Green Chile Mac and Cheese

We used a mixture of hatch, anaheim, and poblano chiles for this dish, but any combination of those you'd like will work. Just remember to taste test the chiles before adding them to the casserole. Even though these are mild green chiles, once in a while you'll get a hot one!

Some markets sell a "Mexican blend" of shredded cheese; feel free to use this cheese blend in this recipe.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 cups elbow macaroni
  • Salt
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 pound (1 cup, packed) finely shredded jack cheese
  • 1/4 pound (1 cup, packed) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup corn kernels (frozen is okay, if frozen, defrost before using)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped roasted, seeded green chiles (or three 4 ounce cans diced roasted green chiles)*
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup panko or other breadcrumbs

*If you are roasting your own chiles (highly recommended), start with about 5-6 large green chiles—Hatch, Anaheims, or poblanos, or a mixture—and char them over a gas stove (see directions for roasting over a gas flame), under a broiler (roast until one side has blackened, then flip to blacken the other side), or on a grill. Place in a covered bowl to steam, then peel off the charred skin. Remove and discard the seeds and stems. 


1 Cook the macaroni very al dente: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (a tablespoon of salt for every 2 quarts of water). Add the macaroni pasta. Return to a rolling boil, and boil, uncovered, for about 2 minutes less than the cooking time given on the pasta box instructions.

The pasta should be mostly cooked, but still a little too firm to eat; it will complete its cooking in the oven.

When the pasta is ready, drain it into a colander and run cold water over it to stop the cooking.

2 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3 Make a roux with butter and flour: In an ovenproof pot such as a casserole or Dutch oven, heat the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melted and bubbly, stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook this, stirring often, for about 2 minutes. You don't want the roux to brown.

4 Slowly whisk in milk, then the cheeses: Add the milk to the roux, a little at a time, stirring constantly so that lumps do not form. Whisk until smooth.

Stir in the cheeses third at a time, stirring to incorporate after each addition.

5 Stir in pasta, chiles, corn, lime juice, salt: Add the macaroni, chiles, corn and lime juice and stir until well combined. Taste for salt, add a teaspoon, less or more, if needed.

6 Top with panko and bake: Top the mac and cheese with panko or breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes at 400°F, or until the breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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  • Annette

    Elise, I’m serving this tomorrow but won’t be able to cook it right before. Does it work to do everything up to the point of baking, then pop it into the fridge and bake later? Thanks!

  • Stephanie

    Does anyone know if this can be done in a crock pot? I was hoping to take this to a banquet so it would need to stay warm for at least and hour. Would I just need to leave the Panko off?

  • Jean Davis

    Needed a last minute fast dinner -Just improvised with a bit of store bought jalapeño cheese ball and nacho cheese sauce. Needed more heat so added 2 cans of diced green chilies. About to pull out of the oven. Smells incredible!!! Might try it with chopped or shredded chicken as a casserole.

  • Brooke

    I find that roasting and adding a few tomatillos (or a mild salsa verde) cuts the cloying cheese nicely. I’m also adding some fresnos with the poblanos and anaheims for a touch of heat. cilantro and avocado are nice accompaniments.

  • Shannon

    Loved this recipe! It strongly suggests using fresh roasted peppers, and I couldn’t agree more. Using an open gas burner, this probably added about 10-15 minutes on to the cook time but it had such a great smokey flavor, and the roasting was way easier than I expected. We also oven roasted some brussels sprouts and broccoli and tossed them into the pasta at the same time as the roasted peppers, which was delicious. I also found that this needed a pinch of salt, but that can always be added after the fact.


  • Kitty Wilcox

    I made it and it is delicious! Do pay attention to keeping the macaroni el dente .
    the sauce is delicious.


  • Christian Gehman

    A much easier way to turn up the heat is to gently wave some Scotch Bonnet peppers through the milk while it heats. No seeds. Be careful. Wash your hands carefully after cutting a few large, easily retrievable shreds of a Scotch Bonnet. Use a fork and a small paring knife. Drop these SB Shreds in the milk while it heats. Fish them out before making the sauce. Alternatively, just add several extra jolts of Tabasco to the sauce.

  • Amanda

    Looks sooooooooo good. Say I DO want the heat of jalapenos, would I just throw a couple of seeded ones in there. What do you think? We also don’t seem to have access to many varieties of peppers up here in ol’ Northern Canada. I never seem to find anything but jalapenos and the usual bell.

    • Elise Bauer

      Sure, a great way to turn up the heat is to include the seeds!

  • Ashley

    Well, I had great plans for the leftovers, but, no. In our experience, served 3, then pot empty. Good thing husband was out of town. Excellent as it is, though some among us can never resist adding hot sauce.


  • Deena Kakaya

    I feel a few notches warmer just looking at this recipe! I love chilies with cheese. I tend to use chipotle with cauliflower cheese…magic. I hope that you’ll take a look at some of my recipes too. Xx

  • Illa

    My boyfriend is a cheese loving Wisconsin guy with an equal love of chili peppers. This had him bouncing up and down (literally) saying yummy over and over. Great recipe! Will definitely make it again.


  • Dave

    This was pretty good. My grocer was picked clean on chilis so I was only able to get three anaheims. They were enough to give a nice flavor, but I really wish I could have gotten more. I’m not sure what I did wrong the first time I made the sauce, but I needed to add a lot more milk to get it to a consistency where I could add the pasta. Still good though!

    I used the sauce again tonight and had zero problems the way the recipe is written. Instead of the chilis, I used bacon and broccoli tonight as I needed to use ’em or toss ’em. Can’t wait to dig in.

  • Rosie

    Made this for dinner tonight and we all (hubby and 5 1/2 yr old included) loved it. Followed the recipe to the letter other than using 2% milk in lieu of non-fat but the sauce was just as rich and creamy. Thanks for giving me a reason to use those Hatch chile’s that I roasted and froze a month or so ago!


  • Claire

    So delicious! I added onions and smothered the finished product with some sour cream, and I’m so making this over and over and over. Thanks!

    • Christian Gehman

      Minced onions, properly browned in a little butter — especially shallots or Vidalia onions — can be very good indeed. No need to go light, though they do change the nature of the beast a bit.

  • Lee

    I have made this without the corn and lime juice but with a healthy dose of goat cheese. The goat cheese and chiles go together beautifully!

  • Heather

    This looks amazing, but I was hoping to know the weight of 2 cups of elbow macaroni. Is this simply a pound of dry pasta? Thanks for any advice.

  • Jennifer

    I made this over the weekend and we had it with red snapper and grilled peppers. It was so good – thanks again for another great recipe! I used canned chilies because that’s all I had the energy for but I’ll bet it’s wonderful with fresh!


  • CWarnahan

    What size dutch oven/ovenproof pot is recommended? Roasted my peppers last night and will be making this for dinner this evening. Can’t wait!

    • Elise Bauer

      I’ve cooked both a single batch and a double batch in a 3 quart Le Creuset Dutch oven.

  • Meredith

    Tastes kinda like a jalapeño popper. Yum!


  • Jim Gauntt

    Elise, we often find that mac and cheese is not creamy for us. If we make 1.5 recipes of the roux we could reserve some for serving, yes? Also, if this was mentioned forgive, but the best part of this might end up being the leftovers. We often cut into squares and re-Panko then freeze or refrigerate in serving sizes. When ready to use then thaw and deep fry – can’t wait

  • Sarah

    Mmmm. I do something similar but add diced seeded tomatoes, black olives, and some chopped cilantro in addition to the chiles (usually jalapenos, because I like a little heat!). So good.

  • Candy C.

    Made this tonight for supper and I have to say that it is the best mac & cheese I have ever had! Thanks Elise for another great, great recipe! :)


  • Graham

    Huge success with this recipe, I used jalapenos as my choice of chillis.


  • Robyn

    Ohmygarsh… This looks like Comfort food with a capital C. Am going make it at the first available opportunity. As you say, it looks crazy good. Think it’ll work with habaneros?

    • Elise Bauer

      Oh, I don’t think I would try this with habaneros. Too hot!

  • JoyofCooking

    This looks phenomenal! They’ve been roasting hatch chiles at the nearby Whole Foods recently–I’m definitely going to pick some up to give this a try.

  • josie

    I live in Sydney, Australia I’m wondering where I can phurchase monterey jack cheese if not available can I substitute with other cheeses like cheedar tasty cheese and gruyere.

    • Elise Bauer

      I don’t recommend using gruyere; it doesn’t play well with the chile and corn. I would go all cheddar if Monterey Jack is not available.

  • David

    I made this for supper tonight. My wife and I loved it! Not too spicy for her and she can not handle really spicy food.


  • Jane H.

    OH, myyyyy!

    I visited New Mexico for the first time one winter break (I’m a teacher) in 1994, and I became addicted to Hatch chiles. My dear friend and host Susan, the first night of my visit, served spaghetti and red sauce—with the addition of a blob of green chiles she’d roasted and frozen the previous September. I was dubious…until I tasted. Swooning ensued.

    I know the serendipity of chiles, cheese, and corn, since I sort of invented a chile relleno casserole that is a regular in our “rotation.”

    I cannot WAIT to try this recipe…THANK YOU.

  • Jeff @ Cheeseburger

    The addition of corn was surprisingly great. I wouldn’t have thought that corn would be a delicious addition to mac and cheese.

  • Sandra

    Can I make this and then portion it up into little containers for freezing?? (please let the answer be yes! :) )

  • Alison

    Made pumpkin mac n’ cheese last week, gonna make this one next! Yum! ;)

  • nikkipolani

    This was fantastic — even though I didn’t have corn and used padron peppers. I substituted the wheat flour with rice flour for the roux (which works quite well) and instead of panko or breadcrumbs, I used almond flour and slivered almonds for crunch. Easy gluten-free subs. And my dinner companion had heaping seconds :-)

    • Sandy S

      Thanks for the GF info! Love hearing that rice flour worked in the roux and your idea of slivered almonds! This put it on the To Do list!

  • sheila

    I am all over this one Darlin’!! I’m going to have to ask about Hatch Chili’s though I don’t think I have ever seen them around here (michigan)…we must have them right?! I’ll ask. This looks amazing…all the flavors I love.

    • deb

      Hatch’s Chiles are a New Mexico specialty; they’re the best green chiles anywhere! They are ripe about this time every year, and there are roasting and canning and eating celebrations all around! Sometimes you can find them in the grocery store , canned, saying “Hatch’s.” If not, your best substitution is a regular green chile (many brands available). They are usually marketed as “mild” green chiles; you’re not looking for the heat of a jalapeno.

      • Terri

        Hi Deb — if you have opportunity to try the Pueblo chile, please do so. Also known as the Mira Sol chile, it’s out of Pueblo CO. Sometimes described as more floral and grassy than Hatch chiles. Certainly meatier. And, IMHO, tastier!

        • Celia

          Terri, I second that regarding the Pueblo Chile. I order every year, roast and freeze for the year. Very tasty and meaty, I order Vic Mauro brand of Pueblo Chili, the best.

          • Terri Maize

            Hi Celia —
            If you ever want great Pueblo Mira Sol chile that you can order online roasted-peeled-packaged frozen and 2 to 5 lbs, I can connect you. Chopped chile is also an option.
            BTW, I recently learned that the Pueblo Mira Sol chile genetics come from Mexico vs. via New Mexico, hence the chile’s distinct characteristics vs. Hatch and Anaheim.
            Warm regards, Terri

      • Pam in Santa Fe

        Our green chile growers in Hatch, New Mexico are in a fierce battle over the folks who sell “Hatch” green chiles in a can. Seems those folks with the canned stuff are in Georgia.

    • Elizabeth Fitzmaurice

      If you live anywhere near a Trader Joe’s, they carry Hatch green chiles (canned). Not as good as fresh but way better than any other canned green chile. I don’t think all Trader Joe’s carry exactly the same products so it may just be that I’m in luck here. Hope you can find them. But definitely fresh is best.

      If you become an addict (easy to do), you can order them online (Google New Mexico Hatch Chile) in either the fresh state (and you’ll have to roast and freeze them all yourself), or I think some companies will send you them already roasted and frozen in packages, packed in dry ice. It’ll cost you a pretty penny though :)

  • Matt

    Oh my…is there a low carb version? :-/ Looks way too good.

    • Melissha Southard

      Sprouted grain pasta :)

    • Paul Gibson

      BGThere is a new product from Tolerant food…pasta made with 100% red lentils or 100% black beans. Obviously gluten free AND low carb….and high protein AND actually holds its form and texture better than any quinoa or brown rice pastas we’ve tried. Plus the red lentil one has a nice spicy flavor. One downside $8 for 12 ounces. But so worth it.

    • Shelly

      Substitute half of the pasta with cauliflower.