Here’s a New Take on Mac & Cheese, Inspired by Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain's legacy lives on. It even inspired us to create this Korean take on classic American mac & cheese.

Anthony Bourdain changed the way people looked at and embraced food—even foods that might have made us run from in terror until he showed us the error of our ways. I’m devastated that he’s gone, but grateful for the gifts he left for us, including these brilliant quotes about life, travel and food, and most importantly, his wonderfully adventurous and joyous approach to cooking.

He Appreciated Simple Food

In the days before Bourdain’s death, I had been pitching my editor a story about his approach to everyday food and cooking. While he may have been most famous for eating exotic things, Bourdain was no food snob. He valued maximizing flavor above pretentious plating techniques. And he had a way of elevating the simplest of food to something special.

“I have an unholy and guilty attraction to fast-food macaroni and cheese,” he told the Reddit community. “I get these horrendous cravings for Popeye’s mac and cheese.” (Who knew? Popeye’s is one of our top 10 places to go for fried chicken!) Bourdain also had a great appreciation for food you could make anywhere, anytime and at minimal cost. That included ramen noodles, which he explained how to elevate to new heights in another Reddit thread. (It involved hot dogs, Spam, beans and kimchi, and is, as he said, “really delicious.”)

This gave me an idea….

Microwave Ramen & Cheese

When I first thought to marry ramen noodles to macaroni and cheese, I knew there were two ways to go about it. First, there’s the way we’re guessing Bourdain would have imagined it: based on a classic mac and cheese recipe, like one of these (our best). Then there’s the way time-pressed moms, homemakers and working stiffs (and sometimes all three being the same person) can conveniently make it happen: using a package of ramen noodles and a box of instant macaroni and cheese.

You’re free to try it the more work-intensive way, of course, but definitely give our “Microwave Ramen & Cheese” a try:


  • Instant ramen noodles
  • The cheese envelope from a box of macaroni and cheese
  • Milk and butter


Empty the contents of the cheese envelope into a large microwave-safe bowl, and stir in the milk and butter the envelope calls for. Pop in the microwave for two minutes, and stir again to make sure everything’s combined. Empty the ramen noodles into the bowl, wait two more minutes, and then stir as you would ramen in broth. Enjoy!

If you decide to use ramen noodles in one of our classic baked mac and cheese recipes, we recommend using non-instant kind of ramen noodles because the instant kind will get gummy when baking.

Thank you, Anthony Bourdain, for inspiring us to strange creativity in the kitchen.

Don’t miss 10 more ways to jazz up your boxed mac and cheese.

Recipes for Box Mac and Cheese
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Lauren Cahn
Lauren Cahn is a New York-based writer whose work has appeared regularly in The Huffington Post as well as a variety of other publications since 2008 on such topics as life and style, popular culture, law, religion, health, fitness, yoga, entertaining and entertainment. She is also a writer of crime fiction; her first full-length manuscript, The Trust Game, was short-listed for the 2017 CLUE Award for emerging talent in the genre of suspense fiction.