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Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese on a plate.

The earliest known recipe for macaroni and cheese was written down in 1769, and ever since then people have loved this delicious combination of cheese and pasta. Thomas Jefferson tried this tasty dish while traveling in France and brought the recipe for it back to North America.

He also brought back numerous pasta recipes and a pasta machine, since pasta was not available in North America at that time. When Jefferson became president, he served macaroni and cheese at a state dinner in the White House in 1802.

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese on a plate.

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese

April Freeman
Are you looking for a new way to spice up your basic recipe for macaroni and cheese? Our recipe for Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese takes this favorite dinnertime staple to a new and exciting place. With creamy cheese and the heat of jalapeno peppers, your family will love this new twist on an old favorite.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 6 Servings

Equipment

  • Medium sized sauce-pan
  • Whisk
  • Large Wooden Spoon

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 3 tbsp Jalapeno pepper, finely minced this is roughly one pepper; if you are sensitive to spicy things, you can cut this amount in half.
  • 2 tbsp All purpose flour
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1 cup Whole milk
  • 2 cups Shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ lb elbow, rotini, or farfalle pastas

Instructions
 

  • In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the diced jalapeno peppers to the hot melted butter and sautee them, stirring frequently for about five minutes or until the peppers are soft and cooked through.
    Diced Jalapeno with butter on a pan.
  • Add the flour to the pan and use a whisk to incorporate it into the butter. Cook this paste together for about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The flour will begin to turn a light golden brown.
    Jalapeno with butter on a pan.
  • Add the heavy cream, whisking the whole time. Add the whole milk as well. Add the cheese a little at a time, continuing to stir them together. Let the cheese sauce cook for about 10 or 15 minutes, stirring frequently until it begins to thicken.
  • As the cheese sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in a separate saucepan according to package instructions. Use salted water, stirring about a teaspoon of salt into the cooking water.
    Boiled Rotini pasta on a cooking pan.
  • After the pasta is fully cooked, drain it well, shaking the pasta to remove as much cooking water as possible.
  • Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce, tossing it with a large wooden spoon to coat the pasta well in the cheese sauce.
  • Serve warm.
    Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese on a plate.

Notes

Macaroni and cheese had a huge development in 1937, when Kraft Foods created and sold boxed macaroni and cheese during the depths of the Great Depression. Their mac and cheese, featuring a powdered cheese mixture, sold for just a few pennies. At four boxes for 19 cents, even the poorest citizens could afford to fill up on macaroni and cheese.
Those blue boxes are what many people think of when they consider macaroni and cheese. And, it’s no small wonder. Almost a million boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese are sold every day in the world. Kids love this stuff, with many children remembering fondly the day that they first learned how to follow the directions on the box and make a whole batch of mac and cheese on their own.
However, the blue boxes with the orange-colored powdered cheese mixture make foodies groan. Some people do not care for the artificially flavored mac and cheese, while others want to be a bit more adventurous with their pasta dishes. Many people make mac and cheese from scratch, using different kinds of cheese or adding things like ham, bacon, or vegetables to the classic pasta dish.
Our recipe for Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese is one variation that we think you and your family will greatly enjoy. Jalapeno poppers are a classic appetizer that features jalapeno peppers stuffed with cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and other ingredients. Our recipe takes its inspiration from that delicious appetizer.
To begin with, you will saute the diced jalapenos in melted butter. If you and your family are a bit sensitive to hot foods, you may want to make your first batch of this recipe with half of a jalapeno pepper. If you like the heat and want more, next time you make it, use the whole jalapeno. As you cut and dice your jalapeno peppers, you definitely want to wear gloves, particularly when you start to remove the seeds and the white inner membrane of the jalapeno. This part of the pepper contains most of the hot oils and if you get them on your skin, you can have some serious pain for a time. Do not touch your face or eyes if you manage to get the oils on your hands, because you can give yourself a serious chemical burn.
Of course, we think that this mac and cheese recipe is wonderful as it is, but if you really want to add to the taste, you can add other things to the recipe. Sprinkling diced ham or cooked and crumbled bacon on the top of the mac and cheese can add a savory, meaty flavor to the dish. Alternately, while we used cheddar cheese, you can definitely switch around to make this dish your own with different kinds of cheeses.

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Related: Best Macaroni and Cheese Recipes