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Chipotle Mac and Cheese with Bacon

Author - Serena Wolf
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 rasher bacon 8 ounces
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • ½ cup flour
  • cups 2% milk
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided (I like to use a blend of mild and half sharp cheddar, but it’s up to you)
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo from the chipotle pepper can
  • 2 oz barbecue flavored Pop Chips or barbecue potato chips of your choice, crushed


  • Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. When cool, crumble bacon into small pieces and set aside.
  • Cook the cavatappi in boiling salted water for 6 minutes. It should be al dente (aka still slightly firm). Strain the pasta and run it under cold water to prevent it from sticking together.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Now it’s time to make the badass cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan/pot over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the flour. Allow the roux (this is the fancy name for the butter-flour mixture) to cook for about 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until golden and bubbly. Slowly add the milk and half and half and allow it to simmer, whisking constantly until thickened. Don’t freak out if it doesn’t thicken right away. It can take up to 8 minutes, okay? Your sauce should now be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Reduce the heat to low and slowly mix in 2 cups of the cheddar cheese and the American cheese.
  • When all of the cheese is incorporated, mix in the chopped chipotles, adobo sauce, and crumbled bacon.
  • Add the cavatappi to the cheese sauce and mix until the pasta is coated. Pour your mac and cheese into a skillet/backing pan/cake pan/whatever you have available. (You’ll need something at least 10-inches in diameter.)
  • Top the mac and cheese with the remaining cup of shredded cheddar.
  • Place the Pop Chips (or barbecue chips of your choice) into a large Ziploc Bag and crush them into small pieces with your hands. Pour the crushed chips in an even layer over the cheese.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Serve hot and get weird.