Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

This green chile mac and cheese with mild cheddar and Monterey jack cheese. This recipe starts on the stovetop and finishes under the broiler and is the best kind of comfort food. It’s creamy and rich with green chile flavored infused into the cheese sauce.

a pan of mac and cheese.

Green Chile Mac and Cheese

Cooking inspiration is everywhere and, in the case of this creamy green chile macaroni and cheese, the bolt of inspiration struck this time in the frozen aisle. Or, more specifically it struck while I was visiting family in New Mexico and a package of frozen green chile macaroni and cheese from Trader Joe’s materialized and I gathered ’round for a taste.

For a frozen mac and cheese, it was pretty good – a cheese sauce flavored with not too spicy green chile along with tender pasta, but seeing as I live almost an hour away from the nearest Trader Joe’s and have no desire to drive that far and deal with the parking lot and all the people (is that store ever not busy?) I set out to make my own once I got home.

And while it’s not as convenient as the Trader Joe’s version it has other redeeming qualities like a velvety smooth cheese sauce and a cheesy topping that bubbles under the broiler until a golden crust forms, two features that are hard to achieve in the microwave. And, of course, it’s flavored with earthy green chiles that add warmth but not a lot of spice.


  • Elbow macaroni
  • Unsalted butter
  • Canned diced green chile with the juices – I like to use Hatch green chiles. They have both mild and spicy options, I prefer the mild, but if you want some heat use the spicy.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole milk
  • Half and half
  • Wedge of a yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Shredded mild cheddar cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
overhead shot of mac and cheese

How to Make It

Boil the macaroni in a large pot for a few minutes less than what’s listed on the package. It will finish cooking to al dente in the sauce once you’ve made it. You can boil the pasta first, drain it, and set it aside or pull double duty and make the sauce while the pasta boils.

Instead of adding the green chile in at the end, I add it to the butter while it melts so it becomes part of the roux that thickens the cheese sauce. This way, the green chile flavors the whole sauce. Cook it with the flour and butter until it turns into a thick paste and the raw flavor of the flour cooks off.

Add whole milk and half and half to the roux very slowly, whisking continuously, so the sauce is smooth.

At this point, I like to cook the sauce with a wedge of onion and whole smashed garlic. That way, you get a smooth sauce that’s flavored with the onion and garlic without chunks of the veggies in your sauce. It will take about five to ten minutes over medium heat for the sauce to thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon. Once it’s thickened you can discard the onion and garlic.

Add the shredded cheese to the sauce in batches until it melts and the sauce is smooth and creamy. For a pop of freshness stir in some chopped cilantro, add the drained macaroni, stir it all together and transfer it to an 8×8-inch casserole dish.

Top the macaroni and cheese with some more shredded cheese and then broil the top in the oven until the cheese bubbles and a golden crust forms.

Recipe Tips

  • I use mild cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses because I didn’t want a strong cheese to overpower the flavor of the green chile. That said, feel free to use sharp cheddar cheese if you like. You could also use pepper jack cheese instead of Monterey Jack.
  • Leftovers will keep for a few days in the fridge, but they won’t be as creamy as when you first served the dish. It’s a bummer but the way things work with mac and cheese – the sauce will thicken a lot when it’s chilled, but will still taste good.

For a cozy dinner, I like this homemade green chile macaroni and cheese recipe with a crisp salad on the side to balance out the richness. It’s the best kind of comfort food.

Happy mac and cheese-making!


More Pasta Recipes


Green Chile Macaroni and Cheese

green chile mac and cheese

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This creamy green chile mac and cheese with mild cheddar and Monterey jack cheese starts on the stovetop and finishes under the broiler and is the best kind of cold weather comfort food.

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American


  • 10 ounces macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 (4.5-oz) can diced mild green chile with juices
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 wedge of a yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon iodized salt (table salt)
  • 1 3/4 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese, divided
  • 1 3/4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  1. Boil the macaroni for 2 to 3 minutes less than what’s listed on the package. Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot you boiled it in and set it aside.
  2. In a 3.5-quart pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the green chile, with all the juices, and stir to combine it with the butter. Lower the heat to medium and cook the chile with the butter for a minute or so.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the green chile and butter. Stir and cook the flour for three minutes or so. The mixture should turn to a thick paste. Slowly add the milk and half and half whisking continuously until smooth. Keep adding the milk in batches, whisking continuously, until the sauce is smooth. Add the salt and stir.
  4. Place the onion wedge and smashed garlic cloves in the sauce. Cook the sauce over medium heat until it starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon, about five to ten minutes. You don’t want the sauce to boil so adjust the heat as needed. Once the sauce is thickened, discard the onion and garlic.
  5. Add 1 and 1/2 cups each of the shredded cheeses in batches, stirring continuously until it’s melted and the sauce is smooth (reserve 1/4 cup of each cheese for topping). Add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine.
  6. Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta in the other pot. Stir to evenly coat the pasta with the sauce. Transfer the macaroni and cheese to an 8×8-inch baking dish and sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese over the top. Place an oven rack in the top spot and turn on the broiler. Transfer the baking dish to the oven and broil the mac and cheese until the cheese on top is bubbling and a golden crust forms.


  • Calories: 823
  • Sugar: 9.3g
  • Fat: 45g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.6g
  • Fiber: 3.6g
  • Protein: 37.1g

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    1. You don’t have to broil it – you can serve it straight from the stove. If you want melted cheese on top, sprinkle it over the top and cover the pot to let it melt. Hope that helps!

    1. I haven’t tried that, but it may not work well because the pasta will absorb the sauce and it could end up dry. Sorry I can’t help!

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