Skip the bowl and just grab a spoon. Creamy, luscious, decadent, and oh-so cheesy, Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese is the ultimate celebration of Hatch chile season.
Whether you’re looking for the ultimate side for your smoked pulled chicken sandwiches or smoked chuck roast, macaroni and cheese is always the right answer. This recipe comes with a reminder, sharing is caring! While this irresistible and unadulterated ode to all things Hatch chile will have you wanting to hoard the entire pan for yourself, pass a spoon and be a superhero to your friends and family.
Why This Recipe Works
Quick Cook Time – Unlike baked macaroni and cheese or smoked mac and cheese recipes that require additional time and steps, this stovetop version will give you almost instant gratification and have you eating straight from the pot in no time.
Family Friendly – Kids already love creamy macaroni and cheese. This is a fun way to introduce new flavors to them. When roasted Hatch chiles take on a smoky and buttery flavor making them a palate-friendly way to add flavor without overpowering heat.
Clean Ingredients – This recipe for green chile mac and cheese gives you control over all of the ingredients. There is no need for any processed cheese with a questionable shelf life.
In a world of cheese, why settle for one when you can have four? Let’s chat about some of the ingredients that will make a difference for this recipe:
- Roasted Hatch Chiles – These are the stars of the show. Smoky, buttery, and a little earthy, they will permeate all of the cheese sauce. You can’t beat roasting your own chiles.
- Unsalted Butter – Cheese is a salty ingredient in itself. Use unsalted butter to keep control of the final flavors.
- Garlic Cloves – Aromatic and bright, garlic adds a depth of savory flavor to the cheese sauce while balancing the richness.
- Mexican Oregano – Herbaceous, bright, and floral, Mexican oregano compliments the flavors of the roasted Hatch chiles while adding depth to the sauce.
- All Purpose Flour – The heart of all béchamel sauces begins with a roux made from flour and butter. This is what gives the sauce its viscosity.
- Whole Milk – There are a couple of non-negotiables in any mac and cheese recipe. The first is whole milk. Not only will this give your final dish more flavor and richness, it affects the texture, helping it be creamier.
- Cream Cheese – This single ingredient does triple duty. It adds tang to balance the rich cheeses, it helps make the sauce ultra creamy and decadent, and it also helps stabilize the sauce along with the roux.
- Pepper Jack Cheese – The ultimate melty cheese, with a kick. The jalapenos complement the roasted Hatch chiles while the mellowness of the Monterey Jack cheese doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.
- Sharp Cheddar – A true macaroni and cheese classic, the sharpness of the cheese balances the richness and adds zing and depth.
- Smoked Gouda Cheese – This is the salami of the cheese world. Mellow and slightly sweet Gouda is traditionally smoked over hickory chips. This hard cheese is also the perfect burger topper.
- Ground Mustard – Just a little instantly transforms your béchamel sauce from one note to savory and layered. Its slightly spicy and pungent flavor balances the quartet of cheeses. It also helps to emulsify the cheeses so they stay melty.
How to Make Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese
This is macaroni and cheese. It’s meant to be over-the-top delicious and a total hug for the soul. It’s the very definition of comfort food and will have everyone going back for seconds and asking for the recipe. The best part, it’s just as easy as it is delicious.
- Mise en Place – Grate your cheeses and allow your cream cheese to sit out at room temperature. You want it soft so it easily melts into the sauce.
- Into the Pot – Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add your salt. Cook your macaroni according to the package directions for al dente, reserving some of the pasta water. The pasta will cook a little more when it is married with the cheese sauce so stop the cooking process by rinsing it under cold water and allowing it to drain until you’re ready for it.
- Getting Saucy – While your pasta is cooking, make your cheese sauce. Add your milk to a small saucepan on low heat, warming it through.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add your butter. Once the butter has melted add your garlic, roasted Hatch chiles, and Mexican oregano. You are looking to infuse the flavors into the butter while softening the garlic and waking up the dry oregano.
Once the garlic has softened sprinkle in your flour, stirring continually so it absorbs all of the butter. Continue to stir and allow it to cook for 3-4 minutes. It will turn a light brown color and begin to smell a little nutty.
Working about half a cup at a time, slowly drizzle in your milk and whisk, allowing it to fully incorporate before adding your next drizzle of milk. Continue to whisk, keeping it on a low simmer. You will begin to see it thicken after 3-4 minutes. It should coat the back of a spoon and hold its shape.
- Cheese Please – Lower the temperature of your stove and add a few chunks of the cream cheese at a time, stirring to melt it before adding more. Proceed with the grated sharp cheddar and smoked Gouda in the same way, adding a little at a time and stirring to melt. Finally, add in your ground mustard and stir your sauce until it’s fully incorporated. No judgment if you lick the spoon.
- Finishing Touch – Remove your pan from the heat and fold in your macaroni. Add a little at a time, so you can pick your perfect sauce-to-pasta ratio. If the sauce seems a little too thick, drizzle in some pasta water.
Finally, taste for seasoning. Remember your pasta was cooked in salt water and your cheeses are salty so adjust accordingly. And don’t forget, sharing is caring!
Variations of Ingredients
- Pasta Shape – Have fun with your pasta shapes. Cavatappi, penne, and shells are other good options. You want to pick a short-cut pasta, ideally, one that has ridges, or rigati, to help the sauce cling better.
- Cheeses – This combination of cheeses works for both texture and flavor profiles. However, you can try out some of your favorite cheeses for a different variation. Jalapeno Havarti would be a great swap for the pepper jack cheese. Regular Gouda can be substituted for smoked Gouda, you just won’t have that additional layer. Remember, it is the salami of cheeses.
- Roasted Hatch Chiles – There is nothing like the magic of roasting your own Hatch chiles. As soon as they hit the grill it’s an automatic Pavlovian response. However, they’re only in season for a limited time. There are varieties of jarred and canned roasted Hatch chiles that you can use. In addition, you can also try roasting Anaheim or poblano peppers for a slightly different flavor profile.
Tips and Tricks
- If roasting your own Hatch chiles for this, or any Hatch chile recipes, don’t ever rinse them when peeling them. This will remove the natural oils from the chiles and dilute the flavors as well as wash away the flavor of char.
- Grate your own cheese! This is the second non-negotiable when it comes to the ultimate bite of mac and cheese. Not only does pre-grated cheese not have the same depth of flavor, it also is coated in starches that will affect the final texture of your mac and cheese. It should be creamy and dreamy, not lumpy and sad.
- You don’t have to use the entire pound of macaroni. If you like a creamier mac and cheese with more sauce-to-pasta ratio, don’t add all of the pasta.
- Save your pasta water! Just before you’re getting ready to drain your pasta, reach for your morning coffee mug and scoop out some of that magical pasta water. The starches in it will help keep the sauce emulsified white also adding more flavor than just milk because of the salt.
- Always rinse your pasta to stop the cooking. This also allows you to cook the pasta ahead of time and store it in an airtight container until you’re ready to make your Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese.
- Use your senses when making your roux. Not only will it change colors and become more golden, you will also smell the butter browning and the flour toasting. When it begins to smell a little nutty you can add your milk.
- Temperature matters. Adding cold milk to the warm roux can cause it to seize up, creating lumps. This is why it’s important to always warm your milk first. Likewise, once you’ve added your milk and it’s fully incorporated into your béchamel sauce, you don’t want the heat so high that it comes to a boil. This will cause your sauce to break.
Need more ideas for Hatch Chiles?
Check out the Hatch Chile Recipes Guide for details on how to roast them, store them, and more recipes. Read along as this will continue to be updated with new recipes and tips.
More Hatch Chile Recipes
- Hatch Chile Chimichurri
- Roasted Hatch Chile Jam
- Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Hatch Chiles
- Roasted Hatch Chile Rellenos
- 1 ½ cups diced Hatch chiles, roasted, peeled, and seeded (about 6-7)
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk, slightly warmed
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
- 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- Kosher salt to taste
- (optional) Roast the Hatch chiles if they are fresh. Char them on a grill over high heat for about 4-5 minutes per side until the skin has started to char and blister. Place them in a plastic bag and allow them to sweat for 10 minutes before peeling off the skin. Remove the stems and seeds and dice the chiles.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles to the water and cook until al dente. Timing may vary based on the pasta itself. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Strain the pasta and rinse with cold water.
- Add your milk to a small saucepan on low heat, warming it through.
- While the noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the minced garlic, chiles, and Mexican oregano. Cook for a few minutes until the garlic has softened.
- Add the flour to the butter and whisk to form a smooth roux. Continue to cook and whisk for about 3-4 minutes until the roux is a light-brown color. Slowly pour in the warmed milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, while whisking to form a smooth sauce. Make sure the sauce does not boil, it needs to stay at a low simmer. You’ll notice the sauce thickening after about 3-4 minutes.
- Lower your temperature and start to add in the cream cheese, a little at a time, gently whisking until it’s completely melted before adding more. Do the same for the rest of the cheeses and the ground mustard, whisking and adding in a portion at a time until the sauce is melted and smooth. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add in the cooked pasta a little at a time, folding it into the green chile cheese sauce.
- Taste and adjust with more salt if needed. Serve and enjoy!
- Read the Hatch Chile Recipes guide for tips on how to roast, peel, and store Hatch chiles.
- Make sure you rinse your pasta briefly, this removes excess starch and halts the cooking process. I don’t always recommend this tip but it makes a difference when working with cheesy sauces.
- The milk NEEDS to be warm, otherwise, you’ll have problems with making the sauce. Microwave the milk if you must.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 20
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mac and Cheese
Keywords: Hatch chile, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese, spicy food, side dish, Hatch chile recipes, Green chile