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Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese

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This homemade Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese is the perfect combination of comfort food, crunchy snacks, and Tex-Mex! This creamy, dreamy dish is a cheese lover’s delight and is perfect for those who like a little spice!

hot-cheeto-queso-mac-and-cheese

Texans are known for their love of queso, a delightful cheese sauce that is lauded for its creamy texture and rich, cheesy flavor. Not only does it make one heck of a dip, but it tastes amazing when served on tacos and potatoes and even in mac and cheese. When it is paired with crushed hot Cheetos, this Tex-Mex fusion becomes a dream come true!

Can you use hot Cheetos as a topping?

Yes! Hot Cheetos are a delicious snack, but once pulverized, it can make a delectable topping for mac and cheese, potatoes au gratin, and other casseroles. Hot Cheetos will give you dish a good hit of spiciness.

How do you make Cheeto powder

Place your desired amount in a blender or food processor—pulse or grind to the desired size. We recommend grinding them fresh and using them right away. You can grind them the day before and store them in an airtight container in the cupboard. Cheeto powder (dust) loses its crunch when stored longer than 36 hours, especially in humid climates.

Hot cheeto mac and cheese with queso ingredeints
derrickriches.com

Recipe Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter
  • Yellow onion
  • Jalapeños (use serrano peppers for spicier queso)
  • Garlic (or smoked garlic)
  • Flour
  • 1 can evaporated milk ( plus 1/4 cup extra milk if needed)
  • 3 cups shredded medium or sharp cheddar (sub with Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed processed cheese like Velveeta (original or blanco)
  • Sour cream
  • Ground cumin
  • Salt 
  • 2 medium tomatoes (or 2/3 cup of canned diced tomatoes)
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • 1 16-ounce package elbow macaroni 
  • Flamin’ Hot Cheetos

Making the Queso

Queso in a pot
derrickriches.com
  • Cook the veggies: Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and add chopped onions and jalapeno. Cover pan with lid, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Watch for browning and reduce heat to low. The object is to “sweat” the onion mixture. Once the onion and jalapeno are tender, stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Make a quick rue: Increase heat to medium-high, and add the flour, cumin, and salt. Stir through and cook for 1 minute. 
  • Add milk and cheese: Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, then add cubed processed cheese and cheddar. Reduce heat to medium and stir until melted through. If the queso is too thick, add an extra 1/4 cup of milk (or more) to thin it out.
  • Finishing touches: Stir in sour cream, then add the tomatoes and cilantro. Gently fold ingredients into the mixture and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove pan from heat, cover tightly, and keep warm.

Assembling Hot Cheeto Mac and Cheese

Queso Mac and Cheese
derrickriches.com
  • Cook macaroni pasta until al dente, and drain.
  • Preheat pellet grill or oven to 350 degrees F. Please note: Use a mild wood pellet for this recipe like apple or cherry.
  • Combine cooked and drained macaroni with queso mixture, and transfer to a 9″ x 9″ casserole pan (oven) or a 10″ cast-iron pan (grill). 
  • Place the pan into the smoker or oven and bake the mac and cheese for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the grill or oven, and sprinkle with ground hot Cheetos. Place the pan back in the oven for 5-6 more minutes.
  • Take the pan out of the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving with your favorite barbecue proteins.

Storing Leftovers

Mac and cheese
derrickriches.com

Store leftover hot Cheeto queso mac and cheese covered tightly in the refrigerator for 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or until warmed through.

What to serve with it

We love to serve this amazing hot Cheeto queso mac and cheese with our favorite grilled or smoked meats.

hot cheeto mac and cheese close up
derrickriches.com

Make it smokier!

  • Want to add a little extra smoke flavor to this hot Cheeto queso mac and cheese? Place it in your pellet grill or smoker for 30 minutes at 250 degrees F
  • During the last 10 minutes, sprinkle with Cheeto dust and place it back in the smoker until the cheese sauce bubbles around the edges.
  • Remove from the heat and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Recipe tip: Add 2-3 strips of cooked and crumbled bacon to the queso. That extra salty bite is delicious!
hot-cheeto-queso-mac-and-cheese

Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese

This homemade Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese is the perfect combination of comfort food and comfort snacks.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American Food
Keyword: Cheeto mac and cheese, flamin’ hot cheeto mac and cheese, mac and cheese, spicy macaroni and cheese
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 708kcal
Author: Derrick Riches and Sabrina Baksh

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 jalapeños seeded and diced (use serrano peppers for spicier queso)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten free
  • 1 12- ounce can full fat evaporated milk plus 1/4 cup extra milk if needed
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese (medium-sharp)
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed processed cheese like Velveeta original or blanco
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro optional
  • 1 16 ounce package elbow macaroni
  • 1/2 cup pulverized Flamin" Hot Cheetos *see notes

Instructions

  • Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and add onion and jalapeno. Cover pan with lid, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the onion and jalapeno are tender, stir in the garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Increase heat to medium-high, and add the flour, cumin, and salt. Stir through and cook for 1 minute.
  • Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, then add cubed processed cheese and cheddar. Reduce heat to medium and stir until melted through. If the queso is too thick, add an extra 1/4 cup (or more) milk to thin it out.
  • Stir in sour cream. Next, add the tomatoes and cilantro. Gently fold ingredients into the mixture and cook for 1 additional minute. Remove pan from heat, cover, and keep warm.
  • Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  • Preheat the pellet grill or oven to 350 degrees F. Use a mild wood pellet like apple or cherry.
  • Combine drained macaroni with queso mixture, and transfer to a 9" x 9" casserole pan (oven) or a 10" cast-iron pan (grill).
  • Place the pan in the grill or oven and bake the mac and cheese for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with ground hot Cheetos (see notes). Place the pan back in the grill or oven for 5-6 more minutes.
  • Take the pan out of the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftover mac and cheese covered tightly in the refrigerator for 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or until warmed through.

Notes

The easiest way to grind Cheetos is to pulse them in a blender or food processor until they are the size of panko breadcrumbs. You can also place the Cheetos into a zip top bag, and grind them with a rolling pin.

Nutrition

Calories: 708kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 1892mg | Potassium: 834mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 2150IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 1055mg | Iron: 2mg

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