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Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

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This flavor-packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe contains roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese, and a hint of zesty lime.

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese in a skillet.

Macaroni and cheese was a big part of my childhood. 

In my opinion, my mom makes the best. No lie. She totally does. 

I have also always been a purist when it comes to my mac and cheese. 

Just cheese and noodles. No fancy breadcrumbs or any additions. 

I just wanted cheese and noodles.

Then I grew up and started playing around with stuff.

The addition of bacon is always good, and crispy bread crumbs on top are not so bad. 

Then I had this poblano macaroni and cheese.

My oh, my! It rocked my mac and cheese purist mind.

It contains roasted poblano chiles, lots of seasoning, and just a hint of lime. 

This is not my mama’s mac and cheese, that is for sure!

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese in a cast iron skillet.

It’s beautifully creamy yet still and has a lovely stringy cheesiness to it.

I loved the addition of the roasted poblano chiles because it added a nice depth of flavor that most mac and cheese does not have. 

It could easily make dinner on its own or a perfect side dish.

I served mine alongside some delicious fried pork chops. 

I also used my grandmother’s cast iron skillet as the cooking vessel. It was a perfect choice. 

And (in case you are worried) it’s not that hard to clean out the pan afterward.

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese with a scoop taken out.

Also, I couldn’t find cotija cheese at my local store BUT I have made this several times and have been able to use the cotija in the recipe.

Totally worth it!

If you can get your hands on some it’s HIGHLY recommended!

More mac and cheese recipes

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This flavor-packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe contains roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese, and a hint of zesty lime.


  • 2 Poblano chiles
  • 8 ounces elbow pasta
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese


  1. Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes.
  3. Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin.
  4. Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch long pieces.
  5. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to your package's directions and then drain the pasta. You want the pasta to be cooked al dente but not mushy.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  7. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.
  8. In a pot on low heat melt the butter.
  9. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  10. Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed about 1 minute.
  11. Whisk in the milk and stir until it's thickened but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  12. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles.
  13. Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.
  14. Slowly add half of the cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted and well combined with the sauce. If the sauce has cooled too much and the cheese won't melt, return the pot to low heat on the stove seems a little thick return it to the stove until soft again. If however, the sauce gets too thick, like a custard, you can thin it by stirring in milk, a teaspoon at a time.
  15. Pour sauce over pasta, top with the remaining half of the cheddar cheese, and bake uncovered for 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with Cotija cheese, and serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 568Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 768mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese - the piggy mac of your dreams!

Wednesday 22nd of July 2020

[…] Poblano Macaroni and Cheese […]


Friday 6th of March 2015

Substitutions made based on what I had but the ratio/measurements stayed the same: 2% milk instead of whole, chipotle instead of cayenne powder, ½ white cheddar & ½ pepper jack cheese, dried cilantro instead of fresh, parmesan instead of cotija. I added a little panko bread crumbs to the remaining cheese that went on top and that came out nice. When removed from oven I sprinkled the parmesan on top. My cilantro measurement dry vs fresh was way off (4Tbsp) so next time I will add 1Tbsp at a time or get fresh. I could have boiled the pasta a little longer (5 minutes) and next time maybe some crumbled cooked bacon mixed in would be nice. Keeper and will try again.

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Monday 27th of January 2014

[…] Adapted from… […]

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Wednesday 22nd of May 2013

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Wednesday 27th of February 2013

Delicious! For substitutions I used wheat pasta and Tillamook cheddar, and wished I would have thrown in some rotisserie chicken. Though I accidentally put all of the cheese in at once, it was still good. Thanks for the recipe!

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