Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

This flavor packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe is packed full of roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese and just a hint of zesty lime.

This flavor packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe is packed full of roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese and just a hint of zesty lime.

Macaroni and cheese were a big part of my childhood.  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 type of 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!

This flavor packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe is packed full of roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese and just a hint of zesty lime.

It’s beautifully creamy yet still, has a nice 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 Smile

This flavor packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe is packed full of roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese and just a hint of zesty lime.

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!

{Looking for my delicious mac and cheese recipes? Try my Beer Bratwurst Macaroni and CheeseFive Cheese Mac and CheeseGorgonzola Bacon Mac and Cheese or my Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese.}


Poblano Macaroni and Cheese

This flavor packed poblano macaroni and cheese recipe is packed full of roasted poblano peppers, lots of cheese and just a hint of zesty lime.

Yield: 12 inch skillet

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 60 minutes


  • 2 Poblano chiles
  • 8 oz. 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
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups grated white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup Cotija cheese (I could not find)

Source: The Homesick Texan Cookbook


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. 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 ad then drain the pasta. (You want the pasta to be cooked but not mushy; cook for 5 minutes.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a large baking dish or a large 12 inch cast-iron skillet, and pour the drained pasta into the dish.

In a pot (you can use the pot the pasta cooked in or you can do this while the pasta boils), 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 a bit 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 into 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 and 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.

34 Responses to “Poblano Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. #
    Erica — September 10, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I totally want to make thjs on a sunday for football!

  2. #
    Angie@Angiesrecipes — September 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

    Such a comforting and flavourful dish!

  3. #
    Barbara | Creative Culinary — September 10, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I just got a nice smoker that I’ve been eyeing and I’m dying to make some macaroni and cheese and smoke it…this sounds perfect. I make a stovetop green chili mac and cheese so I know how great they are with poblano peppers…now though? I’m smoking!

  4. #
    Kim - Liv Life — September 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My husband and I have a vacation planned in a few weeks and he as sworn off all carbs! However… this mac and cheese would do him in. You have all his favorite flavors here and I’m thinking he wouldn’t be able to resist. In all fairness to his diet… I think I may just print it and save for after the trip, something to chase away the post vacation blues.

    Love it!

  5. #
    vianney/ sweet life — September 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    “rocked my mac and cheese purist mind!!” glad you enjoyed it!!

  6. #
    Maris — September 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    This looks so creamy and delicious! I made mac and cheese last week otherwise I would absolutely be making some with the poblano chiles I have in the fridge!

  7. #
    Heather @girlichef — September 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Pass that beautiful skillet of goodness my way! This is hands-down my favorite mac n cheese. 😀

  8. #
    Kirsten — September 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    This sounds amazing! I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for sharing!

  9. #
    5 Star Foodie — September 10, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    This mac and cheese sounds so flavorful, very tasty with roasted poblanos!

  10. #
    Cakelaw — September 10, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    This looks delicious! Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food – I sadly even love the Kraft version in a box.

  11. #
    Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie — September 11, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    This macaroni “rocked my mac n cheese purist mind” too!!! Oh how I wish I had some of this creamy, dreamy and cheesy goodness! 🙂

    Beautiful photos, BTW. 🙂

  12. #
    Joanne — September 11, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I’m pretty much a mac and cheese purist also…but seeing all these poblano mac and cheeses makes me think I need to rethink my ways! WANT

  13. #
    Deb in Hawaii — September 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I love how great your mac ‘n cheese looks in the skillet–just perfect. This recipe was a wonderful combination of flavors–I really enjoyed it too. 😉

  14. #
    Erin @ EKat's Kitchen — September 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    This rocked my mac n cheese world too! I am glad you loved it. 😉

  15. #
    Raina — September 12, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I love mac and cheese, and this sounds wonderful with all of those wonderful flavors, especially the peppers:)

  16. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — September 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    mmmm I’m always looking for new mac n cheese recipes – hubs would love the poblano addition to this one!

  17. #
    Miz Helen — September 13, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Your Mac N Cheese looks so delicious. I want to make that recipe very soon. Congratulations, the ring is beautiful! Hope you are having a great week and thanks for sharing. It has been fun cooking with you!
    Miz Helen

  18. #
    Jessica / Green Skies and Sugar Trips — September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am

    I am a macaroni purist as well, but this looks amazing!!! I MUST try this ASAP!!!!! (as in this weekend) I think it would go great with steak!

  19. #
    grace — September 16, 2011 at 4:54 am

    hooray for mustard, chiles, and cilantro! the only thing missing for me is pepper jack–that’s a must-have in my mac and cheese, and it fits the rest of the recipe! 🙂

  20. #
    Amanda L. — September 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Found this on Pintrest. Made it tonight. It might be the best mac and cheese I have ever eaten, hand to God. Next time I will add bacon and make it a meal if we can handle that much cheesy excitement around here.
    Thank you!

  21. #
    Lori — September 30, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Re cotija cheese…what did you use instead? Isn’t that just cottage cheese in Spanish?

  22. #
    Becca — October 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

    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!

    • admin replied: — October 2nd, 2011 @ 5:16 pm

      Bake in the oven….I will clarify this in the directions…thanks 🙂

  23. #
    Taco Tuesday — December 29, 2011 at 11:40 am

    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!

  24. #
    Bailey — November 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Thought you might like to know:

    “For soft cotija substitute Feta cheese. For the aged cotija, substitute Parmesan cheese.”

    Read more from GourmetSleuth.com: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Dictionary/C/Cotija-cheese-5788.aspx#ixzz2CPqSU8Cz

  25. #
    Andrea — February 27, 2013 at 2:51 am

    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!

  26. #
    Debbie — March 6, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    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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