Spicy Mac and Cheese

mac and cheese in pot

This Spicy Mac and Cheese is loaded with perfectly cooked al dente pasta, tons of freshly shredded pepper jack cheese and fresh jalapenos. Best part? It’s SO quick to whip up on the stovetop. Yes please! 

Alright – I think you guys know by now that I love mac and cheese. It’s evident between the Best Stovetop Mac and Cheese or Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese recipe on my blog…you give me noodles and cheese, and I’m there! 

But, since today is officially National Cheese Day, why not spice things up a little bit?! 

mac and cheese in a bowl with a fork

This Spicy Mac and Cheese is the BEST way to celebrate – whether it’s a random cheese holiday or not!

Why You’ll Love this Dish: 

First off – it’s so easy to whip up. In the hottest months of the year, I’m all for not really having to turn on the oven or do a lot of prep work. 

And helloooooo comfort food. I truly think that mac and cheese is my true comfort food. There is just something about it. 

The melty pockets of cheese – the gooeyness, the perfectly cooked noodles….it’s the best. 

And when you add in a little bit of spice – it gets even better! 

To make this mac and cheese spicy, I did two special things. First, I made the dish with freshly shredded pepper jack cheese. Extra spicy, please! 

I could’ve stopped there but instead I went ahead and added an entire fresh diced jalapeno (seeds and all) into the macaroni and cheese. 

extreme close up of mac and cheese

The crunch was a really fun texture and the heat really balances out the creaminess and richness of the dish itself. 

Of course, you can always deseed the jalapeno for less spice! But that’s completely up to you and your spice preferences. 

If it was up to Ben, he would want me to put double the jalapenos WITH the seeds in there. Whew! 

So, you have gooey, ultra creamy, delicious and filled with heat mac and cheese. Let’s get into what you need to make it. Spoiler alert: it’s not that much! 

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Pipette Pasta – although you can use whatever you have on hand! I love using shells or elbow noodles
  • Salted butter
  • All purpose flour 
  • Freshly shredded pepperjack cheese
  • Whole milk 
  • Jalapeno 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Heavy cream 

Best Tips on Making Mac and Cheese:

Begin by making the noodles! Those will take the most time! Be sure that you SALT the water to give the pasta flavor! Very important 🙂 

Once the noodles are done, drain them and set them aside. 

cooked pasta in colander

Now….here is the BEST part. Making that creamy delicious cheesy sauce! It might sound daunting, but I promise it’s SO easy and you’ll never go back to store-bought mac and cheese again! 

Take a medium size pot. Add the salted butter (always salted) and let it melt on medium heat. Once it’s melted, add in the all purpose flour and using a whisk, whisk together. It might look lumpy and weird at first but keep whisking until it’s fully combined. Let that cook for about 1 minute or so. 

Next, add in some whole milk (not all of it, just about ¼ of it for now). Whisk whisk whisk until it starts thickening – which it should pretty quickly. 

Add the rest of the whole milk a little bit at a time – about ¼ cup at a time and continually whisk it in. Please do not let this mixture come to a boil! It will thicken without boiling! 

Once it has thickened – it should take about 5-7 minutes, add in that freshly shredded cheese and mix in. It will get super thick and creamy. If it looks too thick, feel free to add another splash of milk in there. 

cheese and bechamel sauce in pot

Now that your sauce is creamy + cheesy, add in the noodles and lower the heat. Mix mix mix until each noodle is coated in that delicious sauce. 

To the pot, to make it extra spicy, add in a freshly diced jalapeno along with salt and pepper to taste. If you want to get extra crazy, add in a pinch of cayenne! 

fork with mac and cheese on it

Serve immediately and enjoy every single bite. 

Leftovers/Reheating 

This dish reheats like a DREAM. Truly! I would store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. 

When you’re ready to eat it up, put it in the microwave and warm it up. When it’s out and warm, add a splash of milk or heavy cream and stir it in. It will return to that creamy deliciousness that you love. Enjoy! 

Did you like this recipe? Here are a few others you might enjoy: 

One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese 

Simple Pesto Grilled Cheese 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

Spicy Mac and Cheese

This Spicy Mac and Cheese is loaded with perfectly cooked al dente pasta, tons of freshly shredded pepper jack cheese and fresh jalapenos. Best part? It’s SO quick to whip up on the stovetop. Yes please! 

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword easy homemade mac and cheese, jalapeno mac and cheese, spicy mac and cheese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Haylie

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. pipette pasta (can use any kind!)
  • 5 tbsp salted butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups freshly shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Begin to cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Don't forget to salt your pasta water generously!

  2. While your pasta is cooking, melt better in a large pot on medium heat. Add in your flour and using a whisk, quickly to make a roux until the two are combined. Let cook for 1 minute or so and then add 1/2 cup of whole milk and begin stirring. It should thicken up pretty quickly. 

  3. Add in remaining 1 and 1/2 cups of milk a little at a time, continually stirring as you go. Do not let this mixture begin to boil! Continue to stir for about 5-7 minutes, until thickened.

  4. Once creamy, using a wooden spoon, add in your freshly shredded pepper jack cheese and mix to combine until the cheese is fully melted and it is one thick, creamy cheesy sauce. Take it off the heat. 

  5. At this point, your noodles should be done. Drain them and add them directly into the cheese sauce. Stir gently to combine. Add in a heavy amount of salt and pepper for seasoning and a tbsp of heavy cream for extra richness if desired. 

  6. Add the freshly diced jalapeno to the mac and cheese as well.

  7. Eat immediately while hot and gooey! Enjoy! See above notes in blog post for re-heating leftovers.

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