Tremendously creamy, perfectly cheesy, and with delicious green chilis for a flavorful touch, this green chili mac and cheese is a new favorite in our household! But be careful – if you make it once, you’ll be asked to make it again and again!
🌶️ What Makes This Recipe So Good
- Green chili mac and cheese is a really delicious take on the mac and cheese you know and love. There’s a rich and creamy cheese sauce, made with 2 types of cheeses, that gets an extra burst of flavor from diced green chile peppers. You know, “delicious” actually doesn’t cover it. “Incredible” isn’t enough, either. “Divine”, maybe?
- Like our Cheetos pizza recipe, this is a dish inspired by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Their cafeteria, Kay Kafe, makes a white green chili macaroni along with their traditional yellow macaroni, and after visiting the Kafe in person, I couldn’t resist making a version of my own.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Skip the prepackaged, preshredded cheeses. Instead, pick up blocks of cheese from the deli area and shred them yourself! It’s super easy to do, and the results are SO much better. The prepackaged stuff contains added fillers and starches to keep it from clumping. Those fillers also keep it from melting just like it should, which can make your cheese sauce grainy and unpleasant. Trust me. For the best green chili mac and cheese, shred your cheese at home.
- Dairy products can curdle and seize if they’re cold when you add them to hot ingredients. Bring your milk, half and half, and cheeses to room temperature (or as close as possible) before cooking with them. Don’t rush it if you forget, either. If you warm them up too quickly, you get the same results.
🍝 More Pasta Recipes We Love
- Shrimp Carbonara
- Baked Ziti Pasta
- Lemon Ricotta Pasta with Marinara
- TikTok’s Famous Baked Feta Pasta
- Gluten-Free Lasagna
- Tomato Florentine Soup
- Alfredo Linguini with Homemade Alfredo Sauce
For the Pasta
- 4 quarts water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pound elbow pasta uncooked
For the Green Chile Mac and Cheese
- 3 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese measured after shredding
- 3 cups shredded monterey jack cheese measured after shredding
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ cups half and half divided, at room temperature
- 1 ½ cups whole milk at room temperature
- ½ tablespoon salt more or less to taste
- ½ tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper more or less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 3 4-ounce cans diced green chile peppers 12 ounces total, drained
Suggested Garnishes (All Optional)
- finely chopped fresh cilantro
- Cooking spray or butter
- 3-quart baking dish 9×13
- Large pot
- Large wooden spoon
- large mixing bowl
- 3 small bowls
- Large saucepan
- Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit. Spray baking dish with cooking spray or grease with butter and set aside.
- Add shredded cheddar cheese and shredded monterey jack cheese to large mixing bowl. Toss cheeses together until well blended, then divide mixture between 3 small bowls. Place 3 cups of cheese mixture in one bowl, 1 ½ cups of cheese mixture in second bowl, and remaining 1 ½ cups of cheese mixture in third bowl. Set bowls aside.
For the Pasta
- Fill large pot with water and place on stovetop over high heat. Bring water to boil, then add 1 tablespoon salt and stir to incorporate.
- When water begins to boil again, add dry elbow pasta and stir to incorporate. Cook pasta 1 minute less than indicated on package instructions.
- Once pasta is cooked to al dente, pour pasta and water into colander and drain well. Set drained pasta aside.
For the Cheese Sauce
- Heat large saucepan over medium heat. When pan is warm, add butter and let melt completely.
- When butter is melted, sprinkle in all-purpose flour and whisk to combine. Cook mixture 1 minute, whisking frequently, until lightly browned.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Slowly add 2 cups of half and half to saucepan, whisking constantly while adding, until mixture is smooth. Once smooth, pour in whole milk and remaining half and half. Whisk until mixture is fully combined and smooth.
- Return saucepan to medium heat. Simmer, whisking frequently, until mixture has thickened to creamy soup-like consistency.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add salt, pepper, and paprika, and whisk to incorporate. Add 3 cups shredded cheese blend in increments, whisking until smooth between each increment. Repeat until all cheese has been added and completely melted, and mixture is completely smooth.
- Add drained chile peppers and stir to incorporate.
For the Green Chili Mac and Cheese
- Transfer cheese sauce to large mixing bowl and add drained pasta. Gently stir until pasta and sauce are fully combined.
- Transfer 50% of pasta mixture to prepared baking dish and spread pasta out into one even layer. Top pasta with 1 ½ cups shredded cheese blend, making sure to spread cheese out evenly across top of pasta layer.
- Add remaining 50% of pasta mixture to baking dish and spread pasta out to cover shredded cheese completely. Top pasta layer with remaining 1 ½ cups shredded cheese blend.
- Place baking dish in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes or until top layer of cheese is fully melted and lightly golden brown.
- Carefully remove baking dish from oven and divide into preferred portions. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro if desired and serve warm.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.