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Chipotle macaroni and cheese with bacon

Chipotle macaroni and cheese with bacon | Homesick Texan

I’m roasting chiles and frying up bacon. What am I making, you might ask? What everybody wants to eat after being ill for a few days: chipotle macaroni and cheese. With bacon, of course.

OK, so this might seem a bit heavy for a re-entry into the land of the normal eating, but let me tell you—I’m hungry! And while the best thing I can say about not feeling well is that your skinny jeans are suddenly a viable option in your wardrobe, in the end I’d rather be well than ill. Though who wouldn’t? But let’s talk about chipotle macaroni and cheese, shall we?

My family, much like yours I reckon, has always made homemade macaroni and cheese. Sure, we’d have the box stuff on hand for after-school snacks or donations to the church food pantry, but in my house the real, homemade stuff was what was preferred.

Mom makes her macaroni and cheese in a variety of ways, but my favorite is a casserole of pasta suspended in a luscious sauce comprised of egg yolks, cheese and heavy cream. And just when you think it couldn’t be any more extravagant, she throws in diced, thick ham and tops it off with buttery breadcrumbs.

Yes, this is an excellent dish, but because of its richness I only advise serving it on special occasions. When it comes to a more everyday, simple macaroni and cheese, I turn to a method I learned in the New York Times.

This recipe requires little effort besides pouring cottage cheese blended with milk over dry pasta, tossing in some shredded cheese and baking it for an hour. No endless stirring a sauce or boiling a batch of pasta, which makes it a cinch to make. The Times version kept it plain, but I’ve made it my own by adding chipotle and garlic. And I top it with bacon and cotija, which adds contrast to the oozing cheese and soft pasta.

Chipotle macaroni and cheese with bacon | Homesick Texan

I realize that my macaroni and cheese may appear as decadent as my mom’s, but feel free to convince yourself that it’s a touch more healthy due to the cottage cheese and all. I do. But you know what? We’re nearing the end of a long, cold winter and sometimes you just need to pamper yourself. And for me, comfort comes clothed in chipotle chiles, cheese and bacon.

Chipotle macaroni and cheese with bacon | Homesick Texan
5 from 1 vote

Chipotle macaroni and cheese with bacon

Servings 8
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from the New York Times


  • 2 cups dry elbow pasta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • Pinch cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup crumbled cotija cheese (optional but delicious!)


  1. Heat the oven to 375° F.

  2. Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking pan with the butter. Add the dry pasta.

  3. In a blender, mix together the milk, cottage cheese, chipotle chile, mustard powder, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper until it’s smooth. Pour mixture over dry pasta and stir until sauce is evenly distributed.

  4. Combine the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, then stir in two cups of the shredded cheese. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

  5. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and stir the macaroni and cheese a couple of times. Top with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese, chopped bacon, and butter, and cook for another 25 minutes uncovered or until brown and bubbling.

  6. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cotija and serve.

  1. Chipotle anything makes me happy, so paired with mac n cheese I think I'm going to go insane. Your pictures are drool-worthy!

  2. I love the cottage cheese here. Cook's Illustrated uses it in a few of their pasta dishes too and the flavor is great.

    Surprisingly, I've had difficulty finding cojita near me. Must expand the search it seems.

    I'm thinking polanos/rajas might be tasty in mac and cheese too, if not a little outside the norm.

  3. This looks like definite recovery food to me! I didn't have boxed mac n cheese until college and while I appreciate it for what it is, nothing is better than homemade. I love your use of cottage cheese. So good. And yes comfort is definitely cheese, bacon and chipotles. And of course pasta.

  4. You had me at bacon, but with chipotles, now you really got me!

  5. Sorry you were sick! But glad you got your appetite back with a vengeance to share this recipe:) Gorgeous and scrumptious sounding as usual!

  6. Holy cow this sounds amazing. You had me at chipotle, or mac-n-cheese, errr, I mean bacon. Either way-you had my attention w/ this dish!

  7. I've never seen this method of cooking mac and cheese! I'll definitely try this recipe out.

  8. Lucie–I agree–chipotle anything makes me happy as well.

    Apronless–Yep, I've made it with rajas as well. So good! And I can't believe you can't find cotija. Is there not a Fiesta near you?

    Joanne–The cottage cheese is such a neat trick, I was happy to learn it!

    Daxphillips–Those two were just made for each other, weren't they?

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–Thank you!

    Melissa–It's hard not to be thrilled by all three of those, I agree!

    Karly–Try it!

  9. Oh wow.. this looks so tasty! I also always preferred my Mom's homemade mac'n cheese over the box stuff. Although she never added bacon and usually used whole wheat noodles (a bit of a health nut!)
    Amanda from:

  10. Oh my goodness, just when I was coming over to post a reply for your Dewberry Cobbler recipe I find this! I have to try this 🙂

    I recently found your blog and am loving it! The cobbler was a great success (only I used Strawberries and Blueberries instead). I have never tried Dewberries.

    Right now I have your Jalapeno-Cheddar Roll recipe rising for local beef Hamburgers tonight with Calico Beans 🙂

    Thanks for sharing so many wonderful recipes!

    Have a wonderful day!

  11. Oh mercy me… Luby's is now second fiddle!

  12. Amanda–My mom used whole wheat noodles, too. I don't mind them, even though they're a bit chewier.

    Sharon–Dewberries are a lot like blackberries. And hope y'all enjoy the hamburger buns! You have a wonderful day, too!

    Folloder–Now that's high praise!

  13. I cannot wait to try this – I have been on a cooking with chipotle kick and this one will play well in the sandbox with the other recipes! Love it !

  14. Man am I going to earn some points with this one. I have a friend who is nuts for chipotle, and she has got the grunge. She thinks she got it from me on a car trip, but it was allergies and I have not been sick!! I am going to make a batch of this and take it to her. Then she'll have to be my friend again.

  15. Oh Heavens to Betsy…I believe I may have shorted out my keyboard…

    …with drool.


  16. After not making mac and cheese for years, this winter I've been making it every few weeks, even for dinner parties. I'm definitely going to toss some chipotle into my next batch; this just looks too good!

  17. This sounds amazing!! I'm not familiar with cotija either – will have to look for that!

  18. This looks wonderful. Flemings Steak House has a great Chipolte Mac and Cheese, I've made it and blogged about it. Your recipe is different and I think it sounds better than Flemings. I'll have to give it a try. Love the cottage cheese addition!

  19. Wow – baking the dry pasta with the sauce? What a cool idea. This does sound decadent.

  20. Smoked chipotle in black bean soup is about the best thing ever! I am now dying to try chipotle in mac and cheese. Girl, you should write a book.

  21. This mac n' cheese sounds amazing!

    My household is gluten free, so I am going to try making it using gluten free brown rice pasta.

    Thanks for sharing…


  22. was just revelling in your baked beans for grownups yesterday – but this mac and cheese is definitely on the menu for the weekend! Thanks again!

  23. Can't wait to try this! BTW, tried the sour cream enchiladas a while back, and they are to die for. Thanks!!

  24. This sounds awesome! Have you ever made this with low or non-fat ingredients (milk, cheddar, and cottage cheese)? Wondering how much I can lighten this without completely ruining the taste. Thanks!

  25. Yes please! What a knock-out combination of flavors. I love that you don't have to pre-cook the pasta too.

  26. I think I'm going to try this tomorrow! Perfect for this weird rain snow we're having. I think I *might* make a feeble attempt at being healthy by throwing a little spinach or kale in there.

  27. Cathy–I'm always a fan of something that plays well in the sandbox!

    The Runaway Spoon–This should definitely make her feel better.

    Linda–Quick, get a tissue!

    Lydia–It's been one of those winters, I reckon.

    Mary–It's a wonderful cheese, I hope you can find it!

    Cinde–I've had this with brown rice pasta and it's just as delicious!

    Tasty Eats at Home–I know, great idea isn't it? Who knew!

    Ya-Roo–Oh, yes. I love the combination of chipotles with black beans. And, um, thank you–I'm working on it!

    Bruce Swabb–Enjoy! Heck, I actually enjoy the two together at a barbecue!

    Jessica–Thank you, I'm so happy you love them. They're definitely a staple around my house as well.

    Maria–I wouldn't use fat free but low fat works, it's just not as luscious. And I usually add more cheese (which probably mitigates the advantage of using low fat!).

    Phoo-D–Not pre-cooking the pasta makes this such a cinch!

  28. Deceiver of Men–I like the addition of spinach or kale as greens go wonderfully with bacon and chipotles. And yep, it's perfect food for surviving the snow globe we're living in right now.

  29. I love everything about this recipe. I just made the Cooking Light Bacon Ranch Mac N Cheese for my lunch today.

    I followed the direction to the T and it tasted like ass. I ended up adding crushed red pepper and that helped. I wish I would have seen your recipe before!

    Thanks for sharing it!

  30. Mmm, this is definitely a southwestern kind of recipe 🙂 I do love me some baked macaroni.

  31. mmmmm…i just pulled this out of the oven and snuck a bite. love. it. thanks for the recipe!

  32. Cotija in it! Brilliant! Wow. I'm thinking some added broccoli florets. And wondering about some diced prosciutto, instead of the bacon. Although, shoot, how can I turn down bacon? Ever?

  33. Austin homes–Baked macaroni is indeed good!

    Nadia and Jeremy–Yay! I'm so happy you like it!

    Mark Scarbrough–I think broccoli would be a fine addition, as well as prosciutto.

  34. I love this for two reasons… don't have to cook the macaroni first, and of course, chipotle 😉

  35. Read this, rushed to the shop, and just now put in into the oven.
    Simple Mac and Cheese with Chile peppers and bacon is exactly right for me.
    Great site by the way

  36. I think I might be able to hear my arteries clogging just looking at it… but I still feel compelled! Looks great!

  37. Looks like a good recipe! Another option for mac & cheese (or any cheese sauce) is to use evaporated milk, which makes it incredibly creamy without being super rich. If you get the low fat kind, it's still very creamy but without putting you into heart attack country.

  38. I'm making this for dinner today–while we watch the USA-Canada gold medal game! going to sub 5 links of cooked chorizo sliced into coins for the bacon–thought it would go well with the chipotles, and make it more of a one dish meal.

    Can't wait!

  39. Karen–Yep, those are two reasons why I love this, too!

    Martin–Thank you and I hope you enjoyed it!

    Frankie–All good things in moderation!

    Mike–That's a great idea! I'll have to try it with evaporated milk next time. Do you use a 1:1 ration or less?

    Mitch–I love that you're making it with chorizo! Enjoy!

  40. Hi Lisa,

    I would suggest doing it at about 3/4 evaporated for what you'd normally put in of normal milk. That's a guess, really; I don't do recipes to the letter. Basically, whatever looks right. I know that isn't terribly helpful…

  41. Lisa,

    How many people does this serve? I want to make this recipe for a dozen guys this weekend. Love the blog.

  42. Mike–Good to know!

    Henson-I'd say it serves 8, so you might want to double the recipe. Though if you're serving it with a ton of other things you might be OK. But it's good as leftovers as well!


  44. Anonymous

    I MUST make this recipe this week! Even though I like chipotles (and I live in Dallas so I can find them everywhere!), I'm thinking of maybe subbing the chipotle for pepperjack cheese–have you ever tried this?? Now I just need another cast iron skillet so I can make the tex mex squash casserole at the same time (which I LOVE and have since shared the recipe with friends)!! Thanks for all the delicious food, as always!


  45. Now THIS — spicy, smoky, cheesy… how could it be bad?

    Real, homemade macaroni and cheese ROCKS. Bigtime drool.

  46. That looks spectacular! You're not by any chance related to "Lisa Flood"- the other Homesick Texan by chance? I love Tex Mex!
    God Bless

  47. Wow. I've been looking for a new mac-a-cheese recipe to try and this one definitely gets my attention. I like my mom's version and have tried quite a few others. This one is next on my list.

  48. Doubled the recipe and made it for a big crowd. THE BEST!!!

    As good as your mom's pinto beans (and that is my new favorite recipe ever) – the pickled jalapeno juice is nothing short of GENIUS.

  49. amazing recipe, i love love looove chipotle, anywhere, anytime, you made my day with this recipe, welldone, cheers from london

  50. Cathy–Yay! I'm so happy y'all enjoyed it!

    Jennifer–I think that would be a delcious substitution.

    Lo–I agree!

    Meade–I'm not familiar with Lisa Flood.

    Kellypea–Hope you enjoy it!

    Joan–Good to hear–glad y'all liked it! And yes, I love her jalapeno pickle juice trick. Makes for a stellar pot of beans!

    Pity–Thank you!

  51. I am literally drooling. Cheesy, spicy, AND bacony? What more could I ask for really. I know! Someone who also loves cheesy and spicy as much as me to share it with! The boyfriend doesn't do creamy textures, I'll have to eat the whole thing by myself – or wait until a good friend visits. She would enjoy this decadence as much as I would.

  52. So, I used to love one of Martha Stewart's recipe for Macaroni and cheee, I think I have just found my new love for Macaroni and Cheese, bacon, and chipotle peppers? This is so over the top.

  53. This looks FAB! I'm linking up to your site cuz I think we have the same taste in food.

    Do you know about the site Texas Blogging Gals? You would fit right in. It's a site where you can link your blog with other bloggers who live, have lived, or just love Texas. I love visiting NYC! When my hubs and I first married we thot we were going to live in NYC. It didn't work out but was exciting to dream about it for a while.

    I'll be back!

  54. Oh goodness. This mac n cheese. My belly. Party tonight.

  55. Wow! Che bomba! And I mean that in the best way possible. Can't wait to try this.

  56. happyfeet

    I saw this and it remindered me of the grilled cheese truck! Whenever it comes it has a HUGE line and so far I've only had their signature sammich… it's a grilled mac and cheese sammich with barbecued pork. I'd never had macaroni and cheese in sammich form before, but it was very tasty.

    They have a brie and pear grilled cheese that must be very popular too cause of they were out of the brie by the time we got to the front of the line.

    "I would like the brie sammich," I said. "We are out of brie," replied the very earnest-looking kind of heavyset guy what was taking the orders.

    So I got the other one.

    Maybe next time they'll have brie.

  57. The hubby made this on a cold snowy Wednesday night and OMG it was AMAZING! And leftovers heated up nicely for lunch the next day! Another Homesick Texan Hit!

    Thx again!

  58. I just made this recipe last night for friends, and it was fantastic. I think I'm going to use this as a template for other mac and cheese iterations. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  59. I'm a "chipotle virgin" so bear with me – I bought a can called "Chipotle in Adobo". Am I to use the ENTIRE can? Or just a bit? I'm confused and am making this for supper tonight. Don't know if you'll read this in time to help or not but in any case, I need clarification please.

  60. Cheri–Just use one of the chipotle chiles. You can save the rest of the can for other uses in your fridge up to a month.

  61. Made this last night! It was SO easy and the Hubs went crazy for it. Do you think the addition of any herbs would compliment the dish? Our herb garden is teeming over and I've got to use some of it up. I'm thinking cilantro – any other ideas?

  62. Ok Cathy posted this on our site and I can't wait to try it for myself. It sounds fabulous :D. Thanks for sharing it with her … who in turned shared it with me :D.

  63. Anonymous

    This is the second recipe I have made from your website and again very successful conclusion. I loved how the mac and cheese came out! I am used to the boxed versions and this recipe changed my perception on mac and cheese. Plus, anything made in cast iron is always better in my opinion.

  64. Thanks for this awesome recipe! Beats the pants off any other macaroni I've had. So easy, too. Between this and your chipotle sweet potato soup, of which I've made two batches in the last couple weeks, I've gone through a lot of chipotles lately! YUM!

  65. This recipe is incredible and much easier than most mac and cheese recipes I've made or seen. I made it this weekend and can't wait to make it again.

  66. Wow, this was truly wonderful! I have almost all my student workers, who are Carribean, loving this dish too!

  67. what do you think about substituting yogurt for cottage cheese? My boyfriend is lactose intolerant and has a problem with cottage cheese but does okay with yogurt. I use yogurt in place of ricotta cheese in a lot of baked goods for this reason. I might just go for it, but I wanted to see what you thought?

  68. Nico–I've never tried it that way, but it could work. I might use thick, Greek-style yogurt.

  69. I've just discovered your blog and found a some recipes I want to try including this one. Sounds and looks amazing.

  70. Anonymous

    About how many ervings would this make? Sounds delicious

  71. Anon–6-8 servings

  72. Made this tonight and it was wonderful and couldn't have been easier! Thanks for a great recipe! Any idea if it would freeze well?

  73. Carys–You can freeze it.

  74. Rachel ratliff

    We found your website when we were searching for a new Mac and cheese recipe. I stumbled on your site and loved the picture, thought it looked delish!!! I showed my partner and we made it tonight (sat jun 2nd) , it's sensational!! I have also omitted to mention that we are in Australia so we have some constraints in regards to ingredients. Lucky for us we have this great shop here called USA foods who import popular us foods so I was able too get the chipotle chillis. Jack cheese is another matter so we used Colby and low fat tasty and low fat cottage. My partner reckons its the best Mac and cheese he's ever eaten!!! Thanks so much and I can't wait to get a copy of your book, looks wonderful !
    Cheers , Rachel Ratliff Melbourne Australia

  75. stephanie

    i made this a couple nights ago and it was good!

    since it's only the two of us and i wanted it as a side, i halved the recipe – though i the halves were somewhat heaping at times. i scooped a cup of macaroni, but added a little more so it covered the bottom of my mini casserole dish. so i splashed a little extra milk and heaped on a little more cottage cheese to compensate.

    i wasn't trying to cut chipotles in half so i still added a whole one – i tasted the milk mixture and man alive, those things are SPICY right out of the can, lol! i always throw three or so into crock pots of stuff which i never think of as spicy, just flavorful.

    anyway, after the first bake the macaroni was cooked but seemed pretty dry, so i drizzled over some more milk and stirred it in. i added the cheese and sprinkled some panko over the top for some extra crunch before adding the bacon and butter. when it was all baked the flavors were properly muddled and mellowed and it was really good.

    in my mind i imagined it a bit gooier, like velveeta, the cottage cheese making a thick sauce…but really it just blends down into milk. i think maybe some day i'll try making it on the stove and doing the whole roux thing if i want a saucy version.

    we had it with ranch chicken and a big green salad. boyperson who isn't really into carb sides and even less into pasta ate the whole giant square i gave him. we polished off about half the dish, but if we weren't starving that night i'd say the halved recipe would make six nice side sized portions.

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