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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 and comfort snacks! 

Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese
derrickriches.com

As Texans, we feel that queso is the best cheese sauce on earth. Not only does it make a memorable dip, but it’s great on tacos, potatoes, and even macaroni and cheese. Queso, coupled with hot Cheetos, is a Southwest, Tex-Mex dream come true. It’s our latest crave-worthy side dish. 

Are hot Cheetos good in mac and cheese?

Yes! It is best used as a topping, either whole or pulverized. Some cooks even add it directly to the sauce. It provides a delicious hit of spice to those creamy, cheesy noodles.

How do you make Cheetos into powder?

Add your desired amount to a blender or food processor—pulse or grind to size preference and use as needed. 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. The dust loses its crunch if stored longer than 24-36 hours. This is particularly noticeable 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 (or Monterey Jack)
  • 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

How to Make Hot Cheeto Queso Mac and Cheese

Queso in a pot
derrickriches.com
  • For Queso: 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.
  • 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 of milk (or more) to thin it out.
  • 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.

Putting it together

Queso Mac and Cheese
derrickriches.com
  • Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine cooked and drained macaroni with queso mixture, and transfer to a 9″ x 9″ casserole pan or a 10″ oven-safe skillet or cast-iron pan. 
  • Place the pan into the oven and bake the mac and cheese for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from the 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 minutes before serving.

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

Hot Cheeto Mac and Cheese in the Smoker!

Want to add a little extra 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 oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine drained macaroni with queso mixture, and transfer to a 9″ x 9″ casserole pan or a 10″ oven-safe skillet or cast-iron pan.
  • Place the pan into the oven and bake the mac and cheese for 12 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven, and sprinkle with ground hot Cheetos (see notes). 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 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
Derrick Riches

I began writing about Barbecue & Grilling in 1997 with one mission, to help the backyard chef have the best experience possible.

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