Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

I’m pretty sure we’re going to be BFFs after this one.

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos. And Jalapeños.

Tender macaroni noodles swimming in rich, creamy, cheesy sauce… topped with a crispy, buttery topping made of Cheetos… with a few bonus jalapeños tossed in just for kicks… almost brings a tear to your eye doesn’t it?

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

I LOVE mac and cheese. LOVE. But I don’t make it very often because not everyone around here shares my passion. You see, there are two kinds of people living in my house, those who would probably pick Mac and Cheese as their deserted island food and those who are wrong.

So when I get the chance to make macaroni I am forever on a quest to create the perfect one and, well, friends, I think I’ve done it. As I sit here writing this while shovelling spoonfuls of this creamy, dreamy dish into my mouth, cold, straight from the pan, I realize I may have achieved perfection. It’s amazing. No lie.

Sauce for Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

Rich, creamy, heavenly Mac and Cheese with a crispy, buttery, cheesy Jalapeño Cheetos Topping. So easy to make and insanely delicious.
5 from 3 votes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4


For the Mac and Cheese:

  • 1/2 lb uncooked macaroni around 1 3/4 cups
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños chopped or 1 jalapeño, seeded, finely diced

For the topping:

  • 1 cup jalapeño Cheetos crushed
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp butter melted
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


Make the topping:

  • Combine the crushed Cheetos, Panko, butter and garlic powder in a bowl.
  • Mix well and set aside.

Make the macaroni:

  • Cook the macaroni for one minute less than package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
  • Slowly add the milk, cream, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and continue to cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese. Stir well until the cheese is melted and fully incorporated.
  • Combine the sauce with the noodles and stir until noodles are completely coated. 
Pour the mixture into a buttered 8×8 baking dish.
  • Evenly sprinkle with the Cheetos mixture and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until browned and bubbly.


**I’m a big fan of the Jalapeño Cheetos, but use regular, Flamin’ Hot, or whatever kind you like.
Keyword Mac and Cheese with Cheetos
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Mac and Cheese with Jalapeno Cheetos

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos Recipe ingredients, tips, substitutions:

Macaroni – straight up regular old elbow macaroni.

Cheese – cheddar and American. I use a mixture of whatever cheddar I have on hand and it all works. The American is for that extra gooey, melty factor that I love and you all know how I feel about fake cheese. #fakecheeserules

Cheetos – I’ve made this with all the Cheetos and the Jalapeño ones are my fave. Flamin’ Hot is a close second, but use whatever kind you like.

Panko – I like the extra crunch factor of the panko, but use all Cheetos if you like.

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos Recipe Variations:

All Cheese Version – use regular Cheetos and omit the jalapeños.

Extra Spicy Version – use Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, do not remove the seeds of the jalapeños and add a little cayenne to the sauce.

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos and Jalapeños

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos recipe, how to make it…

First thing we need to do it mix up the topping. Crush up the Cheetos and mix them with some Panko breadcrumbs, a little garlic powder and some melted butter. Set that aside.

Cook your macaroni, drain it, and set it aside as well while you make your sauce.

The sauce starts by cooking a butter and flour roux, to which you’ll add some milk and cream. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow it to simmer for a few minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in your cheese, whisking and stirring until the cheese has melted completely and the sauce is velvety and smooth. The sauce now gets mixed with the cooked macaroni and some jalapeños, poured into a buttered dish, sprinkled with the topping and baked until it becomes golden, bubbly and perfect.

Mac and Cheese with Cheetos

looking for more easy cheesy recipes? try these…

Let me know what you think!


  1. 5 stars
    This was the perfect recipe to rid myself of three small bags of regular Cheetos which our house doesn’t eat from the big box of variety chips we buy from Costco. I didn’t have heavy whipping cream, panko, or jalapenos. And I had to substitute 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese with mozzarella cheese. And I only had cheddar slices (no American). Also happen to have a 1/2 lb of large shells for the pasta. But, wow, this was absolutely delicious. Easy to make, the cheese was a perfect goodness, and crunch topping was just right. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll be making the again.

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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