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