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The best Minecraft mods

best Minecraft mods
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Minecraft is a wonderfully open-ended game on its own, but mods are truly where the game shines. As one of the most popular games that has ever existed, there are a lot of great mods out there. It can be too much to parse through, so we've gathered a list of the best.

We've updated our list of mods for 2020 with the most current links and latest versions of the best Minecraft mods. We've organized them by the newest version of Minecraft they support, so you can begin picking mods that will all run on your preferred version. Many of these great mods are compatible with Minecraft 1.15, so that's a great category to start with!

Over the years, Minecraft modding has gotten equal parts simpler and more convoluted, depending on the route you choose. The Curse Forge platform (nowadays owned by Twitch) is still the simplest way to quickly and cleanly get playing modded Minecraft.

For doing all your mods a la carte, the many, many versions of Minecraft released over the years can make managing things difficult. Some of the best Minecraft mods of yore have stopped being updated, moved locations, or changed hands to new creators when the originals tire of the job. We've updated our list of favorites with links to their newest homes.

As with all mods, there's no guarantee that they're all compatible with the latest version of Minecraft. Some require the installation of legacy versions of Forge to get them running. Thankfully, installing older mods isn’t too difficult. Most mods come with instructions, but if they don’t, we’ve got a mini-guide to get you up and running. 

The best Minecraft mods

Utility Mods

Optifine 

Best of Minecraft

(Image credit: BSL Shaders)

Minecraft skins: The best new looks
Minecraft servers: Join new worlds
Minecraft commands: All cheats listed
Minecraft mods: Go beyond vanilla
Minecraft shaders: Let there be lighting
Minecraft seeds: Fresh new worlds
Minecraft texture packs: Transform the game's look

Minecraft version: 1.7.2 - 1.14.4 | Download link

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 we usually add when installing Minecraft.

Just Enough Items (JEI)

Minecraft version: 1.15.2 | Download link

Just Enough Items is the successor of the older NotEnoughItems mod that lets you search for materials in-game and see all of its recipes. This is another useful tool to have installed alongside any new modpacks you try, helping you learn the recipes for new items you're not yet familiar with.

Here's What You're Looking At (HWYLA)

Minecraft version 1.12.2 - 1.15.2| Download link

HWYLA is a fork from the old popular utility What Am I Looking At. WAILA is no longer being updated, so you'll want to go with HWYLA for the future. Among other things, it shows a tooltip with the name of the block or object your cursor is pointing at. It's a useful utility for exploring a new modpack if you're constantly scratching your head wondering what that block you've never seen before is.

1.15 Mods

Biomes O'Plenty

(Image credit: Forstride)

Minecraft version: 1.15.2 | Download link

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.

Engineer's Tools

(Image credit: mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.15.2 | Download Link

Engineer's Tools is a simple mod that makes mining above and under ground way more convenient. The mod's main feature is a craftable multitool that combines your pickaxe, wood axe, sheers, and shovel into a single item. You still need the individual tools to craft the multitool, so it's not so much a cheat as an inventory convenience. It also adds a coal chalk marker that you can use in caves to leave navigational waypoints or mark points of interest.

Botania

(Image credit: Vazkii)

Minecraft version: 1.15.2 | Download link

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.

The Lost Cities

(Image credit: McJty)

Minecraft version: 1.10 - 1.15 (beta) | Download Link

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.

Journeymap

Minecraft mod more lively map

Minecraft version: 1.15.2 (beta) | Download Link

Maps are great for trying to keep a rough idea of where you are or where you’re heading. That said, there’s always room for improvement.

Imagine Google Maps, only for Minecraft and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this mod does. Specifically, it lets folk view a more real-time map in-game, and on the mini-map, as well as being able to view the map online via a web browser. If you’re charting your next journey, and it’s going to take you far, far away from the sanctity of your home base, then this mod is a must. 

Instant Massive Structures

(Image credit: Mod by MaggiCraft, build by Alecdent)

Minecraft version: 1.7.10 - 1.15.1 | Download link

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.

Rope Bridge Mod

Minecraft version: 1.15 | Download link

You know what’s annoying? When you’re at the top of a mountain and see something interesting on an adjacent mountain. No one likes the feeling off having to trudge down a mountain only to clumsily stumble your way up another directly after. What this mod does is cut out the in between bits. Namely, point, click, and a rope bridge will magically appear to offer up a link between the two destinations. Yes, it’s for lazy people like us. Feel free to judge.

Iron Chests 2

Minecraft version 1.15.2 | Download link

More storage mods, but this time focused on the early-game. Iron Chests lets you upgrade wooden chests to hold more stuff. In the long run, you'll probably still want an Applied Energistics system, but this make the early part of the game so much more pleasant.

1.12 Mods

Millénaire 

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

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.

Fossils and Archeology Revival

(Image credit: Fossils and Archeology)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

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.

JurassiCraft

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

From the deep dark abyss of space to the glistening glory of Jeff Goldblum. The JurrassiCraft mod lets you create your very own prehistoric world by extracting DNA from fossils or amber you can find. It even includes some vehicles to help you make your way around. You can even bring back some prehistoric plants too. Just remember that life, uh, finds a way, and dinosaurs are much bigger than you and usually hungry.

Mystcraft

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Have you grown bored of your world but don't want to lose your progress? Conjure up a new dimension with Mystcraft. It lets you create 'Linking Books' that allow you to travel around the multiverse—with the contents of the book dictating the kind of worlds you'll discover. You might find a series of snow-covered floating islands, or an endless ocean with giant trees sprouting from the water. But be careful, some of the new dimensions could be unstable, falling apart around you.

Animal Bikes

(Image credit: Noppes_)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Making your way downtown in Minecraft isn’t always an enjoyable experience. While things are great once you’ve set up your own network of railways or rivers, it can often feel like a slog in new areas. Well, rather than lamenting this fact, why not speed up the experience with a whole slew of new animal bikes. This mod allows you to craft and ride a whole bunch of different beasts, all of which have special abilities. You can ride on animal hungry dinosaurs, volatile creepers, and even your very own fire-breathing ender dragon.

Natura

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Another great mod for spicing up world-generation is Natura. It adds a wide variety of new tree types, and therefore different-coloured woods to make your home more aesthetically pleasing. It also adds a few extra crops for early-game food and resource production, and makes the Nether a little more dangerous. Natura is a nice first step into Minecraft modding, because it sticks close to the themes of the regular game.

The Aether II

(Image credit: Gilded Games)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

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.

Thaumcraft

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Being a sorcerer is awesome, and the most awesome way to be a sorcerer in Minecraft is with Thaumcraft. It's a vast mod that revolves around drawing the magical essence out of physical objects in the Minecraft world and reshaping it into new forms. In the process, you'll create altars, wands, golems and fill dozens of jars of coloured goo. There's even a puzzle game you'll have to complete to research new spells.

Twilight Forest

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

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.

Forestry

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

If you like the agricultural aspects of Minecraft, you're going to love Forestry. It's a huge mod, which adds a bunch of new items, machines and blocks, but it's best known for its bees. You can become an apiarist, capturing wild bees and cross-breeding them using real genetic principles to create masses of different useful resources. If I were teaching biology, I'd be using this in the classroom.

Chameleon Creepers

Minecraft version: 1.12 | Download link

Creepers not giving you enough grief? We can fix that. The Chameleon Creepers mod makes it so when a creeper passes over a block type, it changes color in the hopes of stealthily blending in to its surroundings. In short, it makes creepers even more deadly so you won’t see them until they’re hissing down the back of your neck. Why you’d want to use this mod is anyone’s guess, but for the masochists out there, you’re welcome.

Chisel

(Image credit: tterrag1098)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Making your base pretty is an afterthought to some players, but to others it's a vital part of the game. Chisel provides loads of new texture options for many of the most common blocks in the game, giving you lots more decorative options. Even cobblestone blocks can almost look nice!

Pam's HarvestCraft

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Pam's HarvestCraft adds 58 new crops, 35 fruit trees, 12 bushes and 16 fish for you to track down, including—vegetarians rejoice—the ability to use tofu in place of meat for any recipe. It's a veritable culinary explosion, and your mouth will thank you.

Hunger Overhaul

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Feeling hungry? You will be after you install Hunger Overhaul. It makes hunger more of a challenge, rather than a mild annoyance, reducing the amount of hunger each food item refills.

The Spice of Life

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

The Spice of Life means that you get diminishing returns from eating the same foodstuffs over and over again. Pairs well with Pam's Harvestcraft and all the new foodstuffs it adds to help stave off hunger from the Hunger Overhaul. 

BiblioCraft

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Bibliocraft began as a way to store books in bookcases. but has expanded wildly since into a bunch of blocks and items that are both useful and aesthetically pleasing to have in your base. There are armour stands, potion shelves, cookie jars, clocks, lanterns, display cases, nifty multipart chairs, and even tables and tablecloths. Once you're done with Bibliocraft, your home base might actually start to look like a home.

Galacticraft

(Image credit: SteveKunG)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

With the recently revealed Picard looking so good, it seems like a good time to try and explore space, the final frontier. That’s just a small part of what this mod allows you to do. You can build your own space rocket, launch yourself into the starry sky, and then go on adventures from there. You can actually visit planets which have their own atmospheres and mobs, as well as building your very own space station. It’s stellar stuff.

Eyephone Mod

Minecraft version: 1.12 | Download link

Now you can have your friends call you up at stupid hours to spoil the latest Game of Thrones episode in-game. Hurray? And just like a regular phone, the EyePhone comes equipped with a selection of apps (with more unlockable via diamonds). The best feature, though, has to be the ability to email your friends to blow them up, because why not? Only downside is you’ll have to craft an in-game charger to keep the phone powered. It’s just like real life then?

Tinker's Construct

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Tools are the backbone of everything you do in Minecraft, and Tinker's Construct lets you make far better tools out of a much wider range of materials. They're upgradable, modular, and can be repaired if they break. Oh, and the mod also adds a smeltery to make high-end tools and increase ore processing efficiency.

Thermal Expansion

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Thermal Expansion focuses on power generation and storage, as well as adding a bunch of new metals that have become standard components of several other mods. Team CoFH has a whole stable of other mods based around Thermal Expansion, including Thermal Cultivation for putting all that power into a farming operation. 

RailCraft / Steve's Carts Reborn

(Image credit: Covert_Jaguar)

Minecraft version 1.12.2 | RailCraft / Steve's Carts Reborn

You can probably guess what these mods do. That's right—they both substantially upgrade the capabilities of Minecraft's minecarts. RailCraft adds a bunch of new types of track, including sophisticated redstone-controlled junctions and signals, while Steve's Carts pumps up the capabilities of the carts themselves—adding brakes, shields, drills and more. You can even make an attachment that launches fireworks.

EnderIO

Minecraft version 1.12.2 | Download link

Getting stuff to where it needs to be is often a problem in Minecraft. EnderIO solves that problem impressively elegantly, by adding compact conduits that carry fluid, items, power and redstone signals. It also has a few machines that enhance your ore processing capabilities, too. When your base starts getting complicated, EnderIO is one of the best ways to sort it out.

Applied Energistics 2

Minecraft version 1.12.2 | Download link

Storage can also become an issue when you start automating more and more aspects of Minecraft. Applied Energistics solves the problem by turning the matter in your chests into energy, which is then stored on disk drives, accessible wirelessly from anywhere in your base. You can even use it to autocraft anything you need by interfacing directly with your machines. If that sounds a bit magical, you wouldn't be wrong. It uses vast amounts of power, of course, but once properly configured you'll come to see wooden chests as hopelessly primitive relics of the past.

OpenBlocks

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

This family of mods are a grab bag of immensely useful utilities with no real theme running through them. OpenBlocks adds sleeping bags, hang gliders, elevators, gravestones, rope ladders and building guides.

PneumaticCraft: Repressurized

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

It's always refreshing seeing mods that try something a bit different. PneumatiCraft is a tech mod, but instead of power it uses air pressure. You'll need to build compression chambers, pipes and valves to make sure you balance the flow of air, and if you get things wrong an explosion is inevitable. If you get it right, though, the nifty gadgets that PneumatiCraft brings to the table, like air cannons and configurable helmets, are well worth the time investment.

Project Red

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Those of you that work frequently with redstone will know what a pain it can sometimes be. Project Red changes all that, bringing vastly improved control over what you're doing and allowing you to make your circuits much more compact. It also adds integrated logic gates, making task automation way easier. Worth having around if you ever might want to work with redstone.

Super Factory Manager

(Image credit: Mod by TeamDman, video by To Asgard)

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Download link

Another incredibly useful automation tool is Steve's Factory Manager, now being updated for current Minecraft versions as Super Factory Manager. Like ComputerCraft, it's a little on the fiddly side and requires a bit of knowledge of programming concepts to get going. Once you've got the hang of the drag-and-drop interface however, you'll be amazed by the possibilities. For automating a factory, there's no better solution.

Portal Blocks / Portal Gun

Minecraft version: 1.12.2 | Portal Blocks / Portal Gun

How do you fancy creating your own Aperture testing lab? Included in this modpack are a wealth of different Portal-themed blocks and, more importantly, a selection of Portal appliances, which includes floor buttons for dumping companion cubes onto, pedestal buttons, and indicator lights. So if you decide to create a nefarious puzzle challenge, all the tools you’ll need will be there from the off.

A quick note: For the full Portal experience, you’ll first need to grab iChun’s Portalgun modpack first. After that, you’re safe to install Raptor’s mod-extension.

1.8 Mods

ComputerCraft

Minecraft version: 1.8.9 - 1.12 (Alpha) | Download link

While we're learning biology, let's learn some programming too! ComputerCraft adds programmable computers and turtles into Minecraft, which you can write code to control. It's based on the easy-to-learn Lua programming language, and with it you can make passworded doors, private chatrooms, automated mining turtles, and even in-game videogames. The possibilities are endless.

LotsOMobs

(Image credit: TheLarsinator)

Minecraft version: 1.8 | Download link

From the days before vanilla Minecraft exploded with new animals, LotsOMobs added tons of its own. Rather than just adding a couple of animals here or there, it adds over forty new mobs, including creatures like bees, ants, mammoths, and even cavemen. On top of that, there are a few new items to spawn some of these mods, and even new portals to go through leading to new biomes.

Bacteria

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.8 | Download link

While there are plenty of mods that add in new functionality, there aren’t many that can accidentally destroy the world you’ve created for yourself. The Bacteria mod allows you to harvest special sponges from the world, and then train them to perform certain tasks. For example, you can place a bacteria down that consumes all of the dirt blocks it can reach. You have to be careful with this kind of power, and that’s what makes this mod so fascinating. Destroying the world on purpose is BDE, doing it by accident is simply very funny.

1.7 Mods

Biospheres

Minecraft version: 1.7.10 | Download link

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?

Big Reactors

Minecraft version: 1.7.10 | Download link

After a while with lots of tech mods installed, you'll find that your power needs are growing faster than you can add more generator capacity. Big Reactors is the answer. It lets you build highly-configurable customized nuclear reactors that output huge amounts of power and won't melt down spectacularly if things go wrong. It even interfaces with ComputerCraft, so you can build programs to control your reactors.

The best Minecraft: Pocket Edition mods

Mods for Minecraft: Pocket Edition aren't as big in scope as Bedrock Edition, but it's still incredible how customizable a mobile game can be. There are a lot of cool Pocket Edition mods out there. You can find more on a dedicated site for PE mods, mcpedl. If you're modding Pocket Edition for the first time, you should definitely read the installation guides for the platform of your choosing.

Furnicraft

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.13 - 1.14 | Download link

Furnicraft adds dozens of new furniture pieces to Pocket Edition, many of which also come with 16 color variations. That's the meat of the mod, but there's also a mechanic to raise and feed a baby in a crib. Weird!

Expansive Fantasy

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.13 - 1.15 (beta) | Download link

The Expansive Fantasy mod basically lets you live out How To Train Your Dragon in Minecraft. You can find dragon eggs, nourish them until they hatch, raise baby dragons, and tame them to become mountable. There's also unicorns and new orc enemies.

Backpacks

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.14 | Download link

How does base Minecraft not have backpacks? Who knows, but at least this mod has us covered. The way the creator explains it, these craftable backpacks essentially add a chest's worth of storage that you can bring along anywhere. That'd be super handy on long mining trips to the planet's core.

Magnificent Biomes

(Image credit: Mojang)

Minecraft version: 1.16 (beta) | Download link

Magnificent Biomes adds new biomes, points of interest, animals, and recipes to your Minecraft worlds. With this mod installed, you'll start finding cherry blossom trees, giant stacks of pumpkins, stone wells, and more. In the wildlife department, you'll find butterflies, snails, and crafting recipes to go alongside them.