The 11 best Minecraft mods for beginners and hardcore players
  • There are thousands of Minecraft mods you can use to completely transform your game.
  • Some Minecraft mods add new items, while others can add entirely new worlds and dimensions to explore.
  • Here are eleven of our favorite mods for Minecraft, and a quick guide on how to install them.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Minecraft might have more mods than any other game on the market. In the decade since its release, fans have built and released thousands of mods, each of which changes the game in new ways. They let you unlock unique items, make the menus easier to navigate, expand the world, and more.

But with so many mods out there, just getting started can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a list of our favorite Minecraft mods. These mods range from useful to fun, and are great for players new to the modding scene.

Here are eleven great Minecraft mods to try out.

How to install Minecraft mods

All mods come in a .jar file. To install your mods, just head to the folder that Minecraft is installed in on your computer, open the mods folder, and put the .jar files in there. Make sure that you’ve installed Minecraft Forge already, or that mods folder won’t appear.

If you’re having trouble finding your mods folder, start Minecraft, click Mods on the main menu, and then select Open mods folder. It’ll jump straight to the folder on your computer.

And if you install a mod and it doesn’t work — usually Forge will tell you before it opens if a mod is broken — don’t panic. Delete and then re-download the mod file, then try again. If that doesn’t work, make sure that the mod file is designed for the same version of Minecraft that you’re running.

If the mod still doesn’t work, there might be a conflict with another mod you’re running. Experiment with different combinations to see what happens.

For more information on how to install mods, check out our dedicated article on the topic.

OptiFine

Probably the most popular mod ever released, OptiFine completely overhauls Minecraft’s graphics and gives you more control over how the game looks.

If you have a fast computer, OptiFine can turn Minecraft into one of the most beautiful games you’ve ever played. And if your computer can barely open the game, it’ll let you turn down the game’s graphics too.

minecraft optifine shaders

OptiFine shaders can transform the look of your game.

Mojang; Emma Witman/Insider


It also comes with a few other perks, like the ability to add shader packs, and the famous “OptiFine


Zoom

” feature.

OptiFine is different from other mods in how you install it, but it’s not too complicated. Check out our guide on how to install and use OptiFine for more details.

Just Enough Items

Just Enough Items (or JEI) introduces new menus that will show you the crafting recipes for nearly any item in the game. Just open your inventory, and you’ll see icons representing every item on the right side of the screen.

Click any of the items to see its recipe, or right-click it to see how it can be used to craft other items. There’s also a search bar at the bottom that you can use to sort through the list.

And if there’s a specific item in your inventory that you want to know more about, hover your mouse over it and press R or U to see its recipe or uses, respectively.

Biomes O’ Plenty

When exploring your Minecraft world, have you ever gotten bored by how so much of it looks the same? That’s a problem that Biomes O’ Plenty is here to solve.

Biomes O’ Plenty adds over 50 new biomes to your Minecraft world, including redwood forests, sprawling flower gardens, and more. It also comes with a wealth of new plants, building blocks, and even songs. 

A screenshot from Minecraft, showing a redwood forest and lavender garden growing next to each other with the Biomes O' Plenty mod.

A redwood forest and lavender garden growing next to each other with the Biomes O’ Plenty mod.

Mojang; William Antonelli/Insider


These custom biomes are spread out across the Overworld, The Nether, and The End, so you’ll always have somewhere new to explore.

Traveler’s Backpack

As you travel through your new biomes, you’ll need a place to store your items. Luckily, the Traveler’s Backpack mod more than doubles your inventory space, and even includes two tanks for holding liquid. The bottom-right corner of the backpack also doubles as a portable crafting table, letting you craft on the go.

The Traveler's Backback in Minecraft.

The Traveler’s Backpack comes with slots for tools, liquid, items, and crafting.

Mojang; William Antonelli/Insider


You can hold the backpack in one of your quick switch slots, or wear it on your back and open it by pressing B. There are 23 different styles to choose from — some harder to craft than others — so take your pick.

The backpack’s one downside is that it can be confusing to learn how to use all of its features. Check out the official mod page for instructions and tips.

Lucky Blocks

If you watch a lot of Minecraft videos on YouTube, you’ve probably heard of Lucky Blocks before.

Lucky Blocks are simple blocks that, when broken, will spawn a random item, enemy, NPC, or structure. One Lucky Block might give you a stack of diamonds — another might trap you in a cage filled with lava. You won’t know until you break it.

You can craft Lucky Blocks yourself by surrounding a dropper with gold ingots, or you can find them spawned randomly across the world, sometimes inside grand quartz monuments.

They’re fun to gamble with, but be careful — you might not like the result.

Three Lucky Blocks in Minecraft, and the results that came from them.

Here, breaking three Lucky Blocks spawned a massive zombie, a horde of chickens, and a set of golden armor.

Mojang; William Antonelli/Insider


The Twilight Forest

Another world-changing mod, The Twilight Forest adds an entirely new dimension to the game that you can travel to and explore. Build a frame out of dirt, grow flowers on top, fill the center with water, and then throw a diamond into the water to make a portal.

Once inside, you’ll find a world where it’s always nighttime, trees grow like skyscrapers, and dangerous new creatures roam the land. The mod comes with new items, boss battles, and dungeons.

AppleSkin

Do you consider Survival or Hardcore mode the true way to play Minecraft? If so, check out AppleSkin, a mod that makes managing your hunger levels much easier. 

With AppleSkin installed, you can hover over any piece of food in your inventory to quickly see how much hunger it’ll restore when you eat it. And while you’re holding a piece of food, your hunger and health meters will flash to show how much the food will heal you.

An inventory in Minecraft. A Raw Mutton is highlighted, and its food values are shown with the AppleSkin mod.

AppleSkin shows you a food item’s hunger and saturation values.

Mojang; William Antonelli/Insider


AppleSkin will also reveal your character’s “saturation” and “exhaustion,” two stats that are usually invisible. These determine how fast your hunger depletes, and are important to keep track of while adventuring.

Companion

There are few things more tragic in Minecraft than befriending a cute new pet — only for that pet to get shot down by a rogue skeleton.

The Companion mod introduces new features that’ll help keep your pets safe, even in the midst of battle. For example, your pets will now automatically follow you through portals, instead of you having to manually push them inside. And if your pets are hurt, they’ll teleport to you and avoid starting new fights with enemies.

Xaero’s Maps

When you start a new Minecraft world, there’s no way to tell what’s around you except by exploring. Xaero96’s map mods make these first few scouting trips a lot less stressful.

First, Xaero’s Minimap adds a small map to the top-left corner of your screen. This map shows terrain, elevation, nearby enemies and items — everything you need to know about the area. Best of all, you don’t need to fill it in yourself. It’ll start fully featured, no matter how new or weird your world is.

And if you want even more information, check out Xaero’s World Map too. Press M while playing to bring up a massive map of the entire world, which you can scroll through at your pleasure. Right-click on any revealed spot to see its exact coordinates and teleport there. Unlike the minimap though, you’ll need to explore to fill this map out.

The world map in Minecraft, made with the Xaero's World Map mod.

Right-click the map to bring up some options.

Mojang; William Antonelli/Insider


You don’t need to pick between one or the other. Install both mods and run them together to become the Minecraft world’s greatest explorer.

Each mod has more features, too. Check out their information pages for more details.

This is probably the simplest mod on the list, but also one of the most useful. Mod Name Tooltip keeps track of which new items come from which mods, and will tell you whenever you hover your mouse over them.

If you’re running a lot of mods, Mod Name Tooltip is a must-have. It’ll let you sort out where all your items come from, so you know which mods you like and what items you’ll lose when you uninstall them.

William Antonelli

Editor & Staff Writer for Tech Reference

William Antonelli is a writer, editor, and organizer based in New York City. As a founding member of the Reference team, he’s helped grow Tech Reference from humble beginnings into a juggernaut that attracts over 20 million visits a month.
Outside of Insider, his writing has appeared in publications like Polygon, The Outline, Kotaku, and more. He’s also a go-to source for tech analysis on channels like Newsy, Cheddar, and NewsNation.
You can find him on Twitter @DubsRewatcher, or reach him by email at wantonelli@insider.com.


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