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serving spoon with mac and cheese in it dripping down into dish
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5 from 5 votes

Chipotle Mac and Cheese

This Chipotle Mac and Cheese is loaded with smoked bacon and smoked paprika to add a gorgeous smoky flavour. It's ultra cheesy, spicy and bursting with flavour!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 897kcal
Cost: £2 / $2.50


  • Deep 12" Skillet & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Large Pot & Colander
  • Jug (for milk)
  • Grater
  • 8" x 12" Baking Dish (or similar size)
  • Serving Spoon
  • Whisk


  • 14oz / 400g Macaroni
  • 4 cups / 1litre Milk, at room temp
  • 9oz / 250g Bacon, diced
  • 3 cups / 300g Cheddar, grated
  • 1.5 cups / 150g Mozzarella, grated/shredded
  • 3 heaped tbsp Flour
  • 3 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1-2 tbsp Chipotle Paste
  • 1 tsp EACH Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/2 cup / 30g Panko Breadcrumbs, or as needed (see notes)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Oil Spray, as needed


  • In a pan over medium heat add your bacon and fry until nice and crispy with the fat full rendered. Keep bacon fat in the pan and melt in 3 tbsp butter, then stir in 3 heaped tbsp flour until a paste forms.
  • Gradually pour in 4cups/1litre milk, making sure you frequently whisk to ensure no lumps form. Ensure it has thickened before adding cheese (step 4), if it's still a very watery consistency the cheese will turn grainy and lose it's flavour. If the sauce is still watery once all the milk is poured in just simmer and stir until it begins to thicken.
  • Meanwhile, cook 14oz/400g pasta in salted boiling water until only JUST cooked. You want it still a bit hard. Pre heat oven to 200C/390F.
  • Add into the sauce: 1-2 tbsp chipotle paste, 1 tsp smoked paprika and garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder and salt & black pepper (to taste). Give it a good stir then turn off the heat. Stir in cheddar and mozzarella until fully melted. It may seem overly stringy at this point but it will smooth out once the pasta is added/when it's baked.
  • Stir in your al dente pasta until completely combined, then pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle over enough breadcrumbs to cover the top then liberally spray with oil.
  • Pop in the oven for 20-25mins for until golden and bubbly.



a) Panko - Panko breadcrumbs are great because they are very light and fairly big in comparison to regular breadcrumbs. You'll find them in most supermarkets/grocery stores in the Asian section. If you only have regular breadcrumbs that's fine. Alternatively you can pulse up some slightly stale bread and make your own breadcrumbs.
b) Chipotle Paste - Spice levels tend to vary from brand to brand, but I usually add 2 tbsp. It will mellow out slightly once baked. You'll find chipotle paste in most supermarkets/grocery stores, but if you can't get your hands on any just sub chipotle powder and work to preference.
c) Al dente pasta - Just another reminder to ensure you don't boil your pasta all the way, you want it still a bit hard because it will continue to bloat when it bakes.
d) Calories - based on using whole milk, 30g panko and sharing between 6:


Calories: 897kcal | Carbohydrates: 65.07g | Protein: 40.02g | Fat: 52.47g | Saturated Fat: 20.294g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.984g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9.191g | Trans Fat: 0.933g | Cholesterol: 103mg | Sodium: 879mg | Potassium: 668mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 11.46g | Vitamin A: 1355IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 735mg | Iron: 1.83mg