Spicy Mac and Cheese

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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! 

titled image for spicy mac and cheese

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!

spicy mac and cheese ingredients and spices to add to mac and cheese in bowl

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.
making roux for mac and cheese sauce

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whisking sauce in pot

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.

pouring cheese sauce over macaroni for pepper jack mac and cheese

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.

You could even bake bacon and chop it up, or use leftover shredded chicken and mix either in as well.

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

spicy macaroni and cheese, close up

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Other Spicy Meals


spicy mac and cheese on a fork

Spicy Mac and Cheese

Donna Elick
Spicy Mac and Cheese is the best comfort food meal! With our recipe, you can have pepper jack mac and cheese on the table in 20 minutes!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 6

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Donna’s Notes

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Adjust the salt and pepper to taste – we used about 1/2 teaspoon of each in the cheese sauce. Be sure to salt your pasta water so that the pasta is infused.
Tillamook cheese is always delicious. Grate the cheese yourself as packaged cheeses are coated with non-sticking agents and can prevent your sauce from melting into smooth deliciousness.
You could also pour the finished mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with additional cheese over the top (even add some breadcrumbs) and bake at 350° until the top is bubbly and browning for a delicious baked mac and cheese.
Saute 1-2 cloves of minced garlic in the butter before adding the flour to infuse the mac and cheese with a bit of garlic flavor.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 632cal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 386mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 3g | Calcium: 533mg | Iron: 2mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled collage for best macaroni and cheese recipe

Originally published April 2015, updated and republished April 2022.

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3 Comments

  1. This sounds delicious! You say to add seasoning packet but I don't see it in the ingredients list. Pinning to try!

    1. Hi Kim !! The packets she is referring to are the cheese sauce packets that are in the boxes of the mac and cheese. 🙂 I'm going to try this soon too !!! 😀

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! I am a huge mac and cheese fan, and this recipe just blew me away. It is so gooey, flavorful, and delicious with just the right amount of kick! I will be making this again for sure!

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