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This pepper Jack mac and cheese is out of this world delicious! So creamy, zesty, and soul satisfying. The perfect comfort food for those who love a bit of spice!
Adding beef broth as the cooking liquid takes the flavor profile over the top – so much better than just plain ole water. And it turns the macaroni a delightful caramel color in the process.
My husband doesn’t like spicy foods, so I make this when he’s at work in the evenings.
My boys have grown up with a mom who loves all types of foods, so they pretty much love what I love. I’m so grateful that they’re such great eaters.
There are a few things each of them doesn’t like, but it’s not enough to even be noticeable most of the time. They love enough good, healthy foods that I don’t mind.
Especially since they love spicy things along with me. So I can crank up the heat, and they usually say, “It’s not that spicy.”
My oldest is 14 right now, and he tends to be even more daring than his younger brother – almost like “the spicier the better – bring it on!” (Love this age!)
So, while this recipe specifically calls for pepper Jack cheese, you can certainly substitute other cheeses in place of it if you don’t have pepper Jack (or if you don’t want a spicy mac and cheese).
Monterrey Jack and cheddar would be a good fit here. And you could certainly use Velveeta, although I’m honestly not a fan of processed cheeses.
What You’ll Need
- 3-1/4 cups beef broth (can also use chicken broth if that’s what you have)
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni
- 2 teaspoons paprika (sweet or smoked)
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1-1/2 cups pepper Jack cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (full fat)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
How to Make it
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, bring broth, water, and macaroni to a boil on high.
Add paprika, marjoram, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low.
Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the time.
Uncover and check macaroni for doneness (should be al dente, just shy of soft).
Turn heat off and stir. Add lemon juice, pepper Jack cheese, sour cream, and butter. Stir together until melted. Serve hot.
Make sure broth and water come to a full rolling boil before turning down the heat and covering.
Watch the pot for a few minutes to make sure it doesn’t boil over. You may want to hesitate a minute or so after turning down the heat before covering.
The trick here is to keep the pot contents hot so you will have a good simmer to cook the macaroni. But you don’t want the contents to boil over after putting the lid on.
Have your final ingredients out a room temperature while macaroni is cooking.
This way, once it’s time to add them to the pot, the ingredients won’t cool down the macaroni too much. You want it nice and hot so all the cheese melts.
I hope you enjoy this delicious pepper Jack mac & cheese as much as we did!
Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to save for later and share with your friends and family!
Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese (zesty & creamy)
- In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, bring broth, water, and macaroni to a boil on high.
- Add paprika, marjoram, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir and reduce heat to low.
- Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring halfway through the time.
- Uncover and check macaroni for doneness.
- Turn heat off and stir.
- Add lemon juice, pepper Jack cheese, sour cream, and butter. Stir together until melted. Serve hot.
Don’t Forget to Pin For Later!