Chorizo Mac and Cheese

Baked macaroni with a sauce of cheddar and pepper jack cheese and Mexican chorizo.

We used El Mexicano brand chorizo for this recipe, as it is very soft, almost like a pâté. It integrates with the sauce better than other styles of Mexican chorizo. This recipe makes a small casserole, you can easily double the ingredients for a large casserole.

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese (about 1 cup)
  • 6 ounces Mexican chorizo
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Method

1 Mix the corn starch with the 2 cheeses in a bowl and set aside. The corn starch will help prevent the cheese sauce from getting too stringy.

2 Put the milk into a small saucepan and heat until steamy. Keep warm while you are preparing the recipe, do not let boil.

3 Put 2 quarts of water, salted with 1 Tbsp salt, into a large pot and heat to a boil. Once the water is at a full boil, add the macaroni to the pot. Return to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 2 minutes less than the macaroni package specifies, so that it is al dente, cooked, but still firm to the bite.

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4 While the water is heating and the macaroni cooking, prepare the chorizo cheese sauce. Remove chorizo from its casing and put into a medium thick-bottomed saucepan on medium high heat. When the chorizo begins to sizzle, reduce the heat to medium. Cook the chorizo, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add the minced red onion and cook the mixture until the onions soften, about 3-4 minutes.

5 When the macaroni is cooked, but still a bit firm, drain it and set aside. Preheat oven to 375°.

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6 Add the flour to the pot with the chorizo and mix well. Everything will clump up. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot, for 2 minutes. Add the hot milk a tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly. When all the milk has been added, heat the mixture to a gentle simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

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7 Mix the grated cheese into the chorizo milk sauce. Mix in the cooked macaroni into the chorizo cheese sauce. Stir in the lime juice. Pour the macaroni and cheese into a small casserole dish. Make sure the top is level. Dust the top with the breadcrumbs, then dot with the butter. Bake until the breadcrumbs are golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

If you want, serve with chopped avocados, crema fresca, and chopped fresh cilantro.

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Comments

  1. Nikki

    I take a little bit and stir it into my chili. It adds a little more kick to the heat that’s already in it. :D

  2. CathyC

    An interesting use of chorizo! I’ll have to try it. I typically add chorizo to a grits casserole instead of sausage. It is also great in a quiche.

  3. Jenny

    Have you made this using soy-rizo rather than traditional chorizo? I’m curious how this would turn out–with that substitution. Thanks!

  4. Rusty Wright

    I like to cook chorizo by itself, slowly on the stove, then mix it with some cooked brown rice. Yum.

    My favorite chorizo is El Mexacano, pork. The beef has more fat.

    I think the red coloring comes mostly from the achiote that’s used in chorizo. You can get achiote paste in Latin grocery stores. It comes in little boxes about the same size that cubed bullion comes in. So then you can add chorizo flavor to something, without the meat. I like making my own drained yogurt with a coffee filter (aka Greek yogurt) and then add the achiote paste and some hot spices. Extremely good for dip.

  5. Maja

    This sounds fantastic. I’ll have to try it. I actually just made your Chile Relleno Casserole Recipe with chorizo on Sunday, but used soy chorizo I bought at Sunflower Market. I’m not vegetarian, nor particularly health-conscious – it was simply the only chorizo they had there and I have to say, it was delicious! Not much different from “the real thing,” with all the spicy flavor, only about half the calories and not greasy. (I cooked it with some olive oil.) The Chile Relleno Casserole was delicious, so I’m sure this Mac N Cheese probably is too! Thanks for all the great recipes and writing!

  6. MariaElena

    Ahhh, chorizo is one of my favorite foods, a staple for me as a child as well. I have always liked it w/ scrambled eggs too, more red than egg! And I also add it to refried beans, fried potatoes, and quesadillas. Can’t really go wrong!

  7. Doris

    This sounds like something my son would love and I’ve pinned it to make for him sometime soon. He loves chorizo. I made empanadas with chicken and chorizo in the filling. They were mostly chicken, and the chorizo melted into it and was just enough to flavor the filling. We all loved it. I found the recipe on Epicurious.

  8. Teresa

    This recipe looks awesome, I can’t wait to try it! I usually make chorizo with beans and serve it with my scrambled eggs for breakfast. I just cook the chorizo in a frying pan and then add a drained can of whole pinto beans. As it cooks together the oil from the sausage is absorbed by the beans. Then, I’ll mash it all together a bit and it makes this delicious thick “gravy”. Try it, it’s one of our favorites.

  9. Cara

    You can get a mild chorizo, at least here in central FL you can, and it works beautifully for those of us who like flavor and spice but can’t handle heat. I’ve used it in place of ground beef for years and it’s always a pleasant surprise to those I’m feeding.

  10. elston

    I use portugese chirico which is a dryer/harder sausage (and its close cousin Linguica)….When I moved to the south west… I couldnt get used to Mexican chirico…..now I am back east and happy with my Portugese sausages! I do sometimes take the casing off our style chirico and chop it and add it to dishes like this mac and cheese.

  11. ashley

    one of my favorite restaurants (masa, in boston) makes this for brunch – with bbq sauce drizzled on top. SO good!

  12. Mike Luna

    Our family had chorizo at least once a week..today I use soy chorizo instead of pork. I like two have the two eggs, sliced or cubed potatoes, onions, and avocado when being served.. Fresh home-made flour tortiallas or the home-made type found at costco. Mexicans and a whole lot of Gingoes will like this!

  13. Jenny

    I have only ever used chorizo in the Portuguese kale and potato soup. I don’t eat it ut I make it for hubby.

    I’m guessing you’re using Portuguese “chorico” for the kale and potato soup. It’s a classic. Mexican chorizo is a completely different product. ~Elise

  14. George Kresak

    Like one of the other posters, I use chorizo in my chili, which also includes bourbon and stout beer. And again, like one of the other posters, I sometimes make empanadas with chorizo, but I use potatoes rather than chicken. But the best way to eat chorizo, of course, is in a taco garnished simply with cilantro and onion.

  15. Sharon O

    chorizo is a staple! I mix with ground beef and potatoes for my tacos – I’ve used in meatloaf and OMG does it make a great tamale!!

  16. ritado

    I love chorizo and I make my own as my daughter bought me a meat grinder for Christmas. It is a little too spicy for my husband so I mix half a lb. with a lb. of ground turkey for taco meat and and spice it up a little more. Its really delicious.

  17. Jamie

    We were in Cabo San Lucas last month and took a cooking class off-resort. It was called “Breakfast in Mexico” and we made lots of yummy things, including home made chorizo. I’m not sure I can ever go back to store bought here in the U.S. as it seem so greasy. Only challenging I’m finding is that I need to locate a market where I can buy clean pork fat to mix with the lean pork in the recipe. When we ate it in Cabo, it was mixed with potatoes and onions. YUM!

  18. Lynda

    This looks yummy! I use chorizo in crab boils (crab, prawns, scallops, corn on the cob, baby potatoes and chorizo), with fresh tomatoes to make a pasta sauce, and in jambalaya. It adds great flavor to any dish!

  19. Paloma

    Very interesting! I am a Mexican but for some reason I am not a big fan of chorizo… the only way I like it is with beans or with potatoes! (or in quesadillas) – wow… I guess I do like it more than I am willing to admit – but not with eggs and I am a little skeptic about liking it with mc&cheese but I guess it’s worth a try!

  20. Kelly Senyei

    Oh my Lordy! We are both on the chorizo train this week! I have a chorizo-themed post lined up for two weeks from now (also involving cheddar). Can’t wait to catch up in Seattle!

  21. Chef Toni

    Starting to develop a fondness for chorizo. The bright redness kind of freaks me out–even though I’m guessing it’s from the spices! Years ago I thought I didn’t like it, but ended up tasting some at a cooking last a while back and it was really good. Definitely going to try this recipe–got some mac and cheese fiends in my house!

  22. Sir Loin of Beef

    I use chorizo in preparing many of my Sunday brunches. I mix it with Ranch style beans and put in on a tortilla before adding basted egg and standard toppings to make huevos rancheros. I make an egg, chorizo, jalapeño pepper and cheddar cheese scramble. I use chorizo to make a variety of 3 egg omelettes using different kinds of peppers and cheeses. I also make breakfast enchiladas by mixing chorizo with scrambled egg, rolling it up in tortillas, pouring enchilada sauce over them, and sprinkling them with shredded Mexican cheese. I normally serve the scramble and omelettes with warm buttered tortillas, the enchiladas with Ranch style beans, and all of the above items with Mexican rice. All recipes available upon request.

    Because store bought chorizo pretty much turns into a puddle of grease when you cook it, I have been making my own chorizo for years. I have used ground beef, ground pork, and even ground goat, but my favorite is ground turkey. I can provide a simple chorizo recipe using common pantry ingredients if anyone would like to try making their own.

  23. Jenny R

    Yum! I can’t wait to try this. I love chorizo and I really like Trader Joe’s soy chorizo too for times when I want to cut down on the fat (like when using in a certain cheesy pasta dish-haha). I make little polenta tarts filled with chorizo, tomatoes, peppers and cheese–just squish the cooked and cooled polenta into muffin tins to make the crust, stuff, bake, and devour.

  24. Warren Twocock

    Chorizo and eggs, doesn’t everyone ?

    I also make clams, or mussels, and chorizo with white wine, onions, Italian parsley, lemon zest and garlic.

    I also use chorizo to replace Chinese sausage in a modification of a Malaysian fried noodle dish called char hor fun, fried rice noodles with shrimp, chorizo, green onions, baby bok choi etc.

  25. k. rodriguez

    This recipe is great!

    I use chorizo in beans, eggs, or mixed with beef for tacos. Great traditional mexican sausage and it is cheap!

  26. Lisa

    This was delicious! Thank you!

    Minor modification: I used the “beverage” setting on my microwave to warm the milk, then left it in there to stay warm until I was ready for it. One less pot to wash, one less burner going on a warm day, and no risk of scalding the milk.

  27. Tina

    We made this tonight…it was fabulous! I used the Mexican-style Chorizo as well. It was kind of funny because my husband asked if there was cinnamon in the mac and cheese, and I thought it smelled like cinnamon when the sausage was frying. Either way – it was wonderful and much easier than I had anticipated. The balance of flavors was just perfect. I will definitely be making this again.

  28. John Copeland

    Thanks for the absolutely killer mac and cheese recipe! I put this together as listed with the exception of using some fresh bulk chorizo from a local latin market and whole wheat elbow mac. A recipe like this ought to be doubled, just on general principle, so that is exactly what I did. The results: A perfect lasagna dish of mac and cheese. The first taste was perfect, but I have to say, this dish kept getting better each day. the last morsel was scarfed up today for lunch (5 days later)and it just as good, or better, than Thursday night’s fresh batch.

  29. Sleeping Should Be Easy

    I just had this literally 10 seconds ago and wanted to let you know it tasted great! I did however make a huge change, as in, I didn’t use chorizo, I used ground turkey (I had it in the freezer already). I still liked it!

  30. Chad

    Great,great,great! No breadcrumbs, Ok I did have time and all the bread on hand but I opted for Doritos. I also had no pepper jack on hand but I did have a nice jalapeno (on a stick?) which I added to the onions. More lime juice on the side and a scoop of sour cream. Will add this to my Mac and cheese file.

  31. Linda

    In Mexico they take the chorizo cook then it cover with green peppers and onion grilled but still crisp.. cover it with like a Monterrey Jack cheese and put under broiler.. serve with fresh flour tortillas or fresh made corn chips.. Out of this world! That is the soft Mexican style.. not the Spanish chorizo.

  32. Rheannon

    I got my chorizo at my local health food store -had never had it before. Mine was a bit firm and I didn’t see how it’d become soft enough to smash up in a skillet, so I put it in a food processor with a small amount of water and voila! I had a pate consistency. :). My Mac n cheese is baking right now for dinner!

    Great idea! ~Elise

  33. Jenny R

    Thought I’d give a little update–made this the other day with soy chorizo and despite adding an extra 1/2 cup of milk, it still ended up a bit dry. I’m guessing its because the soy chorizo is drier and a bit less greasy than the real deal?? Regardless, the flavor was still fantastic! Next time I make it with soy I will up the milk to 2 cups :)

  34. Akemi

    I made this with soy chorizo and based on Jenny R’s comment above added 1.5 cups of milk. I think the extra milk was a good idea, but my result wasn’t dry at all. However, I didn’t mix in any corn starch with the cheese (didn’t have any) and I cooked the onions briefly in a little olive oil before adding the soyrizo as soy meat doesn’t add oil to the pan the way animal meat does. It’s quite nice – thanks!

  35. RyanSullivan

    Elise, looks great! The best use of chorizo I’ve ever tasted would have to be chorizo stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, you should really make them!

  36. Vivian

    I made this recipe the other day and wow, was it ever tasty. Wasn’t too sure about the lime juice so I only used 1 teaspoon but will definitely use the full amount next time.

  37. JC

    I mostly use chorizo for nachos and I make a great chip dip with it using velvetta cheese and chorizo in a crock pot, but I am usually to busy to make my own Chorizo, but Sunset Farm Foods has a great chorizo chub.I can sometimes find it in stores, but usually I have to order from their website , http://www.sunsetfarmfoods.com, but it is soo worth it.

  38. Tri

    This sounds great! I will be trying it out soon.

    My favorite use of chorizo is in “Mexican eggs Benedict”. It’s basically an English muffin topped with a chorizo patty, tomato, and poached egg with cilantro hollandaise sauce. Also you can make home fries from the same pan that you cooked the chorizo in and it will infuse the potatoes.

  39. gracie

    I have used cooked & crumbled chorizo in quesadillas, w/a pepper jack
    cheese. A stuffing for chile rellenos. I like mixed with fried potatoes for breakfast. Mixed in with refried beans. Put on a pizza.
    I can’t wait to try in Mac & Cheese – sounds delicious.

  40. elsa

    Do you think i can prep it and let it sit in the fridge then bake it the next day?

    I haven’t made it ahead, but I don’t see why you couldn’t do as you’ve described. ~Elise

  41. Kristiana

    Hello Everyone,

    I use chorizo in many dishes. Dishes I use it in usually have ground beef a its main ingredient. Three particular dishes are home style
    tacos/burittos, spaghetti, and Frito pie /nachos. I use it in
    conjunction not in lure of. Provides something extra to each of the three dishes. Spaghetti coloring, nachos/frito pies sensation and
    tacos/burittos a spicy flavor. Do normal preperation, mix and season to taste and you have different dishes that’s sure to satisfy even the
    pickiest eaters.