Garganelli Mac ‘n Cheese with Jalapeños & Bacon


Mac & Cheese


6 appetizer servings

This Garganelli Mac ‘N Cheese is a perfect game day recipe for any crowd. Enjoy this free downloadable Game Day cookbook now.

What could possibly make mac and cheese better? Bacon. And jalapeños. Spice up your favorite mac and cheese with enough smoky bacon and roasted jalapenos to really make that dish sing. If you regularly adorn your meals with hot sauce or love the kick of spicy peppers, this jalapeño mac and cheese recipe is for you. It’s easy to make and will add a whole new level of delicious complexity to rich mac and cheese. Serve it up on game day or save it for yourself—either way, this jalapeño mac and cheese will quickly become a go-to option. Once you’ve cooled off from the zesty jolt of the jalapenos, be sure to rate and review the dish to share your thoughts with other spice-enthusiasts.

Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar is an artisanal-grade cheese that’s bold and creamy with a little bite. This specialty cheddar will provide the perfect richness to balance the heat of the fresh jalapeño peppers. The 4 ounces of applewood-smoked bacon adds that element of bacon-y goodness that can elevate any dish. ¾ cup of panko breadcrumbs complement the cheesy, spicy, smoky flavors of the dish with a little buttery crunch that is irresistible. If you want to dial up the spiciness, feel free to add a dash of your favorite hot sauce.

Regular mac and cheese is good, but jalapeño mac and cheese with bacon is great. Why not go the extra mile? Your taste buds will thank you. Don’t forget to write a review to let us know how you enjoyed the dish. Feel free to share any tips or tricks to make this mac and cheese recipe even more delectable.


  • 2 fresh jalapeño peppers
  • 4 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, diced
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Cabot Unsalted Butter

  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 2 cups whole milk, heated to just below simmer
  • 12 ounces Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, or Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar, grated (about 3 cups)

  • salt to taste
  • 8 ounces dry garganelli or penne pasta


  1. ROAST jalapeños directly over stovetop gas burner or under preheated broiler, turning with tongs, until skins are blistered all over.
  2. TRANSFER peppers to small plastic bag and let stand. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard stems, skin and seeds. Chop flesh into fine dice and set aside.
  3. COOK bacon in skillet until lightly browned; transfer with slotted spoon to small bowl. Add breadcrumbs, along with small amount of bacon fat to moisten, combining well.
  4. MELT butter over low heat In medium saucepan. Add flour and whisk to combine. Let cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  5. WHISK in milk. Continue cooking, stirring often, until sauce is simmering and thickened. Let sauce bubble gently until quite thick, about 10 minutes longer, stirring often so it doesn’t scorch on bottom.
  6. REMOVE from heat and stir in cheddar; when cheese is melted, season sauce with salt as needed.
  7. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until al dente; drain and return to pot. Add cheese sauce and reserved jalapeños and stir together.
  8. TRANSFER pasta to 2-quart baking dish or six individual ramekins. Top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubbling throughout.




per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
33 grams
Saturated Fat
16.5 grams
852 milligrams
43 grams
1 grams
29.5 grams
500 milligrams
Image of Garganelli Mac ‘n Cheese with Jalapeños & Bacon

Cheese As You Please

Our naturally-aged cheddars have 0g of lactose per serving! So go ahead, dig in.

Let's Get Cookin'