Two faves become one…
Jalapeño poppers and mac and cheese are each alone so good. So what happens when you fuse the two together? It’s a side of pure magic, we’d say. Jalapeño popper mac and cheese will have your family and guests going gaga for more. There’s just enough heat with one jalapeño pepper, or use two chilies to have something a little more memorable. It’s spicy, creamy, and cheesy…and that’s before the bacon kicks in. Seriously, it’s all good things wrapped into one.
We love jalapeño popper mac and cheese as a spicy BBQ side, though there’s nothing stopping you from choosing this delicious dish as a full-blown entree. It’s certainly a unique way to tackle pasta night for families with a love of spicy! Pair it with some cornbread (maybe the spicy jalapeño kind) and it’s plenty filling.
We have many more popper-inspired recipes in our spicy recipe collection, too. If you love this recipe, check out this twist on traditional chicken soup. Or, perhaps our favorite of all, this jalapeño popper grilled cheese sandwich will ruin any other grilled cheese for you forever. If you’re looking for more of a side, these mashed potatoes will be a huge hit. It’s delicious paired with fried chicken.
- 1 pound pasta noodles
- 1 pound white American cheese sliced (3/4 pound required – 1/4 pound optional)
- 8 slices bacon crumbled
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers stemmed, seeds removed, and diced
- 4 ounces cream cheese 1/2 of normal sized package
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Roughly chop 1/2 of the sliced American cheese and place to the side.
- Heat to a boil a pot full of water (lightly salted), then add the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and place to the side.
- In a high sided pan over medium heat, add the butter and allow it to melt. Add the jalapeño pepper, and cook the jalapeño in the butter, stirring often, for one minute.
- Add the flour to the jalapeño and continue to stir until the mix turns pasty and lightly browns (approximately 2 minutes).
- Add the heavy cream and milk, stirring often to fully combine. Simmer the mix for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
- Add the cream cheese, chopped American cheese, chili powder, black pepper, and salt. Stir continuously until the cheeses melt.
- Add the cooked pasta noodles and bacon to the sauce. Stir to combine.
- Transfer half the pasta and sauce into a baking dish, then layer half of the remaining cheese slices over top. Pour in the rest of the pasta and sauce atop the cheese.
- Bake the mac and cheese for 15 minutes, then (optional) place the remaining cheese slices atop of the dish, spread evenly. Bake for an additional 1 to 2 minutes to melt and lightly brown.
- Remove the mac and cheese from the oven and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Serve.