Since its release in 2011, more than 200 million copies of Minecraft have sold, and its continued popularity on YouTube and the new Minecraft: Education Edition will only add to that record-breaking number. Despite the high number of popular Minecraft clones, youngsters and veteran gamers alike keep coming back to the original, in part because of how easy it is to find Minecraft mods that add a fresh spin on a classic experience.
We’ve sifted through heaps of weird and silly mods to find the best UI improvements, visual filters, new gameplay mechanics, and cool ideas that will keep Minecraft from becoming stale. Some of our favorite CurseForge mods of the past no longer work with the 1.16 Nether Update, so we’re keeping our list updated with mods that you can still enjoy with the latest version of the game.
If you need help implementing the aforementioned mods, we’ve also put together a guide on how to properly install Minecraft mods, so you can spend less time scouring forums and more time schlepping blocks to the outer regions of Mars.
Everyone is a bit of a hoarder in Minecraft, and Applied Energistics makes it easier than ever to become one. The ultra-convenient mod stores all of your items by turning them into energy, which is then stored on hard drives in your base. All of your items are wirelessly accessible from anywhere in your base, and the storage capabilities are virtually endless.
Just Enough Items
Minecraft’s endless list of materials makes it difficult to remember why you need any of them. Just Enough Items enables you to hover over any item and check its uses or recipes, adding icons into the empty space right of the menu. Based on the now-defunct Not Enough Items mod, JEI includes the same text-based search bar to find any recipe and see what materials you have or still need. Also, check out the Just Enough Resources add-on for cool new additions like dungeon loot.
Should you wish to attempt your own Minecraft modding, either for a custom server or your own modpack, CraftTweaker offers an excellent starting point. With it, you can alter properties in-game, such as swap recipe components or change what an item does — for example, make all food less effective for a survival-themed server where you must fight off starvation. You can even add your own new custom blocks and items. It requires scripting knowledge, so get ready to study its wiki.
Ever forget your map at home, then go so far exploring that you can’t find where you left your home and the resources you spent dozens of hours collecting? Believe us, it’s incredibly frustrating, and this mod will prevent it from ever happening again. Craft waystones, place them around your world, then use a Warp Scroll or Warp Stone to return to where you’ve been. Or, in case you die and lose your stuff, simply add a button to your inventory that warps you anywhere, without an item.
If you want to remove any mystery and always know where you are, who else is around you, and what you’ll find in any given direction, you’ll need a map or compass in your UI. Since the superb Journeymap is stuck in 1.15, consider VoxelMap, which gives you a mini-map or full-screen map that displays everywhere you’ve explored, mirrored to look like whatever weird biomes and resource packs you’ve downloaded. You’ll also see icons of NPCs and waypoints to which you can teleport.
Compasses that only point north are so basic. This modded compass will point toward any nearby biome you wish to visit. You right-click the compass in your inventory to open a menu of nearby environments, then select one to have a heading for your next quest. The Nature’s Compass mod can also detect modded biomes (which we’ll reference below), so you can seek out the weird and wacky worlds you just downloaded.
Once you’ve installed a bunch of mods, it can be hard to manage all the extra features — and keep track of how to use them. The Controlling mod is a straightforward addition to Minecraft that lets the user pull up a search bar to find actions and the key they are mapped to. Controlling keeps the game organized and is essential for anyone using dozens of mods.
Expand your world …
Biomes O’ Plenty
Minecraft’s biomes can be fairly uniform and can become somewhat monotonous after spending hundreds of hours in the same forests, islands, and caves. Biomes O’ Plenty adds new environments and climates, from alps and volcanoes (above), to new forest types, groves, and tropics at ground level and crystalline chasms below. With new plants and blocks everywhere you go, your world will feel more like a world than ever before.
Pam’s HarvestCraft 2
Make sure your avatar eats all of its food groups, with this awesome series of mods adding around 50 fruit and nut trees, 75 crops, 120 foods to cook or make, and new tools like a skillet, juicer, bakeware, and more. Crops and trees spawn to spawn in specific biomes, rewarding you for exploring with new ingredients for fun recipes. Currently, only the Food Core mod works with 1.16, but these mods are regularly updated, and we expect the others to be overhauled soon.
An unthemed collection of small improvements, Quark adds creatures and tools that, once you see them, you’ll wonder why Mojang hasn’t already added them. Our personal faves of the 120-plus new features? The throwable pickarang that breaks blocks and returns with materials; skittish stoneling fairies that spawn underground, can be tamed, and love when you feed them rocks; inventory sorting by categories; beautiful new brick types; and hidden, underground mega-dungeons.
Base-game fishing is purely functional and fairly limited: You can only catch four types of fish, as well as some items, and the rod cannot be customized. Aquaculture 2 adds more than 30 new fish found in different biomes, lets you customize your line and tackle, includes craftable hooks and bait for better catching chances, lets you cook your fish into fillets, and even adds special Neptunian armor. Try to catch ’em all!
Worley’s Caves/YUNG’s Better Caves
Most mods tend to customize biomes on the surface, but these two mods put great effort into giving the underground more character, so you spend less time mining just to find an open space. Worley’s Caves turns the underground into a customizable, endlessly generating maze of rooms, with mobs ready to jump out from every corner. YUNG’s Better Caves focuses more on different types of customizable environments, from poison lakes to flooded caverns, making each new area a treat to discover.
The Endergetic Expansion
Taking a portal to the End isn’t a field trip; you’re there to fight off mobs and take on the Ender dragon, after which there isn’t much to see or do that’ll compel you to return. This new expansion changes that, adding new biomes, critters to tame, food, blocks, and even bosses.
Simply Jetpacks 2
For a world as expansive as Minecraft, it only makes sense to use something as cool and efficient as a jetpack. Beyond the straightforward joy of soaring around without having to use Creative mode, the mod allows you to build different types of jetpacks with varying max speeds and armor ratings. Or, you can build a Fluxpack, chestplate armor that protects you and charges modded objects in your inventory that run off of Forge Energy.
Advanced Hook Launchers
If flying everywhere feels a bit broken, these grappling hooks will make traversing the world easier, but not too easy — and even add new combat mechanics. Craft a sticky web hook for climbing up or rappelling down tall structures, a pudge hook to snag enemies in multiplayer, or a spear hook that works for climbing but mainly serves as a powerful weapon for flying creatures like dragons.
… Or explore custom worlds
It’s time to evolve Minecraft out of traditional mining and metalwork into the industrial age. Mekanism is a collection of mods, with the base version adding power networks, solar generators, atomic disassemblers, fusion reactors, a robot companion, and too many other machines and factories to mention. The three side mods add other useful tools like generators and unique armor. Altogether, Mekanism gives you tools to build cities.
Will you sharpen your stakes and take on the scourge of vampirism in Minecraft, or will you join their ranks and feed on your neighbors? This comprehensive mod adds RPG-style skills for vampires and hunters, vampiric rituals for leveling up, coffins and blood storage for your vampire lair, village biomes full of NPCs to protect or feed upon, vampire barons with mobs of baddies to fight, and a castle that may belong to Dracula himself.
Botania is a natural magic tech mod built to sync naturally into what Minecraft modders call the “vanilla” game. You’ll discover 16 Mystical Flower breeds throughout the world, which can be used to generate Mana, which in turn can be used to create more powerful flora. Your goal is to harness the power of your flowers for automated magical generators that produce materials, and all of this is done by building in-world rather than using a custom UI.