Spicy Mac and Cheese

Give your dinner a kick with spicy mac and cheese! Enjoy creamy baked macaroni and cheese with jalapeno peppers, creole seasoning, and crispy breadcrumbs on top.

spicy mac and cheese in a bowl and baking dish.

Homemade Mac and Cheese with a Kick

Is there anyone who doesn’t love mac and cheese? You might be a devotee of the kind that comes in a box, or you might delight in making a gourmet mac and cheese with three different types of cheese. However you prepare it, there’s no question, mac and cheese is a reliable and delicious crowd-pleaser.

But what if your comfort food favorite came with a little bit of a kick? If you haven’t banished your inner child, you’re probably often craving a big, creamy bowl of mac and cheese. And, because mac and cheese is a creamy dish, spice complements it perfectly.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese is an excellent take on this classic comfort food. This spicy mac and cheese recipe is also great for a potluck party.

What’s Different About This Mac and Cheese Recipe?

This easy, creamy mac and cheese recipe has a hint of spice for a fun twist! This recipe is a wonderful creamy version that has a bit of a kick. The juice from the jalapeño peppers adds just the right touch, and while it is a spicy mac and cheese, it is not too hot. 

What Makes This Spicy Mac and Cheese Recipe So Good?

This mac and cheese spicy recipe succeeds on many different levels. It’s far from being one-dimensional because it combines layers of flavors. Also, two types of cheese are used to provide an excellent cheese flavor.

By using seasoned salt and layering with jalapeño juice, you get a spice kick and lots of flavors. The creamy, cheesy sauce makes this dish perfect for enjoying any meal.

Do the Jalapenos in This Spicy Mac and Cheese Recipe Make This Dish Too Hot?

The good news is that this spicy mac and cheese recipe will not light your tongue on fire nor make you feel you’ve entered the 9th level of Dante’s Inferno! Why is that? Well, a couple of things are going on here that really help.

  1. The heavy cream and the cream cheese help to reduce the heat of the pickled jalapeños.
  2. Pickled jalapeños aren’t as hot as their fresh cousins. Learn more about why pickled jalapenos are less spicy than fresh peppers.

Why You Should Try This Mac and Cheese Spicy Recipe

Don’t miss out on this wonderfully creamy mac and cheese because you think the jalapeños will make it too hot. This dish isn’t nearly as spicy as you think it might be, and even your kids can enjoy their favorite family-friendly meal with a kick.

It’s creamy and cheesy like a traditional recipe, but it’s got something extra that makes it unique. The jalapeños add just the right amount of spice, and the breadcrumbs add a satisfying crunch.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese Ingredients

This spicy macaroni and cheese casserole recipe takes this familiar and delicious comfort food to the next level. With its spicy cheese sauce, you will have people begging for seconds! Here’s what you need:

spicy mac and cheese ingredients on a tray.

How to Make Spicy Mac and Cheese

  1. Cook the macaroni in a large pot and drain well according to the package directions.
  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat on the stovetop, add the cream cheese, and mix until blended.
  3. Add the heavy cream and the jalapeño juice.
cream cheese mixture in a pan.
  1. Mix in the Cheddar and the sliced jalapeños.
  2. Add the salt and Tony Chachere’s seasoning. 
mac and cheese sauce in a pan.
  1. Layer your casserole dish with cooked macaroni and the cheese mixture.
cooked macaroni in the bottom of a baking pan.
  1. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.

Note: Keep the leftover jalapeño juice. It makes a wonderful addition to soups.

a bowl of spicy mac and cheese and a fork.

Recipe Notes

For best results, always shred your cheese yourself. Store-bought shredded cheeses are often coated with anti-clumping preservatives that prevent them from melting smoothly.

Make breadcrumbs at home. Learn how to make bread crumbs. Or, make homemade Panko breadcrumbs.

Recipe Variations

This easy, creamy baked mac and cheese with a hint of spice is ready in under an hour and is very easy to customize. Here are some suggestions:

  • Veggies: Roasted garlic, caramelized onion, broccoli, spinach, kale, and diced tomatoes all taste great in this spicy mac and cheese recipe.
  • Protein: to make your mac and cheese into a full meal, stir in fully cooked chicken, chorizo, andouille sausage, diced ham, or prosciutto.
  • Bacon: Top this mac with some crispy bacon pieces. Bacon bits add a nice little chew.
  • Cheese: This macaroni and cheese is excellent when you use pepper jack cheese. Or use a combination of cheeses – three kinds of cheese that work well together for mac and cheese are white or sharp Cheddar cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan.
  • Pasta: Use shells instead of elbow macaroni.

Cheddar provides that classic mac and cheese taste, melted mozzarella has that stretchy quality for fantastic texture, and parmesan adds a salty, umami flavor.

What to Serve With Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a must for a holiday side dish. You can also serve it with steamed vegetables or a salad to make a well-rounded meal that everyone will love. Here are some more suggestions to go with your spicy macaroni and cheese:

How to Store Leftover Mac and Cheese

Storing: When you have mac and cheese leftovers, you want to ensure it doesn’t dry out or turn into an unappetizing plate after reheating. Transfer the leftovers to an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Make Ahead: Make the dish as directed, except do not bake, and let it cool completely. Cover it with an airtight lid and store it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator and bake it the day you serve it.

Note: Never place a cold baking pan made of glass or ceramic into a hot oven, as it can shatter.

overhead view of spicy mac and cheese in a bowl and baking dish.

Love Mac and Cheese? Try These Recipes!

Favorite Casserole Side Dishes

Check out more of my easy casserole dishes and the best side dish recipes on CopyKat!

spicy mac and cheese in a bowl and baking dish.

Spicy Mac and Cheese

You don't want to miss out on this creamy macaroni and cheese with jalapenos.
5 from 5 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Macaroni and Cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 548kcal


  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup juice from a jar of jalapeños
  • 1/2 pound cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup jarred sliced jalapeños
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 1 pound macaroni prepared according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Add the cream cheese and mix until blended.
  • Add the heavy cream and jalapeño juice and whisk.
  • Mix in the cheddar, stirring until the cheese is completely melted.
  • Mix in the sliced jalapeños, salt, and Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and continue whisking until all ingredients are completely incorporated.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick spray.
  • Layer the bottom of the pan with half of the cooked macaroni. Cover the macaroni with half of the cheddar mixture.
  • Add the remaining macaroni followed by the remaining cheddar mixture.
  • Dust the top with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.


Recipe Variations
  • Add some cooked linked sausage and turn this into a main dish.
  • This macaroni and cheese is great when you use pepper jack cheese.
  • This dish is really best eaten in one sitting, you can reheat it, but it gets a little dry the second time around.


Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 1093mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1910IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 207mg | Iron: 1.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Katie

    5 stars
    SO delicious! I thought the jalapenos with the juice were going to be too much and too spicy, but it was perfect. I’d use the rue (minus the Jalapeno’s, just the juice) for a soup, too!

    I used panko breadcrumbs, and more than what the recipe called for to top off the mac and cheese. Soaked up some of the grease I thought I’d see on the top, and added the perfect texture to each bite.

  2. Cindy Ardoin

    Many thanks for including Tony Chachere’s in your recipe! Mac -n- Cheese happens to be my personal favorite food in this world!

    Cindy Ardoin
    Food Scientist
    Tony Chachere’s

  3. Barbie

    do you bake it or what, after putting in loaf pan?? what temp and how long??
    Recipe has been updated. Thanks for pointing out me leaving part of it off!

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