Jalapeno Bacon Macaroni + Cheese

by Amy on 28 July 2013

Jalapeno Bacon Macaroni + Cheese

Today, iā€™m participating in a fun blogger event ā€” the Secret Recipe Club. How does it work? Every blogger is secretly assigned another blog + chooses a recipe from that blog to make. On reveal day (today!), all of our posts go up at the same time, + everyone gets to see who was assigned to their blog, which recipe they chose, + how it turned out. Fun, huh?

I was assigned Life On Food, a fabulous blog full of truly mouth-watering recipes. After looking through page after page of scrumptious-looking food, I decided to make this jalapeno bacon mac + cheese. Fearless Baby + I headed to the grocery store, picked up all the ingredients, + during her next naptime, I got cookin’. And the results? Seriously AMAZING. It is super rich + creamy, thanks to 3 different cheeses – cheddar, pepper jack + cream cheese – with just the right amount of spicy heat from the peppers, + a perfect salty bite from the bacon. I served it as a side dish alongside grilled hamburgers + asparagus, but it’s hearty enough that it could easily be a main dish unto itself. And, it makes enough for delicious, easy-to-reheat leftovers, which is always an extra bonus for me!

Thank you to Emily for introducing me to this fabulous macaroni + cheese, + to the Secret Recipe Club for connecting me, yet again, with fantastic bloggers + amazing recipes!

Jalapeno Bacon Macaroni + Cheese

serves 8-10, adapted from Life on Food and Rachael Ray


kosher salt
1 pound short pasta, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or bowties – i used trottole
4 pieces of bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 tablespoons) butter
4 jalapeno peppers; seeds + ribs removed, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups milk
freshly ground pepper + kosher salt, to taste
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water + cook the pasta until al dente, according to the package instructions; drain + set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced bacon + cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s browned + crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer the bacon bits to a paper towel-lined plate to drain, leaving 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the saucepan.

Add 3 tablespoons butter, the chopped jalapenos, onion, + garlic to the saucepan + cook until the jalapenos + onions are well-softened, about 7-10 minutes minutes. Add the flour + cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the milk, + bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce to a simmer + cook for 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat + add the cheddar, pepper jack + cream cheese + stir until melted + combined. Add salt + pepper to taste.

Stir together the cooked pasta with the cheese sauce + bacon bits, stir to combine well, + transfer to a casserole dish.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter + toss with the panko breadcrumbs to coat. Sprinkle over the casserole. Pop in the oven + broil for 2-3 minutes, until the breadcrumbs are golden brown + crispy.

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{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

51 Jess August 13, 2013 at 7:46 am

Oh my gosh…. jalepenos, bacon AND mac and cheese! You know all the right things to say to a lady šŸ˜‰

52 Virginia Payne August 29, 2013 at 12:36 pm

We are big fans of the homemade mac n cheese and this is a great version. We will have to give this a go. :)

53 Erin November 5, 2013 at 10:32 am

Good Morning!

I made this a few months back for the first time and it was fantastic! Everyone loved it. My husband asked me to make it again! It’s on the menu for this weekend! Thanks for sharing a great recipe! :)

54 amy November 5, 2013 at 10:34 am

Awesome, Erin! So glad you + Your husband loved it!

55 Sara January 11, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I forgot to meointn that when we make this, we add about 2 Tbsp. of Hellmanns mayo to the egg mixture. It gives it more body, flavor and adds no carbs. Have also made it with green chillis, and mushrooms. GREAT RECIPE

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