Baked jalapeno popper macaroni & cheese is made in just 30 minutes with a creamy pepperjack cheese sauce, sliced jalapeños, and crispy breadcrumb topping.
12 ounces macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups half & half (or milk)
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese, divided
1/2 cup sliced jalapeños (see note)
2/3 cup panko style breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large casserole or baking dish. Next, Cook macaroni pasta according to package’s instructions. Drain and set aside.
In a large pan or skillet melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour. Slowly and gradually whisk in milk until a sauce forms. Stir corn starch into evaporated milk until dissolved, then add to pan and whisk to combine.
Add dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cream cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pepperjack cheese and stir until cheeses are melted and combined with the sauce.
Stir noodles and jalapeños into the sauce. Transfer to prepared casserole/baking dish. Sprinkle remaining pepperjack cheese over the top.
Next make the topping. In a pan on the stove, melt butter. Add breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning and stir over medium-high heat until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Sprinkle over pasta.
Bake, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.