Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese is macaroni with a kick! This 3-cheese homemade mac and cheese recipe is quick & easy enough for weeknight dinner.
Everyone loves a classic macaroni and cheese recipe– but if you want something with a little more flavor then you will love the added combination of pepper jack cheese. There’s never a wrong time for mac and cheese and once you try this pepper jack macaroni, you’ll be looking for more ways to incorporate it into the menu plan.
It’s a fun and creative twist to the classic mac and cheese dish. Packed with cheesy flavor and a subtle spice it makes a perfect main dish or a side dish to serve with some sweet and tangy barbecue. Don’t worry, it isn’t too spicy but it does have just the right amount of flavor. With only a handful of common ingredients, you will be able to whip this up quickly and it is sure to become a family favorite.
-Elbow Macaroni: We’re going to need 16oz of cooked noodles, but you can use any fun shape you want. Elbows are just a suggestion. 😉
-Half and Half: A lighter and less fatty liquid option than heavy cream which is good because we’ll need 2 cups worth!
-Whole Milk: We only need a cup of milk but feel free to use 2% or a non-cow/s milk alternative if you have it on hand.
-Butter: 4 tablespoons of butter will be the start of our roux and allow us to get a flavorful start. You can use salted or unsalted butter, or even margarine if you prefer!
-Cheeses: I wasn’t kidding when I said this dish was packed with cheese. We need 3 triangles of Laughing cow pepper jack cheese, 1 1/2 cups of grated pepper jack cheese and another 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar cheese!
-Seasonings: Keeping the seasonings simple and common, we only need 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and paprika and another teaspoon of black pepper to really flavor this dish.
Preheat your oven or grill to 350F degrees.
Boil your noodles in a pot of water, cooking them for the lowest indicated time on the package. (If the package says to boil for 8-10 minutes, boil them for 8 minutes.) Set aside.
Melt your butter in a pan on medium heat. Add in the flour and then stir until the mixture bubbles.
Let the butter/flour mixture simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
After 5 minutes, gradually add in your milk and half and half. Stir slowly until your mixture is combined.
Add all of the pepper jack and 1 cup of the cheddar cheese to the mixture and then stir until the cheeses are melted.
Combine the noodles with the sauce in a large mixing bowl. Stir until combined. Note- If you don’t use all the melted cheese- save it top your mac and cheese with once it’s finished.
Pour your cheese and noodle mixture into a 9×13 pan and then top with the remaining 1\2 cup of cheddar cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Place the pan under the broiler until the cheese browns. Serve immediately.
Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese
- 16 oz Elbow Macaroni cooked to lowest indicated time
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 2 Tbsp Flour
- 3 Triangles Laughing Cow Pepper Jack Cheese
- 1.5 Cups Pepper Jack Cheese Grated
- 1.5 Cups Cheddar Cheese Grated
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1.5 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Boil noodles per package directions, cooking to lowest indicated time. (If the instructions say cook for 8-10 minutes, then cook for 8 minutes.) Drain and set aside.
- Melt your butter in a pan on medium heat and then add flour and stir until the mixture bubbles. Let that simmer for 5 minutes, stirring continually.
- After 5 minutes add the milk and half and half gradually. Whisk slowly until your mixture combines.
- Add the salt, pepper and paprika and continue to whisk.
- Add all pepper jack and 1 C. of cheddar cheese to the mixture and stir until melted.
- Combine noodles and sauce in a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. If you don't use all the melted cheese- save it top your mac and cheese with once it's finished.
- Pour your cheese and noodle mixture into a 9x13 pan and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melty. Place under the broiler until the cheese browns. Serve immediately.
I always prefer using Elbow Macaroni noodles for mac and cheese. They are the closest noodle to the classic mac and cheese you are probably familiar with. However, you can always switch it up and try something different if you’d like. Other good alternatives would be bow-tie, rotini, campanelle or shells.
What kind of cheese do you use for Mac and Cheese?
Your classic macaroni and cheese recipe typically uses a mixture of medium cheddar or colby jack. Homemade mac and cheese can be very versatile. For this Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese recipe you will want to use a mix of Pepper Jack Cheese and Cheddar Cheese. You can either grate it yourself from a block of cheese or buy it pre-grated.
You will also use Laughing Cow Pepper Jack Cheese which is like a soft cream cheese. You can find it in the cheese section at any grocery store. If you don’t have any and can’t make it to the store you can always leave it out or substitute for 1\4 cups of regular cream cheese and just add a little extra milk and Pepper Jack Cheese.
This mac and cheese recipe makes a lot so you will most likely have leftovers! You will want to store your leftovers in an airtight container and place in the fridge. If properly stored it should stay good for 3-5 days.
How do you reheat macaroni and cheese?
To reheat you can just add a little bit of milk and warm the noodles up in the microwave or on the stovetop. You could also cut the recipe in half and make a smaller batch if you don’t think you’ll need as much and to avoid having too many leftovers.
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Pepper Jack Cheese gives your homemade mac and cheese a delightful flavor that everyone will love. Our Homemade mac and cheese is made with a combination of pepper jack and cheddar cheese that will become a family favorite!