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Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

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

Author: Brandy O’Neill – Nutmeg Nanny
This flavor-packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe contains roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese, and a hint of zesty lime.
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 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


  • Roast the poblano chilies under the broiler until blackened, about 5 minutes per side.
  • Place the chiles in a paper sack or plastic food-storage bag, close it tightly, and let the for 20 minutes.
  • Take the chiles out of the bag and rub off the skin.
  • Remove the stem and seeds and chop the chiles into 1-inch long pieces.
  • 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.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Grease a large baking dish or a large 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.
  • In a pot on low heat melt the butter.
  • Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook until a light brown, toasty paste is formed about 1 minute.
  • Whisk in the milk and stir until it’s thickened but still fluid, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the mustard powder, cayenne, cumin, lime zest, cilantro, and chopped poblano chiles.
  • Adjust seasonings and add salt and black pepper.
  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 568kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 768mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Tex Mex
Keyword lime mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, poblano mac and cheese, southwest mac and cheese, tex mex mac and cheese, unique mac and cheese recipes
Did you try this recipe?Leave a comment and 5 star review!

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...

Recipe Rating


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.


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!


Friday 16th of November 2012

Thought you might like to know:

"For soft cotija substitute Feta cheese. For the aged cotija, substitute Parmesan cheese."

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Taco Tuesday

Thursday 29th of December 2011

I have an entire recipe folder dedicated to mac n cheese recipes and this one is going in! My top two are leek / manchego mac n cheese and Beecher's ... but I have a feeling this one will also fall into the favorites category!


Sunday 2nd of October 2011

Question.. Where you say to bake it for 20 minutes do you mean pop it in the oven? Or cook it on the stovetop for 20 minutes?

Looks delicious.. the recipe made my mouth water!


Sunday 2nd of October 2011

Bake in the oven....I will clarify this in the directions...thanks :)


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