Muffin-tin dinners are much loved because they’re pre-portioned meals for both adults and kids. These Jalapeño Popper Macaroni and Cheese Bites are no exception. We start this recipe with a classic macaroni and cheese base, but thicken it up with cream cheese and extra Monterey Jack cheese so they’ll bake up perfectly and hold their shape once they’re served.
To make these bites more inspired by the classic Jalapeño Popper appetizers, we’ve added bacon, jalapeño peppers, and green onions. If you’ve got little eaters who can’t take the heat of the peppers, omit them, or only add them to a few so adults can get the full experience while kids get a dinner they’ll like, too.
Make these into a simple dinner by serving with a side salad or broccoli. Serve them at a birthday party of neighborhood gathering as a stand-out appetizer option.
If you’d like to go even smaller, use this same recipe and pickup a box of small elbow macaroni. You can make individual bites in mini muffin tins.
Jalapeño Popper Macaroni and Cheese Bites
1 (16-oz) pkg elbow macaroni
1 (16-oz) pkg sliced bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 (8-oz) block cream cheese, softened
1 (8-oz) pkg shredded Monterey Jack cheese
3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 (8-oz) pkg shredded Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; drain, reserving 2 Tbsp drippings in skillet.
- Cook garlic in hot drippings 30 seconds. Add flour; cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes.
- Gradually stir in broth and milk; cook, stirring often, until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in Monterey Jack, peppers, and egg until blended. Stir in pasta and half of bacon.
- Spoon into 2 (12-cup) greased muffin pans. Bake 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Sprinkle with Cheddar, and bake 3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
- Sprinkle with remaining bacon. Cool in pans 15 minutes before serving.
Note: Sprinkle with green onion, if on hand. Prepare macaroni and cheese bites up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate until ready to bake.
More Jalapeño Popper-Inspired Recipes: