Upgraded Boxed Mac and Cheese for Camping! [Recipe]

Upgraded Boxed Mac and Cheese for Camping! [Recipe]

One of the most fun things about camping is cooking over a fire pit! And for our camping trip earlier this year in Tahoe National Forest, we wanted to bring our favorite add-ons to boxed Mac and Cheese!

I grew up eating Annie’s boxed Mac and Cheese and it has always been one of my favorites. However, being from Oakland, CA, I’ve also experienced the delicious and decadent mac and cheese from Homeroom. This inspired the idea of making upgraded boxed mac and cheese!

And because camping means cooking over fire pits, cooking sausages, one of our favorite upgrades to mac and cheese, seemed like a no brainer! For this version, we used Artichoke and Garlic Chicken Sausage from Aidells, but we also recommend Italian Sausages too!

The easiest way to upgrade boxed mac and cheese is definitely the addition of protein and vegetables. I love the salty and spiced flavor that sausage has, and Aidells (not a sponsor) makes a lot of delicious flavors that take just minutes to cook up! For vegetables, cherry tomatoes are the move. I love when ingredients are similarly sized, so mixing the pasta shells with sliced sausage and halved cherry tomatoes is extremely pleasing!

Of course, there are a lot of other ways to upgrade your boxed mac and cheese. Adding spices. like paprika and garlic powder is a nice touch; shredding and melting different cheeses adds richness, and maybe some fresh herbs like the basil we did on this one! And we always like adding butter at the end, but for camping (to save space in our cooler) we use ghee! Ghee is clarified butter, commonly found in Indian cuisine, and it does not need to be refrigerated. Most grocery stores sell it now a days (Trader Joes, Safeway, etc) or you can order online!

This recipe of course could be made just at home using skillets, but there’s a fun rustic feeling using skewers, a grill pan, and the propane stove. So whether you’re planning on a little backyard cookout with friends or kids, or actually taking a camping or backpacking trip, this is a super great recipe! Or just make it in your kitchen and stay warm! Also, for another easy recipe that could be done on the grill, check out our swordfish skewers!

Video to come soon! And check out our Instagram for more camping photos!

Upgraded Box Mac and Cheese

An easy way to elevate boxed mac and cheese using a firepit and a camp stove!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • Firepit
  • Skewers
  • grill pan or skillet (safe for firepit)
  • strainer (or lid for pot)


  • 12 cups water
  • 2 boxes mac and cheese we use Annie's Shells
  • 1 pack sausages we use Aidells (6-8 per pack)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 3.5 tbsp ghee or butter
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese freshly shredded
  • 1 bunch basil chopped or shredded
  • pepper
  • salt


  • Boil water in a pot over the camp stove. Prepare boxed mac and cheese as instructions state.
  • Using 2 skewers, put 3-4 sausages on each and place on fire pit grill grate. Cook turning occasionally until desired internal temperature is reached.
  • Heat a skillet or grill pan on the fire pit. Add 1/2 tbsp of ghee. Once hot, add tomatoes.
  • Cook tomatoes until blistered and soft, then remove from heat.
  • Slice sausages into small bite-sized pieces.
  • Once macaroni is strained, add ghee back into the empty pot over low heat.
  • Add milk and cheese packets and stir till smooth. Add macaroni back in.
  • Stir in sausage and tomatoes. Add in basil and parmesan cheese and softly combine.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!
Keyword camping, mac and cheese

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