Jalapeno Bacon Mac and Cheese is a bacon mac and cheese recipe inspired by bacon jalapeno poppers with creamy, bubbly baked jalapeno, bacon, gouda, cheddar cheese sauce coated macaroni.
Jalapeno bacon mac and cheese recipe
I created this delicious jalapeno bacon mac and cheese recipe in collaboration with Genuine Skagit Valley farm stands to showcase the versatility of the produce available at local farm stands over the summer.
But it’s a super comforting delicious baked pasta dish that can be served any time of year. Although it is delicious for cookouts and celebrations in the summer. It’s an especially great recipe to make for father’s day to celebrate those dads that like it hot!
But although it’s like a big jalapeno popper mac and cheese it can be made as spicy or as mild as you’d like it.
For less heat simply remove jalapeno ribs and seeds and omit the extra jalapeno pepper topping.
For extra heat add cream cheese stuffed jalapenos (or store bought jalapeno poppers) to the top before baking and/or sprinkle with even more chopped fresh jalapenos before serving, as shown.
This recipe can also be smoked instead of baked. To make smoked bacon mac and cheese with jalapenos simply follow recipe as directed and smoke for 1-2 hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pasta – elbow macaroni or whatever pasta shape you’d like to use, ideally something with a tube like shape like rigatoni or shells.
- Bacon – chopped into ½″ pieces to be stirred into the mac and cheese, sprinkled on top. Plus the bacon grease is also used in the creamy jalapeno cheese sauce.
- Cheddar cheese – shredded cheddar for the cheese sauce and to create a crispy baked cheese top. Cubed chedda is also stirred into the macaroni and cheese to create extra cheesy pockets in the baked mac and cheese.
- Gouda – shredded and stirred into the bacon gouda and cheddar cheese sauce.
- Cream cheese – for the creamy cheese sauce and also extra for the jalapeno popper topping, if desired.
- Milk – whole milk or other dairy or non dairy milk.
- Jalapeno peppers – 1 sliced and 1 diced, plus additional if desired for jalapeno popper topping.
- Garlic cloves
- Scallions – whites and greens separated
- Seasonings – Dijon mustard, ground nutmeg, cayenne pepper powder, salt and pepper.
Step by step instructions
- Cook pasta to al dente as directed on package. Then drain but do not rinse macaroni.
- Meanwhile prepare cheese, shred ¾ of the cheddar and cube remaining cup.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. And grease a large baking dish.
- Cut bacon into ½″ pieces and brown in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once browned, remove bacon pieces to drain and leave 2 tablespoons bacon grease in the pan, remove and reserve the rest for another use (like homemade biscuits!).
- Add butter to bacon grease and melt over low heat. Then add chopped garlic, jalapenos, and scallion whites. Cook until fragrant then whisk in flour and cook until lightly golden, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk in milk and continue cooking until sauce is thick. Then remove from heat and stir in cream cheese, gouda and half of the cheddar cheese, reserving the other half to sprinkle on top. Stir in nutmeg and cayenne pepper.
- Reserve a handful of bacon bits to top the mac and cheese and stir the remaining into the cheese sauce with the scallion greens. And season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add cooked and drained pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat.
- Then stir in cubed cheese. And pour entire mixture into prepared baking dish.
- Top with remaining shredded cheddar.
- Bake, uncovered, in preheated oven until cheese is browned and jalapeno cheese sauce is bubbling up around the macaroni, about 30 minutes. If desired, add cream cheese stuffed halved jalapenos to the top to garnish and add extra spice during the last 15 minutes of baking.
- Remove and top with reserved bacon bits and additional sliced jalapenos, if desired.
- Allow to cool slightly then serve.
How to serve
Serve mac and cheese as a side dish for burgers, pulled pork, ribs and more. Or you can serve it as a main dish with a light and refreshing crisp salad on the side to contrast the creamy, rich, spicy mac and cheese.
It’s a great recipe for Superbowl parties and other football parties throughout the year. You can even turn it into mac and cheese bacon bites by pressing in a waffle iron until crispy (these mini mac and cheese waffles make great vessels for topping with tomatoes, bacon, and more!).
You can make a plain mac and cheese and include jalapenos and bacon as well as other toppings on the side for a mac and cheese bar that is always such a crowd pleaser.
The standard serving size for macaroni and cheese varies depending on whether it is being served as an appetizer, or a part of the meal as the side or as the main dish.
As a side dish the standard amount per serving is roughly ½ cup or 4 ounces of cooked macaroni and cheese. As a main dish the standard amount per serving is roughly 1 cup or 8 ounces of cooked mac and cheese.
This recipe yields about 4 pounds of cooked macaroni and cheese, or about 8 cups, enough mac and cheese for 12-16 servings as a side dish and 6-12 servings as a main dish.
How to store
Store mac and cheese refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or cover with foil and reheat in the oven.
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ½ pound sliced bacon
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 2 medium jalapenos half sliced and half diced
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 3 large scallions sliced, white and greens separated
- 16 ounces cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces gouda
- ¼ cup cream cheese
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder
- Bring a medium pan of heavily salted water to boil over high heat. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Then drain but do not rinse. Set pasta aside.1 pound elbow macaroni
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Shred 3 cups of cheddar cheese and cube remaining cup of cheese. Shred gouda. Chop bacon into roughly ¼” pieces and cook until evenly browned in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once browned remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and remove all but 2 tablespoons of bacon grease16 ounces cheddar cheese, ½ pound sliced bacon
- Add butter to bacon grease in pan and melt over medium low heat. Add jalapenos, scallion whites and chopped garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, over medium low heat until flour is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Then increase heat to medium and slowly whisk in milk. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick. Then remove from heat and stir in Dijon mustard, cream cheese, gouda and half the shredded cheddar cheese and season with nutmeg and cayenne.2 tablespoons salted butter, ¼ cup all-purpose flour, 3 cups whole milk, 2 medium jalapenos, 2 cloves garlic, 3 large scallions, 4 ounces gouda, ¼ cup cream cheese, ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder, ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Toss drained, but not rinsed, al dente macaroni in the jalapeno cheddar cheese sauce with scallion greens and most of the sliced bacon bits, reserving a handful of bacon for garnish. Stir in cubed cheddar cheese. And season to taste with salt and pepper.¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Then pour mixture evenly into a buttered shallow baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheddar cheese.
- Bake in preheated oven until cheesy topping is browned and cheese sauce is bubbling up around the macaroni, about 30 minutes. Add reserved bacon bits and cream cheese stuffed halved jalapenos, if desired, during the last 15 minutes..
- Remove and cool slightly before serving. Adding additional fresh sliced jalapenos if desired for extra spice.