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Jalapeño mac and cheese muffins are the best bite-size comfort food


I feel like there are two types of mac and cheese people out there: those who like it creamy, cheesy and in a bowl (myself), and those who like it baked with crispy edges (my husband).

Since marriage is all about compromise (ha), I’ll sometimes indulge his crispy edge preference and bake off a casserole pan of it. While he gets a perimeter of crispy edges that way, there’s still the middle to be dealt with when you do it this way.

So why not bake off the mac and cheese in muffin tins, ensuring every single serving has a crispy edge to be eaten? These mac and cheese muffin cups have a couple of surprises inside too. Not only do they have a fun, spicy kick to them from the jalapeños, but to cut down on the milk and cheese in the recipe, there’s a whole head of pureed cauliflower hiding out in these as a “binder” of sorts. I promise you’d never know it by taste, but it definitely helps justify putting four on your dinner plate.

mac and cheese muffins

Jalapeño mac and cheese muffins recipe

Spicy jalapeño and a whole head of cauliflower are hiding out in these crispy mac and cheese muffin cups.

Yields 24

Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella
  • 2 ounces goat cheese
  • 3 jalapeños, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Panko breadcrumbs, for topping


  1. In a large saucepot, place the cauliflower florets, and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring another large saucepot filled with water to a boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and set aside.
  3. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, and grease 2 muffin tins with baking spray.
  4. Once the cauliflower is tender, drain, and add it to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  5. Return the cauliflower puree to the pot. Add the milk, cheeses and jalapeño, and stir until everything is combined and melted.
  6. Add the pasta, toss to combine well, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Spoon the mac and cheese mixture into the muffin tins. Top with panko breadcrumbs, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown and crispy.
  8. Remove from the oven, let cool for about 10 minutes, and then using a knife to scrape around the sides of each tin, remove the muffin cups, and serve warm.

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