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Spicy baked mac and cheese

Spicy mac and cheese is the perfect change for your dinner table. Staying true to it's tasty roots, my most popular recipe cranks up the heat.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 375kcal
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni cooked but still firm (measure 1 1/2 cups dry macaroni noodles)
  • 1 tablespoon diced jalapeño pepper seeded and ribs removed (seeds and ribs can be left in for more heat)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack or colby jack cheese with peppers
  • 1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper or to taste
  • 1 cup of fresh bread crumbs *See note this could be some day-old french bread or other similar bread--just don't use your squishy sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves optional


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix the thyme leaves, bread crumbs and butter together in a small bowl; set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a high sided pan.
  • Add the jalapeño peppers and saute one minute.
  • Add the flour and stir 1-2 minutes to help cook out the raw flour flavor
  • Add the milk, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until the sauce starts to bubble and thickens--about 8 minutes or so. Stir often to keep it from sticking. The sauce is thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon.
  • Add the cheeses and stir until melted and smooth.
  • Add the noodles and stir.
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish.
  • Top with the bread crumb mixture and bake uncovered 35-40 minutes until browned and bubbly.


Make bread crumbs by running any kind of bread EXCEPT premade sandwich bread (no Butternut here!) through your food processor. A couple of pulses and you should have it.


Calories: 375kcal