Go Back
+ servings
A skillet of jalapeno popper mac and cheese topped with crispy breadcrumbs, cilantro and bacon.

Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

This jalapeno popper mac and cheese is a creamy and spicy blend with four cheeses, bacon, jalapenos and a crispy topping. The ultimate macaroni and cheese recipe!
Course Main
Cuisine American
Keyword jalapeno mac and cheese, jalapeno popper mac and cheese, spicy mac and cheese
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 588kcal
Author Sara Welch


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pound short pasta such as cavatappi or elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese can also use Monterey Jack or regular orange cheddar
  • 1 cup white American cheese shredded or diced
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • 8 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup minced jalapenos fresh or pickled, remove seeds and veins to keep the heat level down
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • additional bacon and jalapenos for garnish optional


  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour, then whisk until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour in the water and whisk until smooth and just thickened. 
  • Add the milk and whisk until combined. 
  • Stir in the macaroni, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper, then bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pasta is done.
  • Turn the heat to low, then stir in the cheddar, American and cream cheeses. Keep stirring until the sauce is smooth.  Stir in the jalapenos and bacon.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and butter. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the macaroni.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until topping is light brown. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve, garnished with additional bacon and jalapenos if desired.


Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 780mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 995IU | Calcium: 497mg | Iron: 1.7mg