Spicy Mac And Cheese

4.75 from 4 votes
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Spicy Mac And Cheese with a kick from jalapeño. Luscious, creamy and made with simple ingredients. This is a family favorite and I love to make it as a side throughout the summer and for holidays.

Cheesy pasta with jalapeños and spice on a plate.
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Why Make This Spicy Mac And Cheese

This recipe is super easy to follow. The dish is made from scratch with wholesome ingredients. The entire family will love it. I love spice! If you do too, this recipe is for you! You can sub some of the ingredients to keep it a bit more low calorie, and you can easily make this less spicy, just be sure to read the notes on how. This dish can be reheated easily with some extra milk, and you can add veggies to make it a bit more nutritious.

Ingredients Needed

All ingredients needed to make the recipe on a gray counter in measuring cups.

 

Butter. I like to use unsalted so that I can salt it to my taste, you can use salted if needed, just be sure to taste as you go.

Onion. I like to use white or yellow onion, either will work great. this adds a little depth of flavor to the dish.

All Purpose Flour. This is used to make a roux. It thickens things and brings them all together in a silky sauce.

Seasonings. Salt, garlic powder, cayenne powder, paprika.

Jalapeños. Fresh jalapeños are the perfect way to spice things up, they add a little color and certainly kick it up a notch. If you need to keep things mild, be sure to discard the seeds.

Milk. You can use 2% or whole milk, really either will work great! If you would like to watch the calories a bit more, go for 1 or 2% milk.

Cheddar Cheese. I like to use sharp, pre-shredded cheddar cheese for this recipe.

Pasta. Traditionally Macaroni or elbow pasta. Shells will also work wonderfully.

Steps To Make This Recipe

Spicy mac and cheese steps in a shallow dutch oven.

Step One. Preheat oven to 450º. Start with cooking the pasta according to the package, al dente (be sure to salt the water). While the pasta is cooking, add butter to a large over safe skillet or dutch oven.

Step Two. While the butter is melting, add chopped onions, one of the chopped jalapeños, sprinkle flour and seasonings and whisk everything together for about 2 minutes, or until the butter is melted and lightly browned.

Step Three. Pour the measured milk into the mixture, turn the heat to medium low. You may need some more milk to thin and keep the cheese silky, so please keep the milk handy! Add the cheese right after the milk, mix in well, until the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is silky smooth (you can add 1/4 cup of milk more if needed!)

Up close photo of mac and cheese with diced jalapeños.

Step Four. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, combine everything well. You can either serve as is or; what I like to do is bake it! Add 1/4 cup of(additional) cheddar over the pasta mix, add additional jalapeños for garnish. Bake in the oven on 450º for about 8-10 minutes or until everything is bubbly and lightly browned and serve.

Cheese noodles on a plate with jalapeño spice.

 

Tips and FAQ’s

Does this reheat well?

This spicy mac and cheese reheats well, just simply add some milk over it before reheating to rehydrate everything. I microwave on low for 2-3 minutes.

Why is my cheese mix lumpy and thick?

This could be the type of flour you used or the cheese. Just add another 1/4 cup of milk to the mix until you get your desired consistency. I also add 1/4 cup of milk over everything before baking it for a few minutes.

Recipe Pairings For Spicy Mac and Cheese

This spicy mac and cheese would pair great with my teriyaki chicken kabobs, BBQ Chicken Flatbread or my Chicken Tenders. You can also just add rotisserie chicken to it to make it more filling.

Make Ahead And Storage Tips

If you want to make this ahead of time, I suggest you make sure you have plenty of milk left for reheating. As mentioned before, having extra milk handy is important to get the perfect most silky texture for the cheese. This recipe will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container for up to 5 days or you can freeze it for up to two months.

To reheat, add to a large microwave safe bowl and add 1/4 cup of milk and heat on medium/low for about 2-4 minutes

Other Pasta Dishes To Try

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Cheesy noodles on a plate with a fork.
4.75 from 4 votes

Spicy Mac And Cheese

Spicy Mac And Cheese with a kick from jalapeño. Luscious, creamy and made with simple ingredients.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

  • large oven safe skillet or shallow dutch oven

Ingredients 

  • 3 cup elbow pasta, *see notes
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup onions, diced
  • 1-2 jalapeños, chopped, *see notes
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups milk , *1 or 2 %
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, *plus 1/4 more for topping before baking

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 450º. Start with cooking the pasta according to the package, al dente (be sure to salt the water). While the pasta is cooking, add butter to a large over safe skillet or dutch oven.
  • While the butter is melting, add chopped onions, one of the chopped jalapeños, sprinkle flour and seasonings and whisk everything together for about 2 minutes, or until the butter is melted and lightly browned.
  • Pour the measured milk into the mixture, turn the heat to medium low. You may need some more milk to thin and keep the cheese silky, so please keep the milk handy! Add the cheese right after the milk, mix in well, until the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is silky smooth (you can add 1/4 cup of milk more if needed!)
  • Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, combine everything well. You can either serve as is or; what I like to do is bake it! Add 1/4 cup of (additional) cheddar over the pasta mix, add additional jalapeños for garnish. Bake in the oven on 450º for about 8-10 minutes or until everything is bubbly and lightly browned and serve. 

Notes

*shells will also work
*one is diced and added into the mac and cheese and the other is sliced for garnish. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 633kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 415mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1172IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 570mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 633
Keyword: 30 minute, pasta
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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. Gonna switch up our tradition and start incorporating this dish at our Thanksgiving feast. Made it a few months back and will never go back to regular mac again.

  2. 4 stars
    This is very tasty! I did saute the vegetables a bit first before adding the flour, and then let the sauce cook a bit to try to thicken up before adding the cheese because that’s what my old school macaroni and cheese recipe calls for. I did do the oven finish and it was worth it for the nice browned top. Oh also – for gluten free folks – I subbed gluten free pasta and AP flour (King Arthur) and it all worked fine.

  3. 5 stars
    I wish I could give this 10 stars it was scrumptious!!!! I made ours extra spicy.