Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese

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This post is sponsored by Frito-Lay. Thoughts and opinions are my own

It’s my job to keep things interesting around here right? That’s why today is all about Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese and it has a TORTILLA CHIP CRUST. You know I love a good mac and cheese- this recipe combines my two favorites! Let’s get into it!!

Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)


Mama Dalkin used to make us something similar to this while we were growing up in Arizona and if you’re a long time reader, you know she was all about quick and easy but delicious meals. It’s one of those dishes that you can whip up in no time and then spend MORE time hanging with friends saying “yes” to summer!! Let’s break it down shall we, plenty of onions and jalapeños to give it a flavorful base. Chipotle salsa to give it a hint of smokiness! Pickled jalapeños and green chiles for that zip. And 2 kinds of cheese for that extra gooey mac and cheesiness. (Psst... If you're obsessed with this recipe, you must make my Mexican Lasagna.) And instead of bread crumbs on top, we’re getting crazy with TOSTITOS® tortilla chips on top.

Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

I mean, why have we never done this before? Life is getting better by the minute since I started this! Could you imagine Tostitos tortilla chip crusted chicken schnitzel? Or Tostitos tortilla chip chicken on top of a taco salad. OMG. I can’t even imagine the goodness. It’s gotta happen soon. This of all the summer themed possibilities?!?

Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

This Mexican Mac and Cheese is officially going on the regular rotation this summer! I mean, who wouldn’t want this alongside some grilled nachos or some poolside guacamole!  Trust me, you won’t want to miss this!

Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Mexican Mac and Cheese

Author: Gaby Dalkin
5 from 1 vote
It’s my job to keep things interesting around here right? That’s why today is all about Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese and it has a TORTILLA CHIP CRUST. Let’s get into it!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican, Tex Mex
Servings 8 people


  • 5 ounces TOSTITOS® tortilla chips crushed (¾ cup once crushed)
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 small jalapeño finely diced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus more as needed
  • 5 cups milk
  • ½ cup chipotle salsa
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 4- oz can pickled jalapeños roughly chopped
  • 1 4- oz can green chiles roughly chopped
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  • Fresh green onions for garnish


  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F. Bring a large heavy-bottomed pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water and set aside.
  • Dry the pot and add the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and jalapeño and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the flour and salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the flour has darkened slightly in color, about 2 minutes. While whisking constantly, slowly add the milk to the flour mixture until evenly combined and smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a simmer and thickens slightly, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the salsa and cheeses and stir until completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Stir in the pasta, pickled jalapeños and green chiles and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Transfer the mixture to a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the crushed TOSTITOS® tortilla chips and bake until bubbling around the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro and green onions before serving.


Alter the spice level to your liking, and change out the cheese. Maybe even try lime tortilla chips!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 677kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 83mg | Sodium: 1820mg | Potassium: 558mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1300IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 649mg | Iron: 2mg
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Check out the Frito-Lay pinterest page for more summer inspired recipes!

Spicy Mexican Mac and Cheese from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson /  Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

** This post is brought to you by Frito-Lay. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for What’s Gaby Cooking**


  1. Sounds awesome! What brand chipotle salsa would you recommend? Also do I use the pickled jalapenos that come in a glass jar or the ones in a tin can? Thanks!

    1. mine!! you can get it at Williams Sonoma and yes the pickled jalapenos are in a tin can usually!

  2. This sounds delicious! Who doesn't love mac and cheese? And then you added Mexican flavors... Even better!

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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