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Jalapeño cheese dog mac & cheese

Jalapeno cheese dog mac and cheese | Homesick Texan

When I was in California last month for the photo shoot for Queso!, there was a copy of The Mac & Cheese Cookbook on hand at the studio. It was also published by Ten Speed and is the same size as mine, so looking through it gave me a good idea of what to expect with my book.

As I was flipping through the pages, oohing and ahhing at all the tempting recipes, my editor mentioned how much she had enjoyed cooking from it. “My favorite is the one with hot dogs and potato chips,” she said.

Curious what that combination would entail, I quickly flipped to that recipe and it was as simple as it sounds—elbow macaroni and sliced hot dogs smothered in a creamy cheddar sauce and topped with potato chips. I made a mental note I would have to make it when I got back home.

Jalapeno cheese dog mac and cheese | Homesick Texan

Now, as I pondered the dish, I began to think about all the ways I could adapt it. While Texans certainly eat their fair share of potato chips and hot dogs, there are other dogs popular across the state. For instance, bacon-wrapped Mexican hot dogs are common, as are San Antonio crispy dogs, corny dogs, chili-cheese dogs, and hot dog breakfast tacos. There are even places that top their dogs with macaroni and cheese. There was a lot to consider.

Then I remembered a hot dog I once had that was smothered in cheese sauce and topped with potato chips, which sounded like the idea behind the macaroni and cheese. That hot dog had been delicious, but I felt it could be more lively; a handful of chopped pickled jalapeños would have been the perfect touch. With that in mind, I then knew just what to do with my take on hot dog macaroni and cheese.

The authors, who own an Oakland restaurant called Homeroom that specializes in macaroni and cheese, use a basic béchamel as the foundation for their sauce, so I did the same. To this, however, I also added garlic and pickled jalapeños, before tossing it with the cooked elbow noodles and hot dog slices. A generous helping of cheddar cheese was mixed with the macaroni and then I broiled the skillet until bubbling. Before serving, I topped it with the potato chips, using jalapeño-flavored ones for extra heat.

Jalapeno cheese dog mac and cheese | Homesick Texan

Crunchy, creamy, snappy, and hot—the dish was jalapeño cheese dog mac & cheese heaven. And while that might not be a place you ever thought you wanted to visit, trust me—it might be a bit uncouth but it is very, very good.

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Jalapeno cheese dog mac and cheese | Homesick Texan
5 from 2 votes

Jalapeño cheese dog mac & cheese

Servings 8
Author Adapted by Lisa Fain from The Mac & Cheese Cookbook


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 3 hot dogs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces 3 cups shredded yellow Cheddar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ cup chopped pickled jalapeños
  • 2 cups lightly crushed jalapeño potato chips


  1. Cook the macaroni in a pot of boiling, salted water until tender. Drain and rinse.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the hot dogs in half lengthwise. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large oven-proof skillet on medium-high heat. Place the hot dogs in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, turning once, or until beginning to darken on each side. Remove the hot dogs.
  3. Turn the heat in the skillet down to medium-low and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the butter to the skillet. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds then stir in the flour. While stirring, cook until the flour is beginning to brown, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour in the milk, and while stirring cook until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in 2 cups of the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the salt, pepper, mustard powder, and cayenne. Turn off the heat.
  5. Turn on the broiler and position a rack 4 inches away from the heating element. Cut the hot dogs into smaller pieces. Stir into the sauce the drained macaroni, hot dogs, and jalapeños. Taste and adjust seasonings, if you like. (Be careful with the salt, however, as the chips and hot dogs will also be salty.)
  6. Cover the macaroni evenly with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and then place under the broiler until the top is bubbling, a couple of minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven and top with the crushed potato chips. Serve warm.

Recipe Notes

It’s important to grate your own cheese! Pre-shredded cheese in a bag has fillers to prevent it from clumping that also keep it from melting smoothly into the sauce, so I don’t recommend using it.

  1. Is this real life?! Wow this looks really interesting and totally delicious.

  2. Lisa Fain

    Jane–It is! If you're a fan of all the elements I think you'll find they go surprisingly well together. It's decadent but fun.

  3. Lea Ann (Cooking On The Ranch)

    Growing up in Kansas, this sounds like something my mom would have come up with – minus the jalapenos. Wish I had a bowl of this right now!

  4. Derek H

    Now this is some comfort food I can get behind! I love the idea of the jalapeno chips! I'll be giving this a try for sure. Jalapeno Cheese Dog Mac and Cheese, get in my belly!

  5. Lisa Fain

    Lea Ann–Yes, it does seem like Midwestern-style comfort food!

  6. Lisa Fain

    Derek–It's decadent but very good!

  7. Pure Evil….and I love ya for it!

  8. Lisa Fain

    Tracy–Ha! Yes it is!

  9. missingtx78

    Be still my beating heart! Talk about a scrumptious, delicious dish! For years I was burned out on mac'n'cheese but this! it raises mac'n'cheese & hot dogs to a new level! Pickled jalapenos and jalapeno chips! Lisa , thank you! The taste was on the orgasmic level as my daughter used to say!

    In the 50's when we'd got to San Luis Pass & surf fish. we'd slice the dog open & add a hunk of cheese & some minced jalapeno, wrap it in bacon & roast over the fire 'til the bacon was crisp & pop it in the bun.

    Lisa, I remember way back when I was living just outside of Chicago. Back then I couldn't find two items, the Louisiana green peppers in the tiny bottle that were hot nor could I find pickled jalapenos
    mother took pity on me and sent me a care package. One glorious morning our little mailman drove his little sidewalk cart to my side door & rang the bell. He had tears streaming down his face literally! Mother had sent several jars of the jalapenos, the La. peppers & a couple of quarts of whole Sour Pickles for me to make my crisp sweet pickle chips like "Mama" used to make from scratch. He said, Man I don't know what's in this package but it could be use as a secret weapon!
    His cart was closed up because it was the middle of winter & one of my pickled jalapeno jars had cracked & the fumes were unbearable for him.


  10. Lisa Fain

    MissingTx–Glad you enjoyed the macaroni and cheese. And thank you for sharing your stories! They have brought a smile to my face, but that poor postman!

  11. SeattleDee

    This sounds weirdly delicious, but I think I'll sub smoky chorizo or andouille for the hot dogs. We already love chiles in Mac & Cheese… Yum!

  12. Lisa Fain

    SeattleDee–It would be excellent with smoky chorizo or andouille!

  13. Amy Becker

    I made this using turkey hot dogs and breadcrumbs instead of potato chips. My family loved it with a salad on the side. Next time I'll use the chips too.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Amy–That's wonderful! I'm so glad y'all enjoyed it!

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