Buffalo Pepper Cheddar Mac and Cheese

Sis is Marie Kondo-ing her entire house including her kitchen and we came up with a long list of ingredients in her cupboard that need to be eaten. Between her place and my place you could open a food bank. If we didn’t, we would be all set for the apocalypse.

Do you ever buy food but forget why you bought it? The other day I bought some cheddar cheese and a jalapeño from Whole Foods intending to make something specific with the ingredients but … forgot why I purchased them. So instead I had to come up with a new recipe to use the ingredients and mac and cheese seemed to be the right answer.

This recipe is a cross between Valerie Bertinelli’s Creamy Jalapeño Mac and Cheese and the Kitchen Magpie’s Buffalo Hot Sauce Bacon and Jalapeño Mac n’ Cheese (with my own twist) which allowed me to use up several pantry ingredients (dried pasta, velveeta cheese and buffalo sauce) in addition to the cheddar and the jalapeño. It’s a spicy mac and cheese with a creamy Velveeta/cheddar base accented by buffalo hot sauce and two different kinds of chopped chile peppers. It’s topped with cheddar cheese and bread crumbs and then baked until bubbly and golden on top and finished off with a buffalo sauce drizzle on top. Are you drooling yet?

Completely coincidental, but I used a Blazing Buffalo Cheddar. You can use any cheddar you can find.


  • 1 lb elbow macaroni or other short-cut pasta (I used rotini because that’s what was available)
  • 1 c. reserved pasta water (you can use more or less depending on your tastes)
  • 8 T. butter
  • ⅓ c. panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ c. half-and-half or milk
  • ½ tsp. ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • ½ pound shredded cheddar, divided
  • 8 to 10 oz processed cheese such as Velveeta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 T. Buffalo Sauce, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package directions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the panko and stir to incorporate. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Combine the half-and-half or milk, mustard, garlic powder and remaining 6 tablespoons butter in the saucepan and bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat. Add half the cheddar and Velveeta cheese and stir until smooth. Add in the hot sauce (more or less to taste; start with 1 tablespoon and see how you like it). Add in pasta water as necessary to make the sauce come together. I added about one cup.
  4. Stir in the cooked macaroni and chopped peppers and season with salt. Transfer to a serving casserole dish and sprinkle with the panko. Top with additional shredded cheese.
  5. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the dish starts to bubble up around the sides. Drizzle with additional Buffalo Hot Sauce before serving.

I tend to leave the chile pepper seeds in when cooking as opposed to removing them which makes the dish significantly hotter than it would if you left the seeds out. This dish was so spicy I could only eat a small portion. Maybe I’m on to something…

Recipe rating: 

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