Double-Cheese Macaroni + Green Chiles
Green chiles are the star of this 30-minute white cheddar mac and cheese with garlic and Monterey Jack.
Can you ever get too old for mac and cheese? I think not. Don’t get me wrong; I love a good fluorescent orange powdered cheese sauce just as much as the next person. But making a homemade macaroni and cheese recipe feels extra festive, cozy and nostalgic.
This creamy, comforting double-cheese macaroni recipe is ready in 30 minutes. It puts a fun spin on the classic flavor combo of green chile and cheddar.Jump to Recipe
Dare I say that this decadent white cheddar mac and cheese recipe with green chiles, garlic and Monterey Jack cheese even feels elegant? This is not the Kraft mac of your childhood. This easy macaroni and cheese recipe might surprise you with its simplicity!
You only need eight ingredients for this white cheddar mac and cheese recipe, plus salt. No fancy preparation or cooking techniques.
If you hear “cheese sauce” and start panicking at the thought of scrubbing burnt cheese off of your cookware fear not. This sauce is very creamy and isn’t cooked over high heat. Stick to the measurements in the recipe and you shouldn’t have any problems
A New Mexico-Inspired Green Chile Mac And Cheese
A variety of mild chiles will work well in this recipe, whether it’s a poblano or Anaheim chile. But if you’re in that late-summer/early-fall sweet spot when Hatch chiles are in season — by all means — GET THEM!
Hatch chiles are often quite mild when the chiles are cooked with their seeds removed, so this mac and cheese recipe shouldn’t pose a problem to any spice-sensitive diners or kids. Everyone’s taste buds are unique, but for perspective, I have a somewhat higher-than-average spice tolerance and I do not detect any heat in this Hatch chile recipe.
That being said, if you are crazy about that green chile flavor, feel free to throw an extra chile into the mix. Why not?! Life’s short. And Hatch chile season is even shorter, so take advantage of it while it’s here. In the off-season, you can absolutely substitute poblano or Anaheim chiles.
I like to play up the Mexican- and southwestern-inspired vibe of this green chile mac and cheese by serving it with a healthy sprinkling of cilantro. In my book, the more herbs, the better! This might sound sacrilegious, but I LOVE to serve white cheddar macaroni with a simple pico de gallo, a la the Baja mac and cheese that Panera Bread has removed from its menu (RIP). Sounds a little weird, but this is now the only way I will serve homemade mac and cheese! You might love it too.
Let’s get into it!
- Elbow pasta (macaroni)
- Large, mild green chiles (e.g. Hatch, poblano or Anaheim chiles)
- Garlic powder
- White Cheddar
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Heavy cream
- Milk (Anything from whole milk to oat milk will do)
- Salt and pepper
(Not pictured: Milk. Just pretend it’s there.)
Watch Me Make This
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How To Prepare Green Chiles For This Recipe
Like I mentioned before, be sure to remove the seeds before cooking to ensure your macaroni and cheese isn’t too hot.
Btw, DON’T TOUCH YOUR EYES after doing this! I cook with chiles all the time, but I’m embarrassed to say that I still sometimes forget to wash my hands after chopping chiles and rub my eyes without thinking. It’s not fun, so be wary of this!
~ Back to our regularly scheduled programming ~
I tend to de-seed my peppers by lobbing off the top, pulling out the seeds and blasting the hollowed out pepper under the faucet to make sure I’ve gotten every last one out. If you’re having trouble getting all of those seeds out, feel free to halve the chile lengthwise. I try to avoid this because I don’t like the mess of cleaning up seeds that inevitably scatter all over the cutting board.
I like to finely dice my peppers before cooking, but there are no rules to cooking. If you want a chunkier bite of chile, feel free to cut the peppers into strips or whatever size you like.
The Secret To Creamy Green Chile Mac And Cheese
Lots. Of. Cheese. Also: Starchy pasta water. It’s that simple!
We use two kinds of cheese in this recipe for a reason. It makes your mac and cheese super thick and creamy. If you wanted, you could even top with parmesan for an extra treat! Cook it low n’ slow to avoid scorching the cheese in this recipe.
This recipe calls for milk, but you could substitute for heavy cream if you wanted to make it EXTRA- extra-creamy.
When you drain your macaroni, be sure to set aside a small amount of the starchy pasta water (liquid gold). I like to keep a jar of pasta water in my fridge because nothing creates a creamy, thick pasta sauce like this stuff.
And if you overcook your macaroni and cheese sauce later or desire a thinner consistency, pasta water will be your savior.
How To Cook This Recipe On The Stovetop
Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box. Generously salt the pasta water. A good rule of thumb: Until it tastes like the sea.
Add butter into a medium-large pot (this will later be used to mix the pasta into the sauce, so pick something on the bigger side) over medium-high heat.
Once butter melts, add diced green chiles into the pot. Salt the green chiles and allow to saute until chiles start to change in color to a less bright, vivid shade of green. This isn’t an exact science, but you want to increase the complexity of the chiles’ flavor profile and flavor the butter that will soon form the base of our homemade mac and cheese sauce.
Turn the heat down to medium and stir in salt and garlic powder. Add in your cheeses and cream, stirring until cheeses have fully melted and ingredients have combined.
Add in your milk to thin out the sauce. Give it a taste and feel free to add any extra salt, pepper or other seasonings you might wish to add. Paprika, nutritional yeast, onion powder or sriracha would also be tasty here.
That’s it! Your sauce is ready. Add pasta into the sauce, stir until fully combined, and serve with cilantro or pico de gallo salsa, if desired.
Variation: Green Chile Mac And Cheese With Bacon
If you want to add some extra protein, bacon is a dream match for this recipe.
Before you add butter and green chiles into the pan, add approx. 10 slices of bacon, chopped, into the pan. Once the bacon starts to sweat fat and crisp up, continue with the second step of the recipe and add butter and green chiles.
Note: Since the bacon will emit plenty of fat, you may consider reducing the amount of butter by approx. 1 to 2 tablespoons, but that’s up to you.
Green Chile White Cheddar Mac And Cheese Recipe
- 2 pots
- 3 c. elbow macaroni pasta, approx. one 12-ounce box
- 1/2 c. butter typically one stick
- 2 Mild large green chile (e.g. Hatch, poblano, Anaheim) seeds removed and diced
- heaping 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 c. white cheddar grated
- 1 c. Monterey Jack grated
- 1/2 c. heavy cream
- 3/4 c. milk
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt + extra for seasoning chiles while they saute
- Cook macaroni according to instructions on box.
- Add butter into a medium-large pot over medium-high heat. Once butter melts, add diced chiles into the pot and sprinkle with a little bit of salt. Allow to saute for 7-8 minutes, until chiles start to change in color to a more muted, yellow-ish avocado green.
- Reduce heat to medium. Allow pan to cool for a few seconds, then add salt and garlic powder. Stir until thoroughly combined into chile mixture.
- Add cheeses and cream. Stir continuously until a cohesive sauce has formed. (Tip: If you allow sauce to cook too long and it becomes overly thick, add 1-2 tbsp. of pasta water).
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