Spice up your pasta with the best recipe for Cajun Mac and Cheese! It’s got everything you could want, a seriously creamy, cheesy sauce with a kick of spice and a delicious breadcrumb crust. This recipe is delicious as a side dish, or make it into a main dish by adding chicken, shrimp or sausage.

mac and cheese in large serving dish with spoon

Thanks to my friends at Cabot for sponsoring today’s post!

A delicious combination of two cheeses, Louisiana hot sauce and cajun seasoning makes this the most flavorful mac and cheese ever! An extra creamy sauce and crispy breadcrumb topping gives this mac and cheese the best texture. Combining the best flavor with the best texture makes this the best cajun mac and cheese ever!

For this recipe, I combined Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar with Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese. The sharpness of the cheddar paired with the spice of the pepper jack is what makes the cheese sauce so incredibly delicious! That and the homemade cajun seasoning I used to spice up the sauce. This seasoning blend has the perfect ratio of spice to flavor explosion!

This macaroni and cheese recipe can be served as a side dish at a holiday meal or as a main dish anytime of the year! Served as is, this dish is vegetarian and definitely filling enough to be a meal. But you can also toss in some sausage, shrimp or chicken to add protein to the dish.

Either way, this mac and cheese recipe is guaranteed to knock the socks off anyone that tries it and I guarantee you’ll be coming back to make this recipe again and again!

ingredients for cajun mac and cheese

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Macaroni noodles
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Red bell pepper
  • Green bell pepper
  • Garlic cloves
  • Butter – I prefer to use an unsalted butter and salt the dish as needed.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Whole milk
  • Cajun seasoning – use this link to make my homemade Cajun seasoning mix. It’s so delicious and easy to mix together in just 5 minutes! You can also purchase pre-made Cajun seasoning at the grocery store on the spice aisle.
  • Louisiana hot sauce – I prefer the Red Rooster sauce that you see pictured above, but Tabasco, or another Louisiana-style hot sauce will also work in this recipe.
  • Salt
  • Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Green onions
collage of images showing how to make cajun mac and cheese
collage of images showing how to make cajun mac and cheese

Step by step instructions

  1. Grate the cheese. Use a cheese grater to grate the seriously sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Place the grated cheese in a bowl in the refrigerator until you need it.
  2. Saute the onions and peppers. Heat olive oil in a large pan, or dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and peppers, and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set them aside.
  3. Make a roux. Place the pan back on the stove over medium heat and add butter. Once the butter is melted, add the flour to the pan.
  4. Whisk the roux consistently for 2 minutes, until the butter and flour are combined.
  5. Add the milk and seasonings. Whisk in the whole milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the cajun seasoning, hot sauce and salt.
  6. Whisk to combine everything. Make sure the seasonings are mixed into the sauce before adding the cheese.
  7. Add the grated cheese. Remove the cheese from the refrigerator and add it to the pan.
  8. Whisk the cheese until it’s fully melted and combined into the sauce.
  9. Add the sautéed vegetables back to the pan. Stir them into the cheese sauce.
  10. Add cooked macaroni noodles to the pan. Stir the noodles into the sauce.
  11. Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe casserole dish.
  12. Top and bake the mac and cheese. Sprinkle panko breadcrumbs over the mac and cheese in the baking dish, then drizzle with olive oil. Place on the middle rack of the oven, with the broiler preheated to high heat. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
    • Pro tip! Be sure to watch the mac and cheese while it’s under the broiler in the oven. Broilers tend to run different temperatures in different ovens and you definitely don’t want to burn the top of your mac and cheese. As soon as the breadcrumbs begin to turn brown, go ahead and remove the mac and cheese from the oven.
mac and cheese in oval serving dish with spoon

Add a protein

It’s easy to add chicken, shrimp or sausage to this mac and cheese recipe. Use the instructions below to add any of these proteins to the dish!

  • Andouille sausage is traditionally used in Cajun cooking and pairs perfectly with this mac and cheese recipe!
    • To add sausage to the dish, you’ll want to start with 8 ounces sliced andouille, or smoked sausage.
    • Add the sliced sausage to the pan with the bell peppers and onions.
    • Cook for 6-8 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    • Remove the cooked bell peppers, onions and sausage from the skillet, just as you would if you were only sautéing the bell peppers.
    • Add the peppers and sausage back to the pan with the cooked macaroni noodles before transferring it to a baking dish.
  • Chicken can be grilled and added to the mac and cheese, or sauteed in the skillet with the bell peppers.
    • If grilling the chicken, I highly recommend using this Grilled Cajun Chicken recipe. It features the most delicious marinade that will pair perfectly with this Cajun mac and cheese! Simply serve the grilled cajun chicken on top of the mac and cheese for an incredibly tasty meal!
    • When sautéing the chicken, add 1 pound of diced boneless, skinless chicken breasts to the pan with the bell peppers and onions.
    • Cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.
    • Remove the cooked bell peppers, onions and chicken from the skillet, just as you would if you were only sautéing the bell peppers.
    • Add the peppers and chicken back to the pan with the cooked macaroni noodles before transferring it to a baking dish.
  • Shrimp can be grilled or pan seared and added on top of the dish.
    • Toss 1 pound of large peeled and deveined shrimp with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon cajun seasoning.
    • Add the shrimp to a grill or large skillet on the stove, over medium-high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes per side.
    • Serve the shrimp on top of the mac and cheese.
mac and cheese topped with diced green onions in bowl

Frequently asked questions

  • How long will leftovers last? Leftover cajun mac and cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container.
  • How do you reheat it? The mac and cheese can be reheated in the oven or microwave. To reheat it in the oven, transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish, cover it loosely with foil and heat at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until warm throughout. To reheat it in the microwave, place a single serving portion of the mac and cheese in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Can you make it ahead of time? Yes, the cheesy sauce and macaroni noodles can be cooked ahead of time. Toss everything together in the baking dish, then store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to bake the dish, sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and drizzle with the olive oil, then place in the oven to bake. If the mac and cheese is cold, coming out of the refrigerator, I recommend baking it at 400°F covered loosely with foil for 15-20 minutes. Then turn the oven broiler on to high, remove the foil and allow the breadcrumbs to crisp up for 3-5 minutes.
  • Is it spicy? This mac and cheese does have a kick to it, from the pepper jack cheese, hot sauce and cajun seasoning. If you’d like to take it down a notch, you can use double the cheddar cheese and omit the pepper jack cheese. You can also reduce the hot sauce by half.
baked macaroni and cheese in dish with serving spoon

More cheesy recipes

Check out more of my favorite cheesy recipes made with Cabot cheese!

Cabot is 100% owned by family farms throughout New England and New York. That means that each time you purchase Cabot products, 100% of the profits go back to the hard-working farmers that help make the worlds best cheddar! Support a farmer and eat delicious cheese, that’s a win in my book!

Be sure to visit CabotCheese.coop for even more cheesy recipe ideas and to learn where to find their products at a grocery store near you!

cajun macaroni and cheese in baking dish with serving spoon
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Cajun Mac and Cheese

Spice up your pasta with the best recipe for Cajun Mac and Cheese! It's got everything you could want, a seriously creamy, cheesy sauce with a kick of spice and a delicious breadcrumb crust!

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces elbow macaroni noodles
  • 8 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • ½ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced green bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup diced green onions

Instructions

  • Heat the oven boiler to high.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove over high heat.
  • Add the macaroni noodles and cook according to package directions.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • Use a cheese grater to grate the seriously sharp cheddar and pepper jack cheeses. Place the grated cheese in a bowl in the refrigerator until you need it.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper, saute 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and saute for an additional minute.
  • Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set them aside.
  • Place the skillet back on the stove and melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat.
  • Once the butter is melted, whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes, until the butter and flour are combined.
  • Whisk in the whole milk and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the Cajun seasoning, hot sauce, salt and shredded cheeses, whisk until smooth.
  • Gently stir in the cooked macaroni noodles and sauteed peppers and onions.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mac and cheese, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs start to turn golden brown.
  • Top with the diced green onions and serve.

Notes

  • Baking the mac and cheese: Be sure to watch the mac and cheese while it’s under the broiler in the oven. Broilers tend to run different temperatures in different ovens and you definitely don’t want to burn the top of your mac and cheese. As soon as the breadcrumbs begin to turn brown, go ahead and remove the mac and cheese from the oven.
  • Servings: this recipe will serve 6-8 people as an entree, or 12 people as a side dish.
  • Protein: chicken, shrimp or sausage can be added to the mac and cheese for extra protein. See the blog post above for how to season, cook and add each of the proteins to this dish.
  • Leftovers: leftover cajun mac and cheese can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, sealed in an airtight container.
  • Reheating: The mac and cheese can be reheated in the oven or microwave. To reheat it in the oven, transfer the mac and cheese to an oven-safe baking dish, cover it loosely with foil and heat at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until warm throughout. To reheat it in the microwave, place a single serving portion of the mac and cheese in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  • Make-ahead:  the cheesy sauce and macaroni noodles can be cooked ahead of time. Toss everything together in the baking dish, then store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to bake the dish, sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and drizzle with the olive oil, then place in the oven to bake. If the mac and cheese is cold, coming out of the refrigerator, I recommend baking it at 400°F covered loosely with foil for 15-20 minutes. Then turn the oven broiler on to high, remove the foil and allow the breadcrumbs to crisp up for 3-5 minutes.
  • Spice level: This mac and cheese does have a kick to it, from the pepper jack cheese, hot sauce and cajun seasoning. If you’d like to take it down a notch, you can use double the cheddar cheese and omit the pepper jack cheese. You can also reduce the hot sauce by half.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 641kcal (32%)Carbohydrates 57g (19%)Protein 26g (52%)Fat 34g (52%)Saturated Fat 19g (95%)Polyunsaturated Fat 2gMonounsaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 1gCholesterol 87mg (29%)Sodium 942mg (39%)Potassium 431mg (12%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 8g (9%)Vitamin A 2135mg (43%)Vitamin C 23mg (28%)Calcium 553mg (55%)Iron 2mg (11%)
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