Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

southwest mac and cheese

(1 rating)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Rebecca Reece
Henderson, NV

I decided to kick up the flavor of my macaroni and cheese by adding spicy cheese and chorizo. The crunch on top gives an added texture to this dish.

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Macaroni and cheese is an all-around family favorite and this Southwest version takes it to another level. This recipe spices things up with a variety of peppered cheeses, chorizo, and a mixture of spices. Toasted bread cubes, cheese, cilantro, and crushed nacho chips are sprinkled on top. Once baked, it adds a terrific crunch to the casserole.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(1 rating)
yield 8 serving(s)
prep time 30 Min
cook time 1 Hr
method Bake

Ingredients For southwest mac and cheese

  • 6 slice
    sourdough bread
  • 1 1/2 c
    shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 c
    shredded Chipotle Gouda
  • 1 1/2 c
    shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 Tbsp
    canola oil
  • 1/2 c
    chopped sweet onions
  • 4 oz
    Spanish chorizo, chopped into small pieces
  • 6 Tbsp
    unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 Tbsp
    all purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 tsp
    Kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 4 c
    whole milk
  • 10 oz
    medium dry shell pasta, uncooked
  • 1 tsp
    chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp
    finely chopped cilantro
  • 1/2 c
    crushed nacho chips

How To Make southwest mac and cheese

Test Kitchen Tips
Between the pasta, cheese, and chorizo, there is a lot of salt in this dish. If you prefer a less salty dish, reduce the amount of salt in the white sauce.
  • Remove crust from bread and cut into cubes.
    Heat oven to 250 degrees F. Trim and discard the crust from the bread. Then cut the bread into 1/4-inch cubes.
  • Bake the bread until dry.
    Line a 10 by 15-inch baking sheet with foil. Place cubes on the baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until dry. Remove from oven and put in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Shred the cheese and place in a resealable plastic bag.
    Place all the shredded cheeses in a gallon plastic storage bag. Seal and shake bag to combine.
  • Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.
    Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 3-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Saute onions.
    Heat oil in an 8-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add chopped onions to skillet. Saute for 3 minutes.
  • Saute chorizo.
    Add chorizo. Saute for 3 minutes.
  • Place chorizo on a paper towel.
    Remove from the skillet with a slotted spoon to paper towels.
  • Melt butter.
    In a 2-quart saucepan melt butter.
  • Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of melted butter over the bread cubes.
    Remove 3 Tbsp of the melted butter. Sprinkle over bread cubes.
  • Stir flour and spices into the remaining melted butter.
    Into the remaining melted butter, stir flour, 1 1/4 tsp salt, pepper, and garlic powder into the saucepan.
  • Stir in the milk.
    Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil and stir constantly. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute and then remove from heat.
  • Boil the pasta.
    In a 4 or 5-quart pot bring 2-quarts of water with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add pasta. Return to a boil and cook for 6 minutes. The pasta should be slightly undercooked.
  • Drain the cooked pasta.
    Pour into colander; drain.
  • Place pasta back in the pot and sprinkle with chili powder.
    Return pasta to the cooking pot. Sprinkle with chili powder.
  • Add the white sauce, cheese, onions, and chorizo.
    Add the white sauce and stir gently to combine. Add cooked onion, chorizo, and 3 1/2 cups of the cheese mixture. Stir to blend all ingredients. The cheese does not have to melt.
  • Pour pasta into the baking dish.
    Pour into the baking dish.
  • Add cilantro, cheese, and nacho chips to the bread cubes and sprinkle over the pasta.
    Add crushed nacho chips, cilantro, and the remainder of the cheese to bread cubes. Toss to combine. Sprinkle bread cubes over the pasta.
  • Bake until heated through.
    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Check the macaroni and cheese at 20 minutes. If the bread cubes are becoming too toasted, loosely cover with foil and continue to bake until heated through.
  • Let macaroni and cheese sit for 5 minutes.
    Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.