The 15 Best Minecraft Mods

Minecraft Screenshopt

 Mojang

Minecraft works just fine right out of the box, but tweaking and extending the game with mods can radically change the experience. Some mods are great for brand new players and seasoned veterans alike, while others are aimed squarely at breathing new life into the game after you have already seen everything that the basic game has to offer.

Whether you're brand new to Minecraft, or you're just new to modding, we've put together a list of the 15 best Minecraft mods that improve graphics or performance, add useful functionality, and open up brand new worlds to explore.

These mods work regardless of the platform you're using, so you can safely grab them whether you're playing on Windows, OS X/mac OS, or Linux. However, they only work with Minecraft: Java Edition. If you're playing a version of the game like Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition, or any console or mobile version, you have to buy skins, modpacks, and other content from the in-game store.

Important

Installing Minecraft mods is pretty easy, but mods aren't always compatible with each other, and individual mods aren't always compatible with the latest version of the game. If you want a seamless mod experience, consider checking out a curated Minecraft modpack like Regrowth or All The Mods, or a custom launcher like Feed the Beast or Technic.

OptiFine: Better Performance and Graphics

optifine minecraft mod
Pixabay / CC0

What We Like

  • Improves the overall experience and look of Minecraft.

  • Ability to tune your computer's performance by adjusting features and settings.

What We Don't Like

  • Wealth of features and settings may be overwhelming at first.

What It Does

OptiFine is a behind-the-scenes mod that improves and optimizes the graphics of Minecraft so that the game runs as smoothly, and looks as great, as it possibly can on your computer.

This is the best mod to grab, and the first one you should download, if you care about visuals and smooth gameplay.

Journeymap: Awesome Automatic Maps

journemap screenshot

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • A great mod of explorers.

  • Improves on the basic mapping included with Minecraft.

What We Don't Like

  • Nothing we didn't like about this mod.

What It Does
Journeymap implements a beautiful world map that is generated automatically as you play. It includes a minimap that shows up in the upper right corner of the screen while you're playing, but you can also open up a full-screen map to view the entire world that you have explored up to that point.

Since the built-in mapping feature that Minecraft includes by default is so basic and requires you to craft a bunch of stuff, Journeymap is a must-have mod for anyone who likes to explore.

Chest Transporter: Essential Utility for Packrats

Minecraft screenshot

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Greatly simplifies the act of moving a chest.

What We Don't Like

  • Carrying a chest causes you to move and dig more slowly, and affects jumping.

What It Does
Chest Transporter is a mod that lets you pick up and move chests, even if they're full of items. This is pretty basic in comparison to a lot of the other mods on this list, but it's also tremendously useful.

Without the help of a mod, moving a chest even one block in any direction is a tedious, multi-step process that looks something like:

  1. Remove everything from the chest.
  2. Place everything in a different chest or drop it on the floor.
  3. Destroy the empty chest.
  4. Pick up the empty chest.
  5. Place the chest in its new location.
  6. Pick up the previous contents of the chest and put everything back inside.

With this mod, you can collapse all of that down to the two-step process of picking up the chest and then placing it wherever you want it.

Just Enough Items: Vital Crafting Information

minecraft mod screenshot

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Saves you randomly experimenting or searching the internet for recipes.

  • More easily locate and place items.

What We Don't Like

  • Some may feel it eliminates the fun of experimenting to discover recipes.

What It Does
Just Enough Items allows you to immediately pull up some vital information about any crafting material or crafted item in the game. With this mod, you can instantly find out how to craft anything you see or find out what can be crafted out of anything you see.

The biggest benefit of this mod is that you no longer have to experiment with random combinations, or search the internet, to figure out how to craft anything. However, it's also useful in creative mode, since it makes it easier to locate and place new items in the world.

Here's What You're Looking At: Easy Information Access

Minecraft mod screenshot
Easily see exactly what you're looking at and pull up vital information without entering submenus.

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Can reveal contents of containers.

  • Pairs well with Just Enough Items mod.

What We Don't Like

  • No downsides we've found for this mod.

What It Does
Here's What You're Looking At is another mod that pulls out some vital information and sticks it front and center. This mod allows you to look at anything in the game, including blocks, crafted items, and even creatures, and instantly see what it's called.

In addition to the name of the item, the mod can also show information like the contents of a chest, the progress of items being processed in a furnace, and more.

If you have Just Enough Items installed, this mod also allows you to look up recipes by looking at items and blocks.

Minecraft Comes Alive: No More Boring Villages

minecraft screenshot

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Marry and start a family with a villager.

  • More variety for villagers.

  • Dialogue and new interactions.

What We Don't Like

  • A complex mod that can conflict with other mods.

  • Antivirus software may flag the download as dangerous.

  • Hasn't been updated in a while.

What It Does
Minecraft Comes Alive is a mod that overhauls villagers, replacing them with a huge mixture of NPCs that you can interact with in a variety of ways.

The basic functionality of Minecraft villagers is retained, in that you can still trade with them. However, there are additional dialog options and a complex relationship system that even allows you to marry a villager and have your very own Minecraft baby.

If you're getting tired of the droves of identical villagers you run into in game after game, this is a great mod to install.

Chisel: Essential Aesthetics for Builders

chisel minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Great mod for those who like building.

  • Adds the chisel tool via crafting.

What We Don't Like

  • Not much to dislike with this mod.

What It Does
This is a must-have mod for dedicated builders, but it's equally useful if you're new to the game and just want more customization options.

The mod adds a ton of new blocks and patterns, but it also allows you to craft a chisel that lets you change the appearance of blocks by smacking them.

Pam's HarvestCraft: Better Farming and Food Variety

pam's harvestcraft minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Beekeeping introduces fun new options.

  • Adds more than a thousand new food items.

What We Don't Like

  • Beyond the inevitable bug or two, there's nothing to dislike here.

What It Does
Pam's HarvestCraft adds a ton of food and farming options, which makes it the perfect mod to grab if you're bored of pork chops and watermelon slices.

In addition to new foods and plants, the mod also includes a beekeeping system, which adds even more new gameplay.

Biomes O'Plenty: Exciting New Biomes

biomes o'plenty minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Adds dozens of new biomes.

  • Allows you to create a more diverse world.

What We Don't Like

  • Existing worlds will need special treatment when adding this mod.

What It Does
Biomes O' Plenty adds a ton of brand new biomes when generating a new world.

This mod was introduced when Minecraft only included a handful of default biomes, but it's still good if you're tired of the standard biomes or just want to generate a world with a whole lot more diversity.

This mod retains all of the default biomes, but it adds dozens more, including a mystic grove populated by pixies.

The Lost Cities: Generate Fantastic Worlds

lost cities minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Add a post-apocalyptic flavor to Minecraft.

  • Can be added as a dimension you travel to from your world.

What We Don't Like

  • Only usable on the server-side.

What It Does
The Lost Cities is a mod that lets you create a world populated by hauntingly crumbling cities.

This is a great mod to grab if you're getting tired of the same old Minecraft biomes, or you just want a different type of survival experience.

Aroma1997's Dimensional World: New Dimension for Mining

aroma1997's dimension world minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Strip mine without marring the Overworld.

  • Flexible and configurable.

What We Don't Like

  • Only one biome.

  • No structures.

What It Does
This mod adds a brand new dimension to Minecraft, literally, in the form of a flat expanse made just for mining. If you're a serious builder working in survival mode, and you don't want to ugly up your world with massive strip mines, you absolutely need to grab this mod.

The way Aroma1997's Dimensional World works is that you craft a portal, similar to a Nether portal, out of a new kind of brick that the mod introduces. Activate the portal with a tool that the mod also introduces, and you're whisked away to a specialized mining dimension.

Draconic Evolution: Endgame Gear and Progression

draconic evolution minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • More to do for seasoned players.

  • Powerful new items and new boss.

What We Don't Like

  • Some features not yet implemented.

What It Does
Draconic Evolution adds some much-needed endgame progression and gear for players who have already plumbed the depths of the Nether, ventured to the End, knocked out the Wither and the Ender Dragon, and come up wondering what to do next.

This mod adds a ton of new gear, items, blocks, and a boss that can even kill you in creative mode.

The Twilight Forest: Fun and Expansive New Dimension

the twilight forest minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Adds a new experience in a new dimension.

  • Challenging dungeons and bosses.

  • New content available when combined with other mods, like Chisel.

What We Don't Like

  • Best for advanced players.

What It Does
The Twilight Forest adds a new dimension filled with a ton of new blocks, items, creatures, and a progression system. If you're looking for a fresh, new Minecraft experience set in a brand new world, this is a great mod to grab.

Since The Twilight Forest is set in a separate dimension that you access by jumping into an enchanted pool, you can run it alongside a lot of other mods without disturbing anything.

Advanced Rocketry: Adventure and Exploration in Space

advanced rocketry minecraft mod

Jeremy Laukkonen

What We Like

  • Explore moons and planets.

  • Build rockets, space ships, and space stations.

What We Don't Like

  • Best for experienced players.

  • Requires Libvulpes mod to run.

What It Does
Advanced Rocketry is another mod aimed at seasoned players who have already seen everything that Minecraft has to offer. Instead of adding a new dimension, it offers up a deep new crafting system that allows you to build and launch rockets.

The progression doesn't end there, though. Once you've launched a rocket, you can also build space stations and even explore new worlds.

To use Advanced Rocketry, you will also need the Libvulpes mod.

ViveCraft: Minecraft in Virtual Reality

vivecraft minecraft mod
Pixabay / CC0

What We Like

  • Better implementation of VR for Minecraft than Windows 10 edition.

  • Works with VR headsets compatible with SteamVR.

  • Installation is simple.

What We Don't Like

  • Keyboard and mouse control option is awkward and less enjoyable.

  • Using tools with physical motions, such as bashing, can be tiring; button press option is easier.

What It Does
ViveCraft adds virtual reality (VR) support to the Java version of Minecraft, which allows you to play the game with an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or any other compatible VR headset.

While the Windows 10 Edition of Minecraft includes built-in VR support, the Java Edition doesn't support VR natively. ViveCraft adds that functionality, and it actually does a better job than the official implementation in the Windows 10 Edition.

If you've ever wanted to play Minecraft in roomscale VR, and physically walk around inside your creations, then this is one mod that you absolutely have to check out.