Creamy and cheesy, with wonderful lingering heat, this green chile mac and cheese is a keeper, transforming the quintessential comfort food into a dish that is positively irresistible.
Macaroni and Cheese with Green Chiles
Did you know that you can make creamy, rich, and saucy stovetop macaroni and cheese with green chiles, from scratch in about the same amount of time it takes to cook a box of store-bought mac and cheese?
This easy stovetop recipe for mac and cheese gets made at least a couple of times a month in our house. So, it is past time for me to share a green chile variation.
Four years ago, I took my oldest son out to Rusconi’s restaurant (home of our beloved truffle mac and cheese) for a fancy dinner to celebrate submitting the last photos for my third cookbook. That night, he tried their green chile macaroni and cheese and has been hounding me to make a version of it ever since.
Side note: Are you wondering why I took just one kid out for dinner to celebrate? That would be because he washed every single one of the approximately 42,719 dishes that were used in the recipe testing and photographing of The Weeknight Dessert Cookbook. He was a rockstar of an assistant in the kitchen that year.
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
Famous love songs have been written based on my relationship with green chile. Not really, but if you only knew. There are endless ways to use this often mild and sometimes very spicy chile.
That makes it a great fit for pretty much everyone, whether you love the heat like my family, or prefer things a bit milder. Just pick the variety of chile based on your preference.
In this green chile mac and cheese, the creamy sauce serves to calm the heat in a big way. So, this is a great place to make a foray into spicy food, even if you don’t typically enjoy it.
Green Chile Mac and Cheese Recipe
You’ll need the following ingredients to make this recipe:
- elbow macaroni
- heavy cream and whole milk
- yellow or dijon mustard
- chopped green chile (This is my favorite brand and lucky for me, it’s available at our Costco here in Ohio.)
- shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
- garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper
In a large pot, bring about the water to a boil and add salt. Stir to dissolve and add the pasta. Cook the noodles until they are al dente, stirring frequently. It should still have a nice chew to it. Then, drain it and do not rinse.
In the same pot used for the pasta, add the cream and ½ cup of milk over medium heat. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining milk with the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until smooth.
When the milk on the stove begins to steam (not boil!) add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the milk thickens slightly, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the mustard and green chile. Then, add the shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stirring to melt. Remove from the heat once all the cheese has melted. Stir in the salt and pepper.
Return the noodles to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Taste and add salt, only if needed.
Note: You can replace the milk with additional heavy cream (for a total of 1 ½ cups heavy cream), and then skip the flour. Just warm the cream and spices to steaming and add the cheese as directed in the recipe.
This green chile mac and cheese recipe CAN be made gluten-free by substituting brown rice flour and GF pasta. It is super tasty that way, but to be totally honest, it is not quite as creamy as the traditional recipe. GF pasta and flours simply are not equal in this case.
Green Chili Mac and Cheese
If you like the flavor and heat in this green chili mac and cheese, I highly recommend trying these green chile chicken enchiladas. They are ready to eat in just 30 minutes!
Green Chile Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup whole milk divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon granulated onion or onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon yellow or dijon mustard
- 7 ounces chopped green chile about ⅔ cup
- 4 ounces freshly shredded cheddar cheese about 1½ cups
- 4 ounces freshly shredded Monterey Jack cheese about 1½ cups
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper adjust to taste
- In a large pot, bring about 4 quarts of water to a boil. Bring the water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. Stir to dissolve and add the pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente, stirring frequently and taking care not to overcook. The pasta should still have a nice chew to it. Drain and do not rinse.
- In the same pot used for the pasta, add the cream and ½ cup of milk over medium heat. In a separate bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup of milk with the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Whisk until smooth.
- When the milk on the stove begins to steam (not boil!) add the flour mixture and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the milk thickens slightly, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the mustard and green chile. Add the shredded cheese, a handful at a time, stirring to melt. Remove from the heat once all the cheese has melted. Stir in the salt and pepper.
- Return the pasta to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to coat. Taste and add salt, only if needed.