Jalapeño Popper Melt-In-Your-Mouth Mac & Cheese

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Simply magical. That’s the only way to describe Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese – a recipe developed from the best parts of a Jalapeno Popper (you guessed it: cream cheese and of course, a jalapeno) to make a “where have you been all my life” dinner recipe you won’t be able to quit! Beautifully creamy, cheesy pasta, bacon (if you’re so inclined), a little zing from the pepper, plus gooey deliciousness that breaks through a Panko bread crumb crust! You may start with a small bowl, but who are we kidding here…you’ll end up having seconds, maybe even thirds! Make it for supper on a weeknight, or the perfect Saturday night in, and you won’t regret it. Enjoy!

Jalapeno Popper Mac & Cheese

jalapeno popper mac & cheese


Main Dish:
  • 1 large jalapeno, sliced
  • 5 strips thick-cut bacon
  • ¾ lb macaroni
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup whipped cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
Bread Crumb Topping:
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Panko bread crumbs


For the Main Dish:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside approximately half of the jalapeño slices to use as a garnish on the dish once it’s finished and dice up the remaining slices to set aside. Cook the bacon until crispy and remove to a paper-towel-lined plate to cool. Dice the bacon into small pieces and set aside. Cook your pasta in salt water, according to directions on the package, until just al dente. Drain and set aside. Return the pasta pot to the stove and melt the butter over medium heat. Add a heaping tablespoon of the diced jalapeños to the butter and sauté for 30 seconds. Add flour to the butter and whisk to form a roux. Cook for another 30 seconds. Slowly add milk to your roux, whisking constantly to work out lumps. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce has thickened (approximately 5-7 minutes.) Whisk in salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add cream cheese to the roux and whisk until it has melted and the cheese sauce is smooth. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the shredded white cheddar cheese. Reserve approximately ⅕ of your bacon pieces for garnish and stir the remaining bacon into cheese sauce. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Place the mac and cheese mixture into a large casserole dish and set aside while you toast the bread crumbs.

For the Bread Crumb Topping:

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add your bread crumbs and stir to coat with the melted butter. Toast the crumbs, stirring occasionally, for approximately 2 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have just barely started to brown, then remove from heat. Spread the bread crumbs over the mac and cheese in an even layer, then bake at 375 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until the bread crumbs have begun to brown up a little more and the pasta has just started to crisp around the edges. Top the mac and cheese with the reserved bacon and jalapeños, and serve immediately.


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