Talk about feel-good food. Bacon jalapeño mac and cheese delivers a mammoth amount of happiness to your mouth: creamy, meaty, and spicy. Fresh jalapeño peppers provide a nice bright bite that always pairs well with bacon. Don’t use canned jalapeños here, the fresh jalapeño brightness is a perfect food foil for salty bacon. And it all goes down so smooth with lots and lots of cheese.
If the overall spiciness of this recipe is of concern, lessen the number of jalapeño peppers used. Two to three jalapeños will still do the trick. Or, if you’re ready to play with a little more fire, ramp up your bacon jalapeño mac and cheese by swapping in serrano peppers. They provide a solid heat bump (up to twice the heat) for those more heat-inclined with a comparable bright, fresh flavor.
Like this recipe? You’ll love these too:
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- Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This grilled cheese recipe may become your go-to from now on.
Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat water to a boil in a saucepan or pot, then cook the pasta to al dente (as per instructions on the pasta package).
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place the strips of bacon evenly across the baking sheet. Add the jalapeño slices amid the bacon strips. Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the bacon is cooked well.
- Remove the bacon and jalapeños from the oven, and transfer them to a paper towel covered plate.
- In a separate saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and milk. Heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted. Add the cheddar cheese and Velveeta. Continue to heat the ingredients, stirring often, until the cheeses are melted and the sauce is smooth.
- Chop the bacon and the jalapeños (if desired to have the jalapeños in smaller pieces).
- Combine the pasta and cheese sauce, then add the bacon, jalapeños, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Stir well, then place into a baking casserole dish.
- Place the mac and cheese into the oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes (or until the top is a light golden brown). Remove from oven, allow it to cool for 5 minutes, and serve.