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Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

You're going to love this Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese!

Combining all the best elements of jalapeno poppers (jalapenos, cream cheese, and breadcrumbs) with mac and cheese makes for one of my favorite mac and cheese recipes of all time.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 to 6
Calories 675 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the Mac and Cheese

  • 3 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 1/4 cup butter for the roux
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk or cream for a richer dish
  • 1 cup cream cheese cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella shredded
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar shredded
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more, to taste
  • 1 tbsp diced jalapenos use more for a spicier dish

For Breadcrumb Topping

  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Instructions
 

  • Preheat to 375F.
    Put a large pot of salted water on to boil and cook macaroni noodles for one minute less than package directions (since they'll go in the oven after). Set aside.
  • Grate cheese, dice jalapenos, cut cream cheese into cubes, and set aside. Begin to melt 4 tbsp (1/4 cup) of butter in a saucepan on medium heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add the diced jalapeno, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-high until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Stir regularly. 
  • Next, add the flour to the melted butter mixture. Once the butter and flour are mixed and begin to form a paste, SLOWLY add the milk and cream. Stir constantly!
  • Once the roux is gently bubbling and has thickened up a little bit, add the cubed cream cheese and cook on low heat for a few minutes until melted. Once the cream cheese has melted, turn off the heat. Now, add shredded cheese and stir gently, allowing the remaining heat in the roux to melt the cheese - this stops it from getting stringy. 
  • In a bowl, mix 1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs with 1 tbsp. of melted butter.
  • When the roux and macaroni are done, combine in a greased baking dish. Top with panko mixture and bake at 375F for about 15 minutes, or until the top is lightly golden. Keep an eye on it so the breadcrumbs don't burn.
  • Serve, and enjoy!

Notes

If you want a spicier mac and cheese, you can use more jalapenos and opt for spicy instead of mild (I use mild!)
Feel free to add more breadcrumbs if you want an even thicker, crunchier topping.
You can also add more jalapenos on top of the breadcrumbs if you want more jalapeno in every bite!

Nutrition

Calories: 675kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 30gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 977mgPotassium: 533mgFiber: 3gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 907IUCalcium: 542mgIron: 2mg
Keyword jalapeno popper, jalapeno popper mac and cheese, mac and cheese, mac of the month
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