- This tasty baked Mac and cheese recipe is bursting with bold jalapeño popper flavors!
- TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING JALAPENO POPPER MAC AND CHEESE:
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This tasty baked Mac and cheese recipe is bursting with bold jalapeño popper flavors!
Everything you love about spicy jalapeño poppers, plus comforting and rich Mac and cheese. It’s a culinary match made in heaven!
Y’all, this is the most epic Mac and cheese. If you’re a fan of jalapeño poppers, and love the comfort of Mac and cheese… then this is it. The one Mac and cheese recipe you need to try… immediately!
Ever since I posted this family favorite recipe back in 2016, I’ve been meaning to add more recipe like it… but time got away from me! Honestly, I just have SO many recipes that I’m dying to share, and things get pushed to the back burner.
I love that this jalapeño popper Mac and cheese is really versatile. Like things extra spicy? Maybe a little more mild. Want a vegetarian Mac and cheese? Or how about some extra protein? I’ve got you covered!
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING JALAPENO POPPER MAC AND CHEESE:
- Pasta can be cooked ahead of time. Just toss it with a bit of olive oil, stir if occasionally as it cools, and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Panko can also be made ahead of time and stored on the counter in an airtight container.
- For a spicier Mac and cheese, leave the seeds in the jalapeño, and/or add more jalapeño. Alternately, you can buck tradition and add a Serrano or two. Swap out some of the cheese (either mozzarella or American) for pepper jack.
- For a more mild Mac and cheese, use less jalapeños, or use pickled (jarred) jalapeños (the mild variety).
- For a vegetarian version, omit the bacon completely.
- For a meatier version, add some extra bacon. Also, 1 1/2 cups of shredded chicken makes a great addition to the bacon as well!
CAN THIS MAC AND CHEESE BE MADE AHEAD OF TIME?
- Make as directed, minus the panko topping (but do not bake), transfer to baking dish and cool completely. Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.
- Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
- Top with panko and bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
The panko topping on this Mac and cheese is optional, but I really like it since it really brings home that “jalapeño popper” flavor and texture!
I hope you give this comfort food classic with a twist a try soon!
- Deep saucepan – perfect for sauces of any kind!
- 9×13 baking dish – in case you’re looking for a new one, this one is inexpensive and I love the lid!