Green Chili Mac & Cheese Recipe

Macaroni and cheese is a classic for a reason — there is no better meal. Yep, we said it. Tell us we're wrong. We adore classic mac and cheese or fancier versions, like this one with chicken apple sausage. Any kind is loved by us.

Recipe developer and registered dietitian nutritionist, Kristen Carli, MS, RD, brings us this southwestern version that is popular in her hometown of Phoenix, Arizona: green chile mac and cheese. In this recipe, we use canned green chiles because they are available year round and are very easy to quickly throw into this dish. That said, feel free to use roasted and diced fresh green chiles, if you prefer. Both renditions are amazing, and add a little extra kick to the classic recipe.

Follow our step-by-step guide below to make your own batch of green chili mac and cheese. We know you will love this dish — we sure do.

Gather your ingredients for green chile mac and cheese

To make this delicious green chili mac and cheese, we first need to gather our ingredients. For this recipe, you will need elbow macaroni noodles, whole milk, unsalted butter, shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded triple cheddar cheese, and canned green chiles. We love using this Tillamook triple cheddar cheese because it combines medium white cheddar, sharp cheddar cheese, and medium cheddar cheese. If you cannot find triple cheddar cheese, any type of cheddar cheese will do.

Boil the pasta

To get started, we need to bring a large pot of water to boil. Once the water is boiling, add the elbow macaroni noodles. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain the pasta and return it back to the hot pot. We will continue to add the remaining ingredients to the residually hot pot in order to make the melty cheese sauce.

Add milk and butter

Once the noodles have been drained, add the whole milk and the butter to the pasta. Stir continuously to allow the butter to melt. The butter will melt fairly quickly because the noodles and the pot are hot. Continue to stir until all of the butter has been melted. Now, return the pot to the stove and set the heat to medium. This will encourage the cheese, which we add in the next step, to melt more quickly.

Add the cheeses

Now, we can add our cheese. This recipe calls for shredded triple cheddar cheese and shredded pepper jack cheese. Stir well. The cheese will take a little bit longer to melt than the butter did, but if the pot is on the stove top and over medium heat, if you continue to stir, you will notice the cheese melts thoroughly. We add pepper jack cheese here to add a bit of a mild kick since this is a green chile mac and cheese.

Add the green chiles

Now, it is time to add the green chiles. Open up 4, 4-ounce cans of green chiles and add them to the macaroni and cheese. This may seem like a lot of green chiles, but by the time you stir it together, you'll notice that the green chiles-to-pasta ratio is perfect. Continue to stir until the green chiles are evenly distributed in the pasta. Remove the pot from the heat and enjoy.

While this recipe is designed to serve four, we've seen it satisfy just two, very hungry people. What can we say? Do you blame us? If you happen to have any leftovers, be sure to store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Leftovers stored in this way will last up to 4 days. When it's time to reheat the green chili mac and cheese, heat it for 1-2 minutes in the microwave. 

Green Chili Mac & Cheese Recipe
5 from 116 ratings
When you're craving mac and cheese, don't reach for a box. Instead, try this southwest version of green chile mac and cheese.
Prep Time
Cook Time
green chile mac and cheese
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 2 cups shredded triple cheddar cheese
  • 4 4-ounce cans green chiles
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Remove the pasta from the heat. Drain, then pour it back into the hot pot.
  2. Add the milk and butter to the pot. Stir well, until the butter is melted.
  3. Add the cheeses. Stir well, until the cheese is melted. If needed, place the pot over medium heat to speed up the cheese-melting process.
  4. Add the green chiles. Stir well and serve.
Calories per Serving 1,072
Total Fat 54.9 g
Saturated Fat 32.3 g
Trans Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 155.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 94.2 g
Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
Total Sugars 6.6 g
Sodium 1,305.4 mg
Protein 49.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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