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Mountain House Macaroni & Cheese

rated 2.0 of 5 stars
photo: Mountain House Macaroni & Cheese vegetarian entrée

Utterly awful. Nothing redeeming about this.


  • None.


  • Tastes nothing like cheese, just artificial butter flavor and vegetable oil.
  • Package directions result in soup, not sauce.

I knew going into this that the MH Mac & Cheese was widely reviled, but since I snagged four MH meals from Amazon for a grand total of $20, and since this was in the bundle, I figured I'd try it, first, just to be certain. I regret having done so.

There's just nothing positive I can say about this product. It is horrible. 0/10 would recommend avoiding it entirely, unless you are literally on the verge of starvation. I was hoping that it might be salvageable in some way, but really, there's nothing you could add to this that would redeem it. It tastes like ungelatinized starch, artificial butter flavoring, and vegetable oil. It manages to somehow not really even taste salty.

Mountain House Macaroni and Cheese is so comically bad, that's it's hard to put into words. It is as if you were able to distill the concepts of shattered dreams, broken promises, eternal regret, disappointment, and abject melancholy, freeze-dry them, and put them in a bag with yellow food coloring, uncooked flour, and artificial butter flavor. It's as if you asked an "AI" to make you macaroni and cheese.

Cheese powder is not a product which it is easy to get wrong. Millions of boxes of generic supermarket brand macaroni and cheese are sold each year, for less than $1, with a cheese powder packet that is passably good. Yet, somehow, Mountain House has managed to create a product that tastes nothing like cheese, whatsoever. In fact, it managed to taste like almost nothing at all, except starch and artificial butter flavoring with an unpleasantly oily finish.

I made myself a rehydration cozy out of three Amazon bubble mailers, and added the requisite amount of boiling water, and followed the package directions. At 10 minutes, the pasta was still not rehydrated. Nor was it at 15 minutes. At 20 minutes, it was almost rehydrated, but thanks to my cozy, still a bit too uncomfortably hot to eat, so I re-closed the bag and let it sit to the 33 minute mark. I intended 30 minutes, but got distracted. The extra time didn't hurt, but neither did it improve the product to any notable extent. The 325 mL of water specified, which I carefully weighed by mass to 325 grams, is clearly far too much for the amount of cheese sauce powder in the bag.

There are people out there who have given this product positive reviews, and I can't understand how. I was not expecting a gourmet meal out of this, but even sub-$1 generic supermarket mac & cheese is an order of magnitude better than this. How MH managed to make a product that has no flavor and normally costs 10 times the price of supermarket mac & cheese that has reasonably good flavor and consistency is beyond the scope of my understanding.


The last time I tried a freeze-dried backpacking meal was longer ago than I can remember. In my middle age, with chronic injuries, I can no longer afford to carry fresher foods into the backcountry, and need in the future to rely on freeze-dried meals whenever I can, to lighten my load. I have just recently bought 6 such meals to test out at home, before having no other alternatives in the woods.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $5 USD

Probably the worst freeze dried meal this side of eggs that I can remember having.


  • cook in pouch


  • taste

I was planning a camping trip with my son and as part of that I let him pick out a few freeze dried meals. I wanted to try the chili-mac but my son has periodic mouth issues that make him shy away from anything that might be spicy. Fortunately, at least for him, this meal isn't spicy or tasty or flavorful.

The advantage to Mountain House meals is that it comes in a foil pouch that can be resealed so the meal can be cooked in the pouch.  The pouch is food storage bag, then the cooking pot and finally the garbage bag.  This is why I like these meals just add boiling water, no need to waste fuel simmering, and let sit.

What I didn't like was the flavor.  The macaroni still had a bit of unrehydrated crunch even after waiting more than the recommended ten minutes.  The "cheese"  sauce had no flavor, was thin and watery,  I'm sure its only function was to remind the eater that they were having mac-n-cheese and not just mac.

As with most of these meals even though they say dinner for two you need to serve them with something more.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $7

Avoid this meal unless you are looking for bland soup-like mac & cheese.


  • Lightweight
  • Easy to prepare and clean up


  • Bland taste
  • Directions require too much water

Recently went on a four-day camping trip with my son, nephews, and brother. Typically my brother and I bring fresh food for our meals. However, since we had some picky eaters we decided to let the boys pick out their own meals. I knew from prior experience that these are really only enough for one person so each person had their own meal.

I chose this meal for one of my dinners. First off, it is extremely easy to prepare, just boil water and pour in the bag, wait the allotted time. However, even after waiting a few minutes longer than directed, I found the macaroni to be under cooked and even with the recommended stirring, the cheese lumpy and not evenly distributed.

The flavor was bland, definitely bring along spices and/or hot sauce to add. Also, use less water than directed, as this meal will be more of a mac & cheese soup than a pasta dish if you use the recommended amount.

Better yet, avoid this altogether.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $11

Lousy. Skip this one.


  • Lightweight
  • No simmer time


  • Zero taste
  • Expensive
  • Poor rehydration
  • Runny

Bland and boring. Not much cheesy taste, and nothing much of anything else.

Cooking was easy, like any boil-in-a-bag, but even with leaving it for many extra minutes, it still didn't cook properly.

We followed the directions carefully, but the macaroni stayed stiff and didn't expand very much. The sauce was runny, and in spite of everybody being hungry, there was still half a package left after supper.

You're better off with a box of Kraft Dinner. That's better tasting, and although you'll need more fuel to cook it, you'll be a lot happier with the result. And the cost is 1/10th that of the Mountain House brand.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $6.50

These freeze-dried meals are the best of their kind that I have EVER tasted. They are lightweight to transport, made from quality ingredients and easy to make. We just had to boil the water needed, pour it into the bag and wait for a few minutes. The macaroni and cheese tasted great; I would just make sure that you bring the water filter needed to have the water for the food.

Editor's Note: The reviewer represents an online retailer that carries this product and brand.

Price Paid: $6.50

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Price MSRP: $6.99
Current Retail: $8.50-$10.25
Historic Range: $4.94-$38.40
Reviewers Paid: $6.50-$11.00
Weight 0.61 lb
Servings 3
Serving Size 1 cup
Product Details from Mountain House »

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