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Outrageously Creamy Hatch Chile Baked Mac And Cheese

My biggest problem with baked mac and cheese is the fact that it almost never as creamy as stovetop mac. The high heat often splits the sauce so you're left with a disappointing grainy mess. This recipe solves that problem by utilizing the sodium citrate already in American cheese. This creates the most velvety sauce, and the hatch chiles bring a delicious tangy heat that perfumes the whole dish.


Prep Time: Cook Time: Serves:

5 Minutes 50 Minutes 6 Servings (more as a side)


450g of fun pasta - cavatappi is my go to (1 box)

350 ml of evaporated milk

200g american cheese

150g pepperjack

113g can of hot green chiles

1 jalapeno

1 garlic clove

226g cream cheese (1 block)

3g seasoning salt

Butter for cooking

Reserved pasta water

Step 1: Prep The Ingredients

For the most flavorful mac, you need a little bit of aromatic goodness. Mince 1 clove of garlic, dice 1 seeded jalapeno for some heat, and then drain one small can of hot hatch chiles. These are going to perfume the cheese sauce with heat and acidity, it’s a wonderful thing. To prep these cheeses, simply tear the American slices into smaller pieces for more even melting. The pepperjack can be grated on the large wholes of a box grater.

Step 2: Make The Sauce

In a pot over medium heat, add in a little butter then drop in the drained chiles and jalapeno. You want to cook these down until their water is pretty much gone and they’ve softened. This is also a great time to get a pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta. Once the veggies are soft, add in your garlic and cook that for a minute until it's fragrant. Add in your 350ml can of evaporated milk and let that begin to warm through. Turn the heat down to medium low and then add in the American cheese to gently melt. Start with the American here so the sodium citrate is in the pot by the time the pepperjack goes in.

Once the American is melted, you can add your pepperjack in 2 batches, just to be sure it fully emulsifies into the sauce. Add in your cream cheese and let that melt in as well and this sauce is pretty much ready to go. Season this with your seasoning salt and let this sit on low so you can boil the pasta.

Step 3: Cook The Pasta And Mix With The Cheese Sauce

Preheat your oven to 400f. Cook your pasta in a pot of salted boiling water to 2 minutes less than the lowest time on the box. If it says 8 minutes, go for 6. Remove about a cup of pasta water and save it for the mixing process, as this will need to be nice and liquidy before it goes into the oven. If there isn’t enough moisture, the final dish will be a little dry after baking. Drain your pasta and mix it directly into the cheese sauce. To get this ready for the oven, you need to add enough pasta water so this is much more liquidy. Check the video for exact reference. Pour that into a baking dish and top it with a handful of shredded cheese, then cover it with foil.

Step 4: Bake

This can go into a 400f oven for 25 minutes. If you were making this ahead of time, pour it into the dish and let it cool. Then, store it in the fridge and you’ll be able to go from the fridge to the oven to bake, it will just need 35-40 minutes to get nice and bubbly. Once you see bubbling, you can remove the foil and turn on the low broiler (if you oven has that setting). Move it to the top rack and brown it at 2 minute intervals. I find my broiler can be pretty uneven, so I have to rotate the pan a bunch. If you don’t have a broiler, simply let it go for another few minutes uncovered until it’s browned to your liking. Remove this from the oven and let it cool while you try your hardest not to burn your mouth. This needs quite a bit of time to cool, but I can't force you not to eat it from the pan. Cheers!



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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