Dive in spoon first to this jalapeno popper mac and cheese! A cheesy pasta that is filled with diced jalapenos, chopped bacon and topped with a bread crumb that becomes crunchy when baked. All the flavors of a jalapeno popper in macaroni and cheese form.
If you love pasta, this homemade mac and cheese with jalapenos need to be added to your list. A simple and easy side dish for dinner or to take to your next holiday or potluck event.
Table of Contents
This Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese Is…
- Homemade mac and cheese
- Has some spice from the jalapeno (you can make mild or spicy)
- A great side for dinner or a potluck event
- Family friends
Grocery List for Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese Recipe
- Pasta – I used a classic elbow, but shells or other smaller pasta works.
- Flour – This is used as the roux for thickening.
- Breadcrumbs – We used panko but feel free to use a classic.
- Canned Jalapenos – You buy mild or spicy to do your heat preference.
- Milk and Heavy Cream for richness
- Bacon – Cook and dice up into bite size pieces.
How To Make Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Step One: Start by cooking your pasta as directed on the package. Drain pasta when done, don’t rinse though in cold water.
Step Two: In a pot add your butter and let it melt on medium heat. Then stir in flour to create a paste.
Step Three: Whisk in the milk, and whisk until it is creamy and forms a paste.
Step Four: Next add in the heavy cream, cream cheese, and part of the cheese. Stir till the cheese is combined well.
Step Five: Dice up the jalapenos and add in. Reserve some for topping.
Step Six: Next fold in the seasoning, and bacon, and pour the mac and cheese in a casserole dish.
Step Seven: In a skillet add the butter and let melt then toast your breadcrumbs. Spread the crumbs over the top of the pasta, then top with the bacon and jalapenos.
Step Eight: Bake as directed and then serve and enjoy this jalapeno mac and cheese.
Tips For Making Homemade Mac and Cheese with Jalapenos
- Grating cheese instead of pre-packaged shredded cheese is best. Shredded cheese can be oily and create a different texture to the pasta dish.
- You can use mild jalapenos or hot. Or if you want use fresh instead of canned jalapenos.
- You will bake the macaroni and cheese till the crumbs are nice and golden brown. Adding butter to the breadcrumbs really adds tons of flavor as well.
Any leftover pasta can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. You will find the pasta dries out a bit once it is cooled down. If it is too dry add a splash of milk when reheating.
Due to all the dairy, you will find that it is important to not freeze or ingredients will separate and curdle a bit when you go to reheat them.
Depending on the flavor you are looking for the options are open to changes. Sharp cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gruyere cheese, Gouda, Pepper Jack, and more are all very popular.
Many macaroni and cheese recipes will use 1-3 different varieties of cheese. This recipe for the jalapeno popper uses two different types. It adds flavor and dimension to the pasta.
No, you do not have to add on the breadcrumbs. I love the crispy topping it adds but it is not a have to have ingredient. So feel free to omit it if you will. If you do just add a layer of shredded cheese on top. This will help prevent the pasta from drying
More Great Pasta Recipes You’ll Love
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Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
- 3 ½ cups Macaroni Noodles Uncooked
- 8 Tablespoons Butter
- 6 Tablespoons Flour All-Purpose
- 1 ½ cups Milk
- ½ cup Whipping Cream Heavy
- 4 oz Cream Cheese cut into pieces
- 2 cups Sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese we used a Monterey Jack with Jalapenos
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 4 oz Pickled Jalapenos jar drained
- 6 slices Bacon cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup Breadcrumbs Panko
- Prepare the macaroni noodles according to package directions as you prepare the cheese sauce. Drain when done, but do not rinse.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Place 6 Tablespoons of the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
- Once butter is melted, stir in the flour to form a paste.
- Whisk in the milk, ensuring the flour mixture dissolves completely.
- Constantly stirring until cheeses is completely melted.
- Add in the heavy whipping cream, cream cheese, and 1½ cups of the cheese.
- Chop all but a few of the jalapeno poppers, reserving a few for garnish.
- Stir in the garlic powder, the chopped jalapenos, and most of the bacon, reserving some for garnish.
- Fold the macaroni and cheese into an 8″ x 8″ casserole dish.
- In a skillet over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter.
- Once melted and hot, stir in the breadcrumbs and toast until golden. Remove from heat.
- Sprinkle remaining cheese over the macaroni and cheese, followed by the toasted breadcrumbs and reserved bacon and jalapenos.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is fully melted and as browned as you’d like.