Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac Review: Our Favorite Game Day Snack Is Now In Pasta Form

Mahala and Abraham Stouffer brought their signature recipes out of their Cleveland home, and into their first namesake restaurant starting in 1924. Thirty years later, the Stouffers began selling "frosted" (aka frozen) packages available at local grocery stores. The initial offerings in 1954  included soups, veggies, sauces, desserts, and familiar entrées at the time like Swiss steak, baked ham loaf, and Welsh rarebit. One tried and true entrée was there from the get-go, and went to become a #1 American bestseller — macaroni and cheese.

Over the decades, Stouffer's Macaroni & Cheese branched out in serving sizes and varieties, with a wide range of cheeses and toppings such as beef, bacon, and broccoli. Its mac & cheese has been rolled up into breaded bites and even been made gluten-free, for those who want in on the cheesy fun. One thing the mac and cheese has never been is spicy. Hard to believe, but it's true! When word broke in July that Stouffer's was rolling out a brand-new Spicy Mac and Cheese, forks and mouths were ready to pounce and devour.

The time is now: Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Mac is upon us. Is this new twist on an old classic just the absolute "ultimate," or ultimately more bark than bite. We ripped open a box, tossed the Mac in the oven, and had ourselves a taste. After noodling over what happened, we're here to spew our chew and review...

What does Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac taste like?

After the oven's heat does its thing, the Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac's frozen block is transformed into a sea of gooey, cheesed-up curls of pasta. While the box displays a product with a vibrant yellow hue, in actuality, the macaroni looked more like darkened yellow squash, with specks of red, brown, and black seasonings.

As the steam rose from the serving tray, we took a whiff, and notes that nodded to both its cheesiness and its nacho spice flavors came through. When tasting it, the same order followed, with the quality of Stouffer's cheese quickly giving way to the spicy nacho bite that takes hold. If Bob Barker were still with us, he might say, "the spice is right!" It's a faultless, happy medium spice that doesn't engulf this new item, and makes one want to keep on spooning up more and more of it.

The macaroni is spot on al dente, and even after the Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac's cools, and the cheese congeals, the noodles remain soft. In fact, once this mac comes to room temperature and further nibbles are nibbled, the nacho's spice profile fully comes alive.

What is in Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac?

Like Stouffer's regular Macaroni & Cheese, the Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac consists of wheat-based cooked pasta, skim milk, cheddar cheese, and water, with other common ingredients as well. The Spicy Nacho Mac breaks away from its older brother naturally in the spice department, where chili pepper powder and a jalapeño purée of jalapeño peppers, vinegar, and salt breaks out a new mojo flavoring from the house of Stouffer's

The 10-ounce container of the Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac is a single serving, which is good for 440 calories, 21 grams of total fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 1160 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of protein, and 42 grams of total carbohydrates, with two of those being dietary fiber. This mac and cheese contains 430 milligrams of calcium, good enough for 35% of a recommended daily diet, as well as 6% of iron, and 8% of potassium.

How to get a box of Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac

Boxes of Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac will first be available only at select Walmarts, starting on an unspecified date in early September. Be sure to check for availability at your local Walmart. The manufacturer's suggested retail price for a single box will run $3.99.

Eventually, the Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac will be available at other national retail stores sometime in 2024. You'll also be able to it through food delivery services like Instacart or Amazon Fresh.

How to prepare Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac

The Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac box should always be stored in a freezer before use. The best-before date appears to be in the 11- to 12-month range after purchase, so don't wait forever. Stouffer's recommends two cooking methods — microwave or oven, either conventional or toaster.

For the microwave method, Stouffer's recommends using an 1100-watt one. Remove the tray from the box. Cut film to vent, then microwave for 2 minutes and 30 seconds on high. Open the film, stir the contents, and microwave on high for an additional 1 minute and 30 seconds. After those four full minutes of cooking, let the mac stand for 60 seconds to complete the cooking.

For those with more time on their hands, namely, 28 minutes to spare (slightly less than half the time it takes to bake Stouffer's regular issue macaroni and cheese), the oven is perhaps the best way to go. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the film from the container, place the tray on a baking sheet, and situate it on the center rack of one's oven. After 28 minutes are up, let stand for 1 minute before eating.

Both the box and the tray are recyclable. So, be kind and think of Mother Earth when done with your Spicy Mac.

How to best enjoy Stouffer's Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac

If the Spicy Mac isn't spicy enough, Stouffer's suggests topping with sliced jalapeños, hot chili peppers, or perhaps a pinch of cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, or a dash or seven of your preferred hot sauce. If the Spicy Mac is TOO hot for one to handle, try sour cream, cream cheese, shredded cheese, or a squeeze of lime.

As a single serving, it's ideal for one person to chow down or can be a small side dish for two people to complement a larger meal. In lieu of straight eating, why not use it as a topping on a hamburger, hot dog, or any type of barbecue meat? How about taking things to the next level with panko breadcrumbs and make fried mac & cheese balls? The pasta-bilities here are endless.

Final verdict

Macaroni & cheese is such a beloved dish for those who are really young, and for those who are young at heart and wish to eat like they still were really young. Mac & cheese can be instantly made at home, dolled up with fancy stuff like lobster at a restaurant, and even orbit astronauts' bellies in outer space. Sometimes the best mac & cheeses are the plain and simple ones, but there's certainly nothing wrong with stirring the pot every now and again with something new and perhaps improved.

Not sure why it took Stouffer's so long to spice up its macaroni and cheese, but instead of questioning the company, let's thank them for its Ultimate Spicy Nacho Mac. "Ultimate" may be a bit too strong of an adjective to describe this new entrée, but we guess "Really Super Solid Spicy Nacho Mac" was just too long to print on a box. With just the right level of spice, this creamy mac and cheese is sure to be a well-seasoned crowd-pleaser ... although perhaps not so much for those who are actually really young, but for those who are young at heart.