4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and Cheese taken up a notch with jalapeno peppers

Don’t be alarmed (hehe) you are in complete control of the heat level in this 4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese — are you more of a one-alarm type? No problem, I’ve got you covered. Think you’re hot stuff and can take even more? I’ll show you how to make that happen too…

Hot and spicy 4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese

I love what jalapenos do to so many different kinds of foods, they’re one of my favorite ingredients to experiment with. As hot peppers go, they are really pretty mild, so depending on how you use them, you can get quite a range of heat. I layered them up in this recipe so regular old macaroni and cheese becomes a culinary adventure.

A super spicy jalapeno macaroni and cheese recipe

It starts with jalapeno jack cheese, which melts nicely into a creamy sauce, and two full jalapenos, seeds and all mixed in. I find it’s the perfect amount of heat that adds excitement to the dish without completely overwhelming you.

4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese ready for baking

I baked mine in two large single serving pots. The macaroni and cheese is basically already fully cooked, so they only take about 20 minutes in the oven, just to get bubbly, and a little longer under the broiler after you top it with the final layer of cheese. I made two large portions, just great for a quiet — but spicy!— dinner for two. You can do it in one skillet or in a regular casserole if you prefer.

Macaroni and Cheese taken up a notch with jalapeno peppers

I like to use beautiful cavatappi pasta for this, it’s Italian for ‘corkscrew’ and it’s perfect for holding the sauce. Because it’s bigger than elbows, it gives this mac & cheese more oomph, and the loose spiral shape keeps the dish from being dense. It remains nice and chewy if you don’t overcook it to begin with. As a regular habit I always cook my pasta for a few minutes short of what the box says.

Spicy jalapeno macaroni and cheese

4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese ixs comfort food you can get excited about...
3.6 from 5 votes

4 Alarm Mac & Cheese

Author Sue Moran


  • 2 cups cavatappi macaroni
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped, seeds and all
  • 8-10 ounces jalapeno jack cheese grated


  • more chopped jalapeno or a few slices


  • Set oven to 325F
  • Cook the macaroni to just al dente. I usually cook it a few minutes LESS than what the package says. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir to combine and cook for a minute. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until it thickens. This will happen just as the mixture comes close to a simmer. Take off the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes.
  • Set aside about 1/2 cup of the grated cheese for the topping. Slowly add in the rest of the cheese and jalapenos, stirring until smooth. Stir in the pasta and mix well.
  • Spoon into individual oven safe serving bowls, or into a skillet or casserole. Put that on a baking sheet to catch any possible drips.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, then remove and top with the remaining cheese. Put back under the broiler just until the cheese melts and starts to brown.
  • Serve right away garnished with jalapeno slices.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


  • One alarm recipe: use the jalapeno jack cheese on its own, without any added fresh jalapenos.
  • Two alarm recipe: use the jalapeno cheese and one pepper, but remove the seeds and veins before you chop it.
  • Three alarm recipe: use the cheese and two peppers, but remove seeds and veins.
  • FIVE alarm recipe: use Serrano peppers in place of the jalapenos, they pack more punch. You can also use a habanero pepper if you dare…

4 Alarm Macaroni and Cheese ixs comfort food you can get excited about...

I highly recommend this if you’re a jalapeno lover…


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  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Looks delicious. Where did you purchase those single serving pots please? Thank you.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Hi Kathy ~ I got those at Marshalls, and they’re made by an Italian company called Ottinetti.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I will make this on Saturday for the razorback game looks great

  • Reply
    Thao @ In Good Flavor
    November 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    I love your single serving pots. They are so cute! The macaroni looks delicious! Cavatappi is one of my favorite pasta. Unfortunately, I don’t get to use it that much in my dishes as the hubs likes the standard spaghetti and pene. 🙁

  • Reply
    Terry Covington
    November 10, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I’ve been looking for something like this, thank you! I’m another person like you who seems to need more heat as I get older. (Well, what can we say? We’re just hot!) Always appreciate your beautiful and easy-to-follow recipes.

  • Reply
    Diane {Created by Diane}
    November 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    This looks outstanding, and is a definite must make!

  • Reply
    November 9, 2015 at 7:15 am

    my tolerance for hot stuff has gotten pathetic as i’ve aged, but this still sounds and looks SO delicious!

    • Reply
      November 10, 2015 at 6:44 am

      It’s funny, I’ve had the opposite problem, I need more and more heat to keep me satisfied! Honestly the jalapenos aren’t that hot, just seed them and you’ll be fine 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    November 7, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    I love the jalapeño kick you gave this mac and cheese! Suddenly I’m reconsidering my dinner plans and thinking mac and cheese it is!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    Hot cheesy goodness – now this is exciting! Those little pots are wonderful, the pasta swimming in that creamy sauce – the little kick from the peppers – I will not rest until I have some mac-n-cheese!

  • Reply
    Karin Burton
    November 6, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I’ve pinned a lot of mac-n-cheese recipes but this one I will actually try. Lol. Jalapenos are a great addition. I may also have to add bacon just to give it a popper feel. Thanks for the recipe and the inspiration!

    • Reply
      November 6, 2015 at 11:58 am

      I’m so glad you stopped by Karin — let me know how the bacon turns out — as if I didn’t know 😉

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    November 6, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Looks fantastic!!! You’ve got me drooling once again 🙂

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