This Spicy Mac and Cheese is made with a 3 cheese blend, kicked up with fresh jalapeños and baked in the oven. With added bacon this truly is the ultimate mac and cheese!
Seriously, mac and cheese doesn’t get more delicious than this. Mac and cheese with bacon? Amazing. Spicy mac and cheese? Love it. But put them together??? Oh Jesus, my waistline’s in trouble here…
I’m an absolute sucker for mac and cheese, I really am. But whenever I make it I do try and put a little twist on it.
Mac and cheese with bacon is a no brainer. Ever since putting it in my gnocchi mac and cheese I now can’t go without it. Because bacon + cheese = heaven. Simple maths.
The second aspect of this mac and cheese is the spice, and this came about a little differently.
I don’t know about you but I douse pretty much anything edible in hot sauce, mac and cheese included. So creating a spicy mac and cheese makes complete sense to me. Having said that I was conscious not to just chuck in some hot sauce or chilli flakes and just be done with it. In such case I’ve added a range of spicy ingredients which together actually add a delicious flavour to the dish.
Spicy Mac and Cheese ‘spice’
- Fresh jalapeño
- Hot Sauce
- Cayenne Pepper
None of the above used just for the sake of it, but actually to create a really deep gorgeous spicy flavour.
3 Cheese Mac and Cheese
When it comes to the cheese, I keep it classic with cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan. Nothing OTT, but for me these 3 cheeses work absolute wonders.
Having said that gruyere works great in mac and cheese and since this is a spicy mac and cheese, pepper jack would also be a great choice!
Alrighty, let’s take a quick look at how easy this is to make shall we?
How to make Spicy Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Fry bacon until crisp, then add jalapeños and fry until soft.
- Melt in butter, then stir in flour until a paste forms.
- Slowly whisk in milk, then add your spices.
- Turn off heat and add your cheese.
- Add your pasta.
- Combine until fully coated.
Baked Mac and Cheese
For me a mac and cheese ain’t a mac and cheese unless it’s baked. I don’t know why but it always makes me a little sad when I see mac and cheese in a pan then served up straight away. Baking it in the oven enhances those cheesy flavours so much. PLUS, you get a gorgeous crispy top.
Baked Mac and Cheese Topping
- Layer 1 – Parmesan
- Layer 2 – Breadcrumbs
- Layer 3 – Jalapeno
- Layer 4 – Oil Spray
Then simply pop it in the oven until golden and bubbly.
If you’ve sliced your jalapeño really thin then you might want to chuck them on half way through, just to prevent them from burning to a crisp.
The smell in your kitchen is going to be an absolute blessing!
What to serve with Mac and Cheese
Honestly with mac and cheese I tend to go solo, but here’s a few ideas if you fancy a feast:
- Homemade Popcorn Chicken
- Blooming Onion
- Pizza Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Smokey BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Triple Cheese Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Bacon
So, to jazz up your mac and cheese game be sure to add some spice and chuck in some bacon! Trust me, you’ll never go back to regular mac and cheese again 😏
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How to make Spicy Mac and Cheese with Bacon (Full Recipe & Video)
- 14oz / 400g Elbow Pasta (or other short cut pasta)
- 9oz / 250g Streaky Bacon, diced
- 3 Fresh Jalapeños, 2 finely diced & 1 sliced into rounds, deseeded as desired
- 4 cups / 1 litre Milk, at room temp
- 2 cups / 200g Cheddar, grated
- 2 cups / 200g Mozzarella, shredded
- 1 cup / 70g Parmesan, grated (save half for top)
- 1/2 cup / 30g Breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3 tbsp Flour
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Hot Sauce, or to preference
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to preference
- Oil Spray
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
Fry your bacon over medium heat until your desired texture. Add jalapeño and fry for a couple of minutes until soft. Drain away excess fat if necessary, then melt in your butter.
Stir in your flour until a paste forms, then gradually stir in your milk until lump free. Add your mustard, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne and hot sauce, then allow to bubble until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 200c/390f and cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente (take a few mins off the packet instruction, you want it still quite hard).
Once thickened, turn off heat and stir in your cheddar, mozzarella and half your parmesan. Taste for seasoning. Add your pasta and transfer to a baking dish.
Top with the rest of your parmesan, then breadcrumbs, then the rest of your jalapeño and finish with by spraying with oil. Pop in the oven for 20-25 mins or until golden a bubbly.
Watch how to make it!
a) Baking Jalapeños - If you've sliced them particularly thin to go on top then consider popping them on half way through, just to prevent them from burning to a crisp.
b) Consistency - I like my mac and cheese quite saucy, especially because it thins out whilst baking. However if you like a 'thicker' mac and cheese consider using 3 cups of milk, but do take into consideration it gets soaked up quite significantly in the oven.
Looking for more fun Mac and Cheese recipes? Check out my Baked Camembert Mac and Cheese!