Spicy Mac and Cheese is made with a few simple ingredients, but certainly isn’t lacking in flavor. With our recipe, you can have pepper jack mac and cheese on the table in 20 minutes! Tender bites of pasta smothered in an incredibly creamy sauce will always be the ultimate comfort food any day of the week!
Homemade cheese sauce is so much easier to prepare than you might think, and it blows away anything you’ll find in a box. Even better, you can adjust the amounts or add extra spices and ingredients to make a one-of-a-kind meal for your family!
Spicy Mac and Cheese
It’s hard to pick my best mac and cheese recipe when I have so many mac n cheese recipes to choose from, but this one is definitely one of our favorites! Don’t worry, there are plenty of other options if you’re sensitive to heat.
If you love the spiciness of this Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese, try this spicy sausage and potato casserole too. You could also make a pot of just the creamy cheese sauce (with the help of Velveeta) to drizzle over veggies, nachos, breakfast, and more!
Spices To Add To Mac and Cheese
While most of the flavor in this spicy mac and cheese comes from the sharp cheddar and Pepper Jack cheeses, there are plenty more ways to doctor up the dish!
Add in one or several of the following spices to the sauce after whisking in the milk:
- Garlic powder – Honestly, you can add this to just about any dish for extra flavor!
- Onion powder – Another staple seasoning that enhances recipes without making you cry.
- Cayenne powder– For an earthy heat and a little extra color.
- Paprika – This mild spice adds color and flavor. Use smoked paprika for a bolder taste.
- Dry mustard – Adds a bit of tang to cut through the richness of the sauce.
- Red pepper flakes – Kick things up a notch with a sprinkle or two in your spicy mac n cheese!
- Italian herbs – Choose from oregano, basil, and marjoram or use a combination of all three.
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Spicy Mac and Cheese FAQ
Can I bake the Pepper Jack mac and cheese?
Sure! Prepare the recipe as directed, then transfer to a large, greased baking dish. Sprinkle the top with about 1 cup of breadcrumbs (plain or Panko) combined with some melted butter.
Bake at 350°F until the top is bubbly and starts to brown, about 15 minutes.
Can I use a different type of noodle?
The twists and ridges of cellentani noodles help to grab onto the creamy sauce so each bite is packed with flavor! If you can’t find any at your local store, feel free to use rotini, penne, or regular elbow pasta instead.
What goes with spicy macaroni and cheese?
I love to add andouille or smoked sausage for a protein-packed meal! Slice the links and brown them in a skillet on the stove before stirring them in with the pasta.
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours.
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Other Spicy Meals
Spicy Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound cellentani pasta
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 4 ounces
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, 8 ounces
- Fill a large stockpot with water. Add 1 tablespoon sea salt to the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add cellentani pasta to the water once it boils and cook until al dente.
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
- Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter, and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Cook the flour until it is bubble and begins to turn brown – this gives the base a nice flavor.
- While whisking constantly, slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture. Whisk until smooth and the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add the cheeses, one handful at a time, and whisk until melted and smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the drained, cooked cellentani and toss to coat.
- Serve immediately.
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.
Originally published April 2015, updated and republished April 2022.
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