Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese Review

Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese

Okay, so we’re just going to be upfront here. Yeah, we know we already reviewed the Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese (which can be found at Trader Joe’s), but we’ve been in the cheesiest of moods lately. Our appetite for mac and cheese has been insatiable, and we wanted to eat more of it.

Now, when we picked this up, we realized that something changed. The nutrition content on the back of the box is a little bit different. As it turns out, the only thing that’s changed is that TJ’s added a second column to list out the nutritional content for the full tray, as well as the half-tray serving listed on the previous box (we’ll go into more detail about that later in this review).

Before we get into the ooey-gooey thick of it, though, let’s cook this up.

This is easy to heat, but it takes a little bit longer than your average microwavable mac and cheese. You’ll throw it into the microwave for five to six minutes. You can also cook it in the oven, but it will take 25 to 35 minutes, which might be longer than you want to wait for a single-serve batch of macaroni. (If you want to read the full cooking instructions straight off the back of the box, check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.)

Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese

You will need to stir this before serving, because there’s a layer of shredded cheese on the very top of this that melts into the pasta. Mix it up a bit because it’ll all be clustered in the middle otherwise.

That said, it adds an absolutely wonderful melty consistency that we adore. This is a stretchy batch of macaroni rather than a creamy one, and we’re 100% cool with that. The cheese here is a blend of cheddar, havarti, gouda, and swiss, so it’s not exactly a typical macaroni blend, but the swiss really works with the melty consistency, and the gouda adds some lovely earthy undertones. This is a top-notch bowl of mac and cheese!

The pasta comes in your oh-so-basic elbow shape. While we typically prefer shells in our macaroni, the elbows are actually a great fit for the melty cheese. They end up getting sort of glued together in cheesy clumps, which makes the whole thing a pleasure to eat.

Now, let’s have the awkward conversation about calories. While a serving contains 360 calories, that’s only half the tray. The full tray actually contains 720 calories and 1,180 mg of sodium. While we’re glad TJ’s is being upfront about acknowledging this, it was kind of nice to be living in a fantasy land where this could be considered a reasonably low-calorie meal. We can no longer pretend that’s the case.

The Joe’s Diner Mac ‘n Cheese is a darn tasty dish of macaroni, though it’s definitely not built for dieters. As a once-in-a-while treat, we think there’s plenty to love here, but we advise against making it a regular meal. Still, if you’re craving some delicious melty mac and cheese, this is a great option.

We were going to give this a second look no matter what, but this mystery does give us some much-needed justification to do so.

Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese
Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese
Joe's Diner Mac 'n Cheese