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Creamy Mac and Cheese with Candied Jalapeños

Creamy Mac and Cheese with Candied Jalapeños Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes Servings: 6


  • 8 ounces (about 2 cups) elbow macaroni or your favorite pasta

  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/4 cup candied jalapeños, chopped (adjust to your desired level of spiciness)

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (optional, for topping)

  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)


1. Cook the Pasta:

  • Cook the elbow macaroni or pasta according to the package instructions until it's al dente. Drain and set aside.

2. Prepare the Cheese Sauce:

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, melt the unsalted butter over medium heat.

  • Stir in the all-purpose flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a light golden brown and has a nutty aroma.

  • Gradually whisk in the whole milk, ensuring there are no lumps. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the shredded sharp cheddar cheese, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Continue to stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth and creamy.

3. Combine Pasta and Cheese Sauce:

  • Add the cooked and drained pasta to the cheese sauce. Stir to coat the pasta evenly with the creamy cheese mixture.

4. Add Candied Jalapeños:

  • Gently fold in the chopped candied jalapeños. Adjust the quantity based on your spice preference.

5. Optional Breadcrumb Topping:

  • If you'd like a crispy breadcrumb topping, transfer the mac and cheese to a baking dish, sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the top, and broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

6. Garnish and Serve:

  • Garnish the mac and cheese with fresh cilantro leaves if desired.

  • Serve your Creamy Mac and Cheese with Candied Jalapeños hot, and enjoy the perfect combination of creamy, cheesy goodness with a sweet and spicy kick!

This recipe adds a delightful twist to traditional mac and cheese, making it an exciting and flavorful comfort food option. Adjust the level of spiciness by adding more or fewer candied jalapeños to suit your taste.

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