Smoked Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese
Smoked Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese is prepared on an electric smoker. It is a creamy homemade mac and cheese loaded with flavor from bacon and jalapenos and topped with breadcrumbs.
Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz bacon chopped
- 2 jalapenos sedded, membranes removed, and diced
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 16 oz uncooked elbow macaroni noodles
- 2 c. water
- 1 c. whole milk
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 c. sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 2 c. mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 c. breadcrumbs
- 2 jalapenos sliced thinly
Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F according to manufacturer's directions
Place a cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Brown the bacon and drain grease off. Add diced jalapenos to the bacon and cook 2-3 minutes, until softened.
Stir in the cream cheese into skillet and mix until combined.
Pour noodles, water, milk and cream into skillet. Cook, stirring regularly, until the noodles are just starting to be tender, a little before they are al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Do NOT cook the noodles fully through as we will bake them next.
Turn off the heat and carefully stir in the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Next, add the shredded cheeses and mix until combined and completely melted. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of macaroni and cheese then top with thinly sliced jalapenos.
Place the mac and cheese in the smoker and smoke for 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tips for Making Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
- Don't buy the pre-shredded cheese. When you are making homemade mac and cheese use block cheese and shred it yourself using a block grater. It melts so much better and makes it extra creamy and gooey!
- Make sure you cook your pasta until it's slightly less then al dente which is about 7 minutes for macaroni. This is because you will finish this mac and cheese in the smoker and it will continue to cook. You don't want mushy noodles!
- Mix up your pasta for fun twists. Any tubular, short pasta will work in this recipe.
- If you don't have a smoker or don't want to smoke it simply put it in the oven that has been preheated to 300 degrees F instead of the smoker.
- If you want a spicier mac and cheese simply do not remove the membrane or seeds when you dice your jalapenos. If you are looking to make it even spicier you could add more jalapenos or use a pepper jack cheese.
- Use a cast iron skillet when you make this. It goes from the stove top to the smoker with an hassle.
- Smoke at a low heat so you noodles don't dry out.
- Start by smoking it 30 minutes, if you want more of a smoked taste smoke it up to 2 hours. Your noodles will dry out more the longer it smokes because the liquid is soaked up as it bakes in the smoker.
- Make sure to grab a block of cheese and shred it yourself. Don't be the pre-shredded cheese. It does not melt as well and you want the creamiest mac and cheese!
- When picking wood chips choose a mild wood flavor like cherry, apple, maple or pecan.
- Add a little hot sauce to kick it up a notch.
- Switch up the cheese for your favorites. Want a little more spice? Use some pepper jack cheese!
- Sprinkle a little sweet and smokey rub in for a delicious flavor twist.
- Add in your favorite flavors. We love to add in some jalapenos, bacon, brisket, lobster, pulled pork, chicken and more!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container the fridge for 3-4 days.
Calories: 836.07kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.44g | Protein: 30.38g | Fat: 55.45g | Saturated Fat: 28.43g | Cholesterol: 154.84mg | Sodium: 1095.41mg | Potassium: 400.83mg | Fiber: 2.45g | Sugar: 5.17g | Vitamin A: 1431.01IU | Vitamin C: 8.48mg | Calcium: 454.93mg | Iron: 1.7mg