Creamy mac and cheese, made with double the cheeses, chipotle peppers, crispy bacon, and a buttery panko topping!  Perfect for a weeknight comfort food meal! #macandcheese #macaroni #bacon #chipotle #smoky #comfortfood #weeknightmeal #easyrecipe #homemade
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Mac and Cheese

Deliciously savory and smoky, this mac and cheese recipe uses two kinds of cheese, bacon, chipotle peppers and a buttery panko topping!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac and cheese recipe
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 1517kcal

Ingredients

  • 16 oz dried pasta shells or elbows
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion , minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce , minced
  • 3 cups medium cheddar cheese , shredded
  • 2 cups smoked Gouda cheese , shredded
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chile pepper
  • 2 - 3 tsp olive oil
  • 8 slices bacon , cooked and crumbled

Instructions

  • Boil pasta in a large pot of water.  Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl.  Butter or grease a large oven safe skillet (like cast iron), or 9x13" baking dish.  Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.
  • To a large saucepan, add butter and melt over MED heat.  Add onion and cook 3-4 minutes, until soft.  Add flour and stir to combine.  Cook about a minute.
  • Whisk in the half and half and heavy cream, removing all lumps from the flour.  Stir in salt, pepper, smoked paprika and minced chipotle peppers.  Whisk often, over MED heat, for 5-7 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in most of the cheeses a handful at a time.  Reserve about 1/2 cup of the combined cheeses to sprinkle on top of the mac and cheese later. Stir until cheeses are completely melted.
  • Pour cheese sauce over cooked pasta in mixing bowl.  Stir to combine well, then transfer to prepared skillet or baking dish.  Sprinkle with remaining shredded cheese.
  • Combine panko, ancho chile pepper and olive oil.  Sprinkle over the top of the mac and cheese, then top with cooked bacon pieces.
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly and panko is golden brown.  For a crispier topping, broil for a minute or two after baking.

Notes

To reduce calories a little: milk and half and half may be used in place of the half and half and heavy cream.  I wouldn't go below 2% milkfat though, or it may not thicken and be as creamy.

MAKE AHEAD INSTRUCTIONS

  • Make as directed (but do not bake), transfer to baking dish and cool completely.  Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate 1-2 days ahead.  
  • Before baking, let dish sit on counter for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at recipe temperature for 25-35 minutes, until hot and bubbly.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 1517kcal | Carbohydrates: 80g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 110g | Saturated Fat: 64g | Cholesterol: 348mg | Sodium: 1975mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3205IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 1092mg | Iron: 2.6mg