Southwestern Mac and Cheese in Just 20 Minutes!

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Southwestern Mac & Cheese was born in an attempt to make something awesome to feed my picky bunch.  Munchkin is going through a new phase, aren’t these food phases fun at 3 years old?  “Mommy I don’t want green earbs”.  Yes, you read that right.  Green ‘ear’bs! Well, that pretty much means every meal is going to be a struggle.

Add that to the fight over eating any meat that isn’t covered in bread crumbs (aka chicken nuggets) or made into meatballs and meal time has become a little more challenging.  Now, my parents would probably say “if you don’t eat what’s on your plate, then you don’t eat”.  But, I can’t do that.  I guess I have had enough time working around Chad’s finicky palate.

Southwestern Mac and Cheese

Enter the Southwestern Mac & Cheese, made perfect with my favorite southwestern flavors.  I was going to serve this at Munchkin’s birthday party this past weekend.  Was going to, because even though I made it two times (have to make sure the recipe is perfectly developed), we still didn’t have enough left for company.

Chad, Munchkin and I all devoured this Mac & Cheese and your family will too!


With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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southwestern mac and cheese in bowl

Southwestern Mac and Cheese in Just 20 Minutes!

Donna Elick
Southwestern Mac and Cheese is truly a flavor explosion! Paprika and cumin give this dish an incredible smokiness, add a hint of spice from the chili powders and mix that together with the roasted green chiles to create a fabulous flavor combination.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • Handful salt to flavor the water
  • 4 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chili de arbol, (or cayenne pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cup milk
  • 8 ounces Mexican shredded cheese blend
  • 7 ounce can diced green chiles
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


  • Fill a large saucepan with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add a handful of salt and pasta. Cook until tender. About 7-9 minutes.
  • Add butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat; once butter is mostly melted add flour. Whisk for 1 minute, to cook the floury taste out of the mixture. Add spices (oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, chili de arbol, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine. Add milk, whisk well until combine. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until mixture comes together. Add cheese, stir until combined. Add green chiles, stir and reduce heat to low.
  • While pasta is cooking prepare tomatoes and cilantro. Drain and rinse black beans.
  • Strain pasta. Pour beans and pasta back into large saucepan. Pour cheese sauce over top. Mix to combine.
  • Pour pasta into serving dishes. Garnish with tomatoes and cilantro. Serve and enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 956cal | Carbohydrates: 122g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 1304mg | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 14g | Calcium: 641mg | Iron: 6mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

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  1. That mac n' cheese is to die for! thanks for sharing it at Wicked Good Wednesdays this past week. I'm going to need to make some of that!

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