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5 from 2 votes

The BEST Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese

The BEST Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese you'll ever try! Extra creamy, loaded with bacon, cream cheese, jalapeños, and kicked up a notch with TABASCO® Sauce, this delicious and easy mac and cheese is sure to be a new favorite! 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: jalapeno popper mac and cheese, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese
Servings: 12
Calories: 760kcal
Author: Trish - Mom On Timeout

Ingredients

  • 16 oz elbow macaroni cooked (or other tubular pasta)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 jalapeños seeded, membranes removed, and diced
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz cream cheese cut into cubes
  • 2 tsp TABASCO® Sauce
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 12 oz bacon cooked and crumbled

Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs
  • 4 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish and set aside. Combine shredded cheeses in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Cook the pasta one minute shy of al dente according to the package instructions. Remove from heat, drain, and place in a large bowl.
  • Drizzle pasta with olive oil and stir to coat pasta. Set aside to cool while preparing cheese sauce.
  • Melt butter in a deep saucepan, dutch oven, or stock pot. Add diced jalapeños and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Whisk in flour over medium heat and continue whisking for about 1 minute until bubbly and golden.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk and heavy cream until nice and smooth. Continue whisking until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking and whisking for another 2 minutes.
  • Whisk in cream cheese and TABASCO® sauce.
  • Add two cups of shredded cheese and whisk until smooth. Add another one and a half cups of shredded cheese and continue whisking until creamy and smooth. Sauce should be nice and thick.
  • Stir in the cooled pasta until combined and pasta is fully coated with the cheese sauce.
  • Pour half of the mac and cheese into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining 2 cups of shredded cheese, two-thirds of the bacon and then the remaining mac and cheese.
  • In a small bowl, combine panko crumbs, Parmesan cheese, melted butter and paprika. Sprinkle over the top and bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. 
  • Top with remaining bacon and slices of jalapeños if desired. Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 760kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 53g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 747mg | Potassium: 325mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1410IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 513mg | Iron: 1.5mg