Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese (Frozen) Review

Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

We’ve known about Annie’s line of frozen mac and cheese for a while now, but we’ve been having a bit of a struggle actually finding any of it. Thankfully, we finally spotted a treasure trove full of the stuff at our local Super Target. So we stuffed our arms (well, actually our cart) with frozen mac and cheese and darted back to the Freezer Meal Frenzy office to try some.

To clarify things a bit, Annie’s does have a whole line of dry mac and cheese (and we’ve tried some of it), but they also have a new frozen line of microwavable meals. Today we’re checking out the Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese, which is part of the frozen line. We’re very excited about this, as we love us some mac and cheese!

Cooking this is fast and easy if you choose to use the microwave. Pop it into the microwave for two minutes, give it a quick stir, then pop it back in for a while longer (the exact time will depend on the wattage of your microwave). You can heat this in the oven as well, but that will take you considerably longer (a half an hour or more). We stuck with the trusty ol’ microwave for this. For reference, we have an 1100-watt microwave, and we cooked this for a total of three minutes (two minutes before we stirred it, one more minute after).

Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Before we talk about our feelings about this particular mac and cheese, we should say that shells just happen to be our favorite noodle shape for mac and cheese. We love how shells tend to scoop up extra cheese so you end up with gooey-cheese-filled noodles. So we have a pro-shell bias.

That said, we think these shells are kind of mediocre. After our three-minute cook time, they didn’t seem quite done all the way. It’s not that they’re al dente (they are), but they also have some crunchy parts that seem like they should have soaked a little longer. On top of that, these have kind of a strong flavor, which isn’t a good quality for a macaroni noodle. These leave the whole dish tasting a little bit starchy rather than letting the sauce do all the talking.

The aforementioned sauce is a sharp white cheddar, and it has a decent flavor with a smoky aftertaste. We can tell this is a sauce that’s going for a creamy consistency but doesn’t really pull it off. It’s kind of chunky and grainy in some places and watery in others. And before you ask, we did stir this pretty thoroughly.

One box of this mac and cheese contains 320 calories and 550 mg of sodium. Both of those numbers are slightly below average for a frozen meal, so that comes as a welcome surprise. We should also mention the caveat that this isn’t exactly a huge bowl of food, so you might end up eating a side dish alongside this.

The Annie’s Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese is a valiant attempt at making a frozen mac and cheese, but Annie’s doesn’t quite stick the landing on this one. We think both the pasta and sauce need some tweaking. That said, it still tastes halfway decent, and we’d take this mac and cheese over no mac and cheese, if those were our only two options.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this frozen mac and cheese, check out our package scans below.

Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese
Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese