The 35 best Minecraft mods

Welcome to our roundup of the best Minecraft mods. Mods are your gateway to getting the most out of Minecraft. It could be simple things like improving the lighting or getting a few extra frames, all the way to stunning new worlds and new ways to play. But be warned, not all mods are compatible with the latest version of Minecraft, and some require the installation of legacy versions of Forge to run. Thankfully, installing older mods isn’t all that hard. Most mods come with instructions, but if they don’t, we’ve got a mini-guide to get you up and running. 

These mods are all brilliant on their own, of course, but it's worth noting that they might conflict with each other a bit if you try and install several at once. If you do struggle with that or other issues, consider trying a preconfigured modpack out instead—the launchers provided by Feed the Beast and the Technic Platform are one of the easiest ways to quickly and cleanly get playing modded Minecraft.

Now, without further ado, let's get started.

Millénaire 

[1.7.10]

How many times have you explored a new area only to be met with nothing but vast emptiness? The Millénaire mod fixes that by introducing a wealth of new content into spaces where there’d usually be nothing. Villagers are replaced by human men, women, and children, instead of the bog-standard villager. Even villages have had a makeover to incorporate 11th-century Norman, North Indian and Mayan themes. Grab it here

Fossil and Archaeology revival mod

[1.17.10]

If there’s one thing missing from Minecraft it’s dinosaurs. Who doesn’t want to ditch creepers in favour of riding around on a T-Rex? Not only is there a massive amount of dinosaurs to spawn in creative, but in survival, the player can hunt down fossils and bring these forgotten beasts back to life. As well as a texture overhaul, there’s also a new mob boss in the Anu for those looking to put their prehistoric skills to the test. Grab it here

Instant Massive Structures

[1.8.8, 1.8, 1.8.1, 1.9, 1.7.10]

Okay, okay, so this one may be cheating. We’ve all seen monstrous builds online which make our 5x5 dirt house pail in comparison. But what happens if you want to turn the tables? What happens if you want an enormous city in a matter of seconds? That’s where the Instant Structures mod comes in. Simply cycle through the creative menu, drop a block, right click it, and a building will magically spawn. Structures range from castles, to houses, all the way to tram stations. Yeah, sure, it’s technically cheating, but we won’t tell anyone. Grab it here

The Lost Cities

[1.10, 1.11, 1.12]

Something has ended life as we know it. Buildings are in disrepair, and everyone has vanished, or so it seems. The Lost Cities, as the foreboding name suggests, spawns you into a city forgotten by time. The goal? See how long you can survive this post-apocalyptic wasteland without succumbing to death. If you fancy taking the survival one step further, this mod also interlinks with the Biomes O Plenty mod, meaning you’ll have a lot of stunning new areas to explore alongside the empty cities. Grab it here

Biosphere

[1.7.10, 1.7.2]

Creating a biosphere, of decent size, takes around eight-hours, give or take. I know this because I spent eight-painstaking-hours making one. By the end, I wanted to chuck Minecraft into a nearby volcano. Making something spherical rather than a jagged diamond isn’t easy. Thankfully, the Biospheres mod removes all the annoying obstacles and spawns you into a world where the sky is overrun with various floating biomes. Just don’t fall off, yeah? Grab it here

The Aether

[1.7.3]

The Aether (pronounced “ee-ther”) is the opposite of the Nether. While the Nether is seen as Minecraft’s equivalent of hell, the Aether is a sort of heavenly realm. Once transported via a portal, you’ll find yourself above the clouds surrounded by gorgeous, newly-designed floating islands. There’s also new mobs, including flying cows and flying pigs, some new boss enemies, as well as new block types to play with and new-fangled loot to find. Grab it here

Optifine 

[1.8.1]

Minecraft doesn't scale too well to the power of fast or slow machines. It runs surprisingly poorly on low-end laptops, and a high-end rig can't do much with its extra oomph. Enter Optifine—a mod that not only makes Minecraft run faster but also look far better. It supports HD textures, smooth lighting, and more, and framerate doubling is not uncommon. It's one of the first things I usually add when installing Minecraft. Grab it here.

Twilight Forest

[1.7.10]

Twilightforest

Love adventuring? This mod adds a new, densely-forested dimension shrouded in perpetual twilight that hides both valuable treasures and dangerous monsters. Throw a diamond into a pool of water surrounded by flowers to create a portal there, then spend a while roaming around. You'll find hedge mazes, hollow hills, enchanted groves, glaciers, lich towers and more with rich rewards for those that delve the deepest. Grab it here.

Biomes O'Plenty

[1.7.10]

Biomesoplenty

Since the 'Update That Changed The World' in late 2013, there's been a bit more diversity in Minecraft worlds. But Biomes O'Plenty adds vastly more—75 to be exact—from brushland and coral reefs, through lavender fields and ominous woods, to tundra and wasteland. You'll need to create a new world to use it (make sure to select the 'Biomes O'Plenty' world generation option), but it's worth it to see corners of Minecraft that you've never seen before. Grab it here.

The Lost Cities

[1.10, 1.11, 1.12]

Something has ended life as we know it. Buildings are in disrepair, and everyone has vanished, or so it seems. The Lost Cities, as the foreboding name suggests, spawns you into a city forgotten by time. The goal? See how long you can survive this post-apocalyptic wasteland without succumbing to death. If you fancy taking the survival one step further, this mod also interlinks with the Biomes O Plenty mod, meaning you’ll have a lot of stunning new areas to explore alongside the empty cities. Grab it here

Biosphere

[1.7.10, 1.7.2]

Creating a biosphere, of decent size, takes around eight-hours, give or take. I know this because I spent eight-painstaking-hours making one. By the end, I wanted to chuck Minecraft into a nearby volcano. Making something spherical rather than a jagged diamond isn’t easy. Thankfully, the Biospheres mod removes all the annoying obstacles and spawns you into a world where the sky is overrun with various floating biomes. Just don’t fall off, yeah? Grab it here.

Botania

[1.7.10]

Botania

Some mods add powerful magical items. Others add intricate machinery. Botania just adds flowers—but wow, what flowers. Flowers that heal you. Flowers that feed animals. Flowers that turn hostile mobs against each other. Flowers that eat cake. Oh, and did I mention that you've can also use flowers to create a magical portal to a world of elves? If you want to try something wildly different from most other mods, Botania is it. Grab it here.

Inventory Tweaks, NotEnoughItems & Waila

[1.7.10]

Nei

This trio of mods are essential quality-of-life improvements, especially when you've got loads of mods installed at the same time. Inventory Tweaks allows you to sort your chests with a single click and automatically replace tools when they break. NotEnoughItems provides you with a searchable list of all the blocks available in the game, and the recipes for crafting them, and Waila lets you point your cursor at an unfamiliar blocks to find out what it is. Grab them here, here and here respectively.