Bang Bang Mac and Cheese

Posted: February 17

Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

recipe image

Finally, a mac and cheese dish that explodes with flavor! Bang Bang Mac and Cheese has everything you want from mac and cheese: creamy, melty, stretchy cheese sauce with notes of cheddar, Colby Jack, and Monterey Jack blanketing tender pasta with a topping of crunchy, toasted breadcrumbs. But Bang Bang Mac and Cheese has a secret ingredient—a hit of cayenne pepper that adds a kick of heat and spice. This actually makes it taste even more cheesy by contrast, so you may just have the cheesiest mac and cheese around when you serve this up!


• water, for boiling • 1 (16-ounce) package medium shells pasta • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs • 1 cup whole milk • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded • 8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, freshly shredded • 8 ounces Colby Jack cheese, freshly shredded • salt, to taste • pepper, to taste


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2

Grease a 9x13-inch casserole dish.

Step 3

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta halfway through according to package directions.

Step 4

Drain the pasta.

Step 5

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.

Step 6

Add the breadcrumbs and sauté, stirring frequently, until toasty brown.

Step 7

Pour the breadcrumbs into a bowl and set it aside.

Step 8

In the same skillet, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.

Step 9

Pour in the milk and cayenne.

Step 10

Add the cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Colby Jack and melt until a smooth sauce forms.

Step 11

Fold the pasta into the cheese sauce in the skillet.

Step 12

Season the mixture with salt and pepper.

Step 13

Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Step 14

Top the mac and cheese with the panko breadcrumbs.

Step 15

Cover and bake for 25 minutes, removing the lid for the last 5-10 minutes.

Step 16

Let the mac and cheese sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Step 17


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