cheese would win me over too.
I was concerned by how quickly my mac came out. It was as if the cashier had whipped it out of a storage rack.
It tasted like prepackaged cafeteria food. There was a layer of film on top, and the pasta itself was mushy yet brittle.
The sauce was decently cheesy, but also kind of watery. It was mostly just bland.
I was disappointed by Popeyes’ mac. Only the chicken will keep me coming back.
A new item on the menu, Chick-fil-A’s mac and cheese was sold out the first time I tried to buy it.
I returned early the next day and managed to snag a cup. As soon as I took off the cap, I knew I had something special.
I’ve never been particularly impressed by the Chick-fil-A items I’ve had in the past, but this mac and cheese was a different story.
It was tangy and rich with the taste of real cheese and heavy cream.
The texture was also great — the mac was less mushy than most, and the baked cheese added variety to each bite.
Out of all the mac-and-cheese bowls I tried, Chick-fil-A had the best by far. The second best, Subway, didn’t even come close. Chick-fil-A’s mac tasted homemade, as if it’d been made from scratch and pulled fresh from a grandma’s oven (but not my grandma — she’s also lactose intolerant).