Bacon Pepper Jack Skillet Mac-n-Cheese

This bacon pepper jack skillet mac-n-cheese has red pepper, jalapeno, pepper jack cheese and bacon! So much flavor and it’s all done in one skillet.

So yeah. I should probably apologize for this ditty.

Pepper Jack + Bacon Skillet Mac-n-Cheese #bacon

Gooey, spicy pepper jack cheese and salty, smoky bacon toooogetheeeeer. Could these flavors be anymore ridiculously delicious? And there I went, throwing them together in a skillet to make one glorious carbohydrate mess. And by mess… I mean macaroni and cheese HEAVEN.

the goods

So grab your cheese, your bacon and your noodles too {and all that other goodie bits} and indulge yourself in a little naughty pasta.

bacon collage

Bacon. Chop it up into chunks, fry it up in a good-sized skillet and remove it to a plate to drain. Set that off to the side, but not too far where you can’t snag a few to get your snack on.

boil, salt and add pasta collage

Meanwhile the bacon is frying away; bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Season generously with kosher or sea salt and then drop in 12 ounces of your favorite pasta. I prefer tri-color AND the one with ridges, it really helps the sauce stick to the pasta.


Once the pasta is cooked fully, to al dente, drain and set it off to the side. I do come back to it every now and again, to give it a stir so it doesn’t form a big ol’ pasta blob.


Now just dice up a medium yellow onion, half of a red bell pepper, half a large {or whatever size you prefer} jalapeno that has been seeded, and mince up two cloves of garlic.

add butter to skillet

After you’ve removed the bacon, add a tablespoon of to the bacon fat. Yum.

throw in the onions, peppers and jalapenos

Then to the butter/bacon drippings, throw in the onions, diced peppers and jalapeno. Cook until softened… here is when you should add the garlic and cook for one minute. I forgot… don’t be like me.

a little salt and pepper

Season with a smidgen {because bacon adds it’s only saltiness} of salt and a pinch or two of ground black pepper.

flour, broth and milk collage

Once the veggies are tender, but not overly so {at least that’s my preference} I add in the flour, stir until it gets absorbed and then let it cook for about a minute. Then pour in the chicken broth and whole milk. Stir and let it simmer until it thickens, about 6-8 minutes.

cheese collage

Now you get to add the cheese. Add a 1/4 cup of softened cream cheese, stir until just about melted and then add in the grated 8 ounce block of pepper jack.

pasta in

Once the cheese has melted thoroughly, check for seasoning and then dump in the drained pasta.

top with bacon

Remember all that bacon? Just throw it on top.

Bacon pepper jack skillet mac-n-cheese = YUM!

Pepper Jack + Bacon Skillet Mac-n-Cheese #bacon

So let’s just get this straight. Creamy, slightly spicy cheesy mac plus bacon… it’s the ultimate mac-n-cheese. This bacon pepper jack skillet mac-n-cheese even reheats nicely for leftovers. Serve it with a green salad and dinner is served.

Cheese dinner = success.

Enjoy! And if you give this recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Pepper Jack + Bacon Skillet Mac-n-Cheese - #skillet #pasta

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance!

Yield: 4-6 {servings depending on size}

Bacon and Pepper Jack Skillet Mac-n-Cheese

Bacon and Pepper Jack Skillet Mac-n-Cheese
Spicy pepper jack cheese adds a little kick to your traditional macaroni and cheese, the crispy smoky applewood bacon sends it over the top!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 12 ounces dried pasta (ones with ridges work best)
  • 6 strips thick cut applewood smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 a red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced {optional}
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese
  • 1 - 8 ounce brick or pepper jack cheese, grated
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Start by preheating a large skillet to medium and cooking the chopped bacon until crispy.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Once boiling, season generously with kosher or sea salt. Drop in the 12 ounce box of pasta and cook as directed on the package. Once cooked to al dente, drain and set off to the side. I go back and toss the pasta around so it won't clump together.
  3. Once the bacon is fully cooked and crispy, remove to a paper towel lined plate and add the tablespoon of butter to the bacon drippings. Then add in the diced onion, pepper and jalapeno and cook until softened. Next add the minced garlic and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the three tablespoons of flour to the vegetables and cook for one minute. Next pour in the chicken broth and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until it has thickened. About 6-8 minutes. Add in the 1/4 cup of cream cheese and stir. Once melted add in the grated pepper jack, continue to stir until melted.
  5. Lastly, add in the cooked pasta and toss until the cheesy sauce coats the ins and outs of all the pasta. Sprinkle the skillet mac-n-cheese with the crisp bacon and serve immediately.

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34 Responses to “Bacon Pepper Jack Skillet Mac-n-Cheese”

  1. #
    Julia @ hungryandconfused — September 9, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Mmmmm! I love bacon in mac and cheese. Looks yummy.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 9:27 am

      Me tooo! Thanks Julia 🙂

  2. #
    Tieghan Gerard — September 9, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Best flavors ever!! Love this colorful + Spicy mac and cheese!

  3. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — September 9, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Shut the front door in my face!! I want to dive right into this Laur.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 10:07 am

      HA!!! I just love you for calling me Laur {well other reasons too, of course}… you the bestest!

  4. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — September 9, 2013 at 9:43 am

    NO. APOLOGIES. NEEDED. Just a thousand thank yous from me. Pass me a bowl or three, please!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 10:16 am

      You got it!

  5. #
    Paula - bell'alimento — September 9, 2013 at 9:57 am

    You said the magic word. Bacon. And well okay mac and cheese. And okay okay pepper jack. Bring it.

  6. #
    Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats — September 9, 2013 at 10:02 am Every component of this sounds absolutely perfect. Cannot even wait to make this!

  7. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — September 9, 2013 at 10:09 am

    My eyeballs are so happy.

  8. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — September 9, 2013 at 11:35 am

    I love everything about this dish. Bacon paired with cheese is a match made in heaven.

  9. #
    Robby — September 9, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    Throw in a bit of grilled chicken and dinner is done for one night this week! Gosh this looks good.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 8:11 pm

      Great idea Robby!

  10. #
    Renee Rendall — September 9, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    My husband is going to flip over this. He’s making us take a one week cheese hiatus. Maybe this will have to be our celebratory return to cheese dinner.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 8:12 pm

      I think that would be an excellent idea! {celebratory cheese dinner that is… not so much the cheese hiatus 😉 }

  11. #
    Julianne @ Beyond Frosting — September 9, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    bacon and pepper jack, two words that pretty much make a recipe a winner! Also I love you denim napkins! I just might have to make some for myself 🙂

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

      Thank you! I got them SUPER cheap at Homegoods last year… they are my fave!

  12. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — September 9, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Um, this looks insanely good!! Can I come over and help you eat all of this cheesy goodness?!!

  13. #
    Jackie {The Beeroness} — September 9, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    I want this in my face. Immediately.

  14. #
    cassie — September 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    These flavors. That sauce. The bacon! In love.

  15. #
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) — September 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    YES, YES, YES!

  16. #
    Kelly V — September 9, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    This looks ahhhh_-mazing! You had me at bacon…. :}

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 9th, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

      Thanks Kelly! 🙂

  17. #
    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily — September 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Oh my yumminess!!! This is perfect for a weeknight dinner around this joint!

  18. #
    ShaNae — September 10, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Hi, what other cheese would you recommend using? Since I had surgery spicy things do not like me one little bit. I really like pepper jack cheese but it makes me really sick now. 🙁
    Thank you!

    PS. I have made many of your recipes, and with the worlds pickiest 8 year old, I have had many successes, so thank you.

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 10th, 2013 @ 11:39 am

      Hi ShaNae! Well you could just omit the jalapeno and use monterey jack cheese. And I know what you mean, I have one of those pickiest kids too! 🙂

  19. #
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — September 10, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Love everything about this! Especially the bacon!

  20. #
    Meagan — September 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Omigosh! A mac that’s pretty, flavorful, and positively loaded?!? #winning

  21. #
    John Cavan — September 14, 2013 at 11:33 am

    That looks incredible… I’m salivating just thinking about it!

  22. #
    Jenn {} — September 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Wow. This looks insane! I love skillet mac and cheese. Love the heat you added! Definitely will be making this on Sunday. Perfect for a guilt-free day!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 24th, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

      Thanks Jenn! Go big or go home 😉

  23. #
    Karen G — September 29, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Made this last night and it was awesome!

  24. #
    Gaby — October 7, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Wow….this will be great on my High Carb day! Can’t freaking wait!


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