Jalapeño Popper Mac

Prep & Cook Time 1 hr 30 min
Serves 6


  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • ½ pound bacon, diced
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2½ cups Kemps Whole Milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces corkscrew pasta
  • 1½ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs

How to

  • Preheat broiler to 500 F. Place the bell and jalapeño peppers on a foil-lined baking sheet and char each side, turning the peppers every 2–3 minutes to ensure they don’t burn.
  • Remove peppers from oven and place in a freezer-safe gallon bag. Seal shut and set aside to steam.
  • Reduce oven heat to 350 F. Grease a cast-iron pan with butter and set aside.
  • In a high-edge skillet on medium heat, add bacon and cook until crispy — about 7 minutes. Remove bacon and drain on a plate lined with a paper towel. Dispose of bacon grease and return skillet to medium-low heat.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and whisk in flour until all the butter is absorbed. Continue to work for about 1 minute to remove the flour flavor. Add milk and whisk to combine. Stir in cream cheese. Stir every minute for about 5 minutes to avoid scorching.
  • While cream cheese melts, add pasta and a generous sprinkling of salt to boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain and return pot to stovetop. Note: The pasta should still have a bite to it because it will go into the oven for more baking.
  • Add the cheddar to the skillet and whisk to combine. Add more milk if needed. Whisk until cheese is melted, smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper and pour over noodles in pot.
  • Take the peppers out of the gallon bag and remove the seeds, top and skins. Dice peppers and place in pot with noodles and sauce. Add bacon. Stir until well combined and pour into cast-iron pan.
  • Melt remaining tablespoon of butter and mix with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of pasta.
  • Bake 10–12 minutes or until pasta is bubbly and top is browned.

Recipe and image provided by Half & Half Magazine.