Texas-Style Mac and Cheese

Texas-Style Mac and Cheese

So you’ve just RSVPed to a Friendsgiving party and you’re pondering what delicious dish to bring. Go ahead and nominate yourself to bring on this Texas-Style Mac and Cheese.

First off, everyone loves Mac and Cheese– so you’ve got one thing in the bag. But everyone is going to accept just good-old-fashioned mac and cheese. But you’re going to bring something that makes their eyebrows curl and say, “woah, what’s in this?”. 

Texas-Style Mac and Cheese

I call this mine Texas-Style Mac and Cheese, why? Well, take a look at the ingredients. Two little tweaks give it a little flair (without overpowering the classic) that will make your tastes buds sing! [sour cream + a can of green chiles] Don’t worry about it being spicy, the green chiles just add a great depth of flavor and aren’t spicy *at all*. (i used a can of ‘hot’ green chiles and my kids devoured). Alongside the green chiles, you’ve also got a touch of sour cream to give it a little tanginess. It’s just delightful! 

Make-ahead tip: Complete steps 1-7. Cover with saran wrap and press down onto the pasta so that it is completely suffocated and transfer to the party. Remove the saran wrap when you arrive, finish it off in the oven at the party or the day of your feast! 

If you like this, try my even simpler One-Pot Mac and Cheese for a quick weeknight meal the family will love.

Texas Baked Mac and Cheese

Texas-Style Mac and Cheese
Serves: 8 people
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Bake time10 mins
Total Time35 mins


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup very finely diced shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 12 ounce Gluten-Free Elbow Pasta I like Jovial brand brown rice pasta
  • 2 cups milk I use grass-fed whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 2.5 cups sharp cheddar cheese I like Tillamook brand
  • 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1 [4 ounce] can diced green chiles, undrained
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs I like Aleia Brand
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro leaves, optional for serving


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (convection mode is best if you have it).
  • Heat a large pot over medium heat with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Add the shallot and garlic and cook, stirring, until just tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the butter, salt, and pepper and melt.
  • Add the uncooked pasta, the milk, and the water and bring slowly to a boil (I keep mine over medium heat). Cook, stirring often, untilt he pasta is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed, about 12 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in only 2 cups of the shredded cheese, sour cream, the green chiles, nutmeg, and the paprika. Taste and add more salt if desired.
  • Transfer the mac and cheese to a casserole dish and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.
  • In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Toss until well combined, then sprinkle evenly over the mac and cheese.
  • Transfer to oven and bake (uncovered) until the cheese and panko are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, being careful not to burn.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro (if using), serve and enjoy!


  • Reply
    September 11, 2022 at 4:50 pm

    Is this leftover friendly? If so, how long can it keep in the fridge?

    • Reply
      September 12, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      Hi! yes it is great for leftovers, and keeps for about 3 days.

  • Reply
    Lauren G.
    November 13, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    5 stars
    Easy and delicious! Family favorite.

  • Reply
    Melissa Contorno
    November 7, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    5 stars
    Wow, so easy and so good! The panko topping was perfectly crispy on top of the creamy Mac and cheese. This will be on repeat in our house.

  • Reply
    Kelsea B
    July 14, 2021 at 4:29 pm

    I love this recipe! So delicious! I usually make it and then serve it, however, is it possible to may in advance and then just bake before you serve it? Maybe make it in the morning–pop in fridge then bake right before you eat later that day?

    • Reply
      July 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Absolutely! Complete steps 1-6. Cover with saran wrap and press down onto the pasta so that it is completely suffocated and store in your fridge. Remove the saran wrap, add the breadcrumbs then pop it into the oven as directed!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2021 at 9:53 pm

    5 stars
    I made this to take to my friend. Wow! I’m going to have a hard time giving it up. Yum! And super easy!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    5 stars
    Hands down, my new go-to recipe for Mac and cheese!!! I made this as one of the sides for our Christmas dinner and it was a major hit. Can’t wait to make this again!

  • Reply
    November 29, 2020 at 7:56 pm

    5 stars
    I love the twist on this Mac and cheese with adding the chilies. I also love the crumb top.

  • Reply
    November 26, 2020 at 5:53 am

    Do I use regular butter or unsalted butter? Also is it fine to swap Pablo bread crumbs for regular bread crumbs?

    • Reply
      November 27, 2020 at 2:14 pm

      unsalted is probably the way to go here to control your salt to taste. and yes, you could do regular bread crumbs if that is all you have; however the panko really adds a nice crunch.

  • Reply
    Susan O
    November 24, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Hi! Will regular elbow pasta work for this recipe?

    • Reply
      November 24, 2020 at 8:40 pm

      yes! 🙂

  • Reply
    November 22, 2020 at 11:14 am

    Can you make this the day before?

    • Reply
      November 22, 2020 at 8:01 pm

      Yes! There are some details above on how to prep ahead of time, but you will essentially complete steps 1-7 then store until you are ready to bake.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Yay!!! This looks amazing! Would cashew milk be a good milk substitute? And do you have a dairy-free sour cream substitute? Butter and cheese don’t seem to bother me as much as other milk products, so those are fine (thank goodness, ha!)

    • Reply
      November 22, 2020 at 2:54 pm

      I would go for Nutpods Dairy-Free Creamer here, but I think Cashew milk should be ok, too!… and Forager has a good DF Sour Cream you can sub!

      • Reply
        November 25, 2020 at 3:58 am

        Would dairy free cheese work with this recipe too? I typically use Ripple for my milk substitute and it works well!

        • Reply
          November 25, 2020 at 4:16 pm

          I think it’d be great with DF cheese!

  • Reply
    November 10, 2020 at 6:11 pm

    How much does this serve? I am trying it out on my small office of 6 for an office meal and then with my family for thanksgiving, bigger crowd! Should I double it for thanksgiving?

  • Reply
    Catherine C
    November 2, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Going to a friendsgiving and wanted to a Mac and cheese + Texas style Mac and cheese. Could I use this recipe without the sour cream + green Chile’s for the normal Mac and cheese?

    • Reply
      November 5, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      I probably wouldn’t serve this as a classic one with those changes– the sour cream adds some texture/creaminess to this particular recipe and without it, it might end up slightly dry.

  • Reply
    Chelsea Jones
    October 19, 2020 at 11:05 pm

    Loved this dish! Made it for my family and they all loved it too! Highly recommend and will be including this for Thanksgiving this year!

    • Reply
      October 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm

      yay!! Fantastic addition to the menu.

    • Reply
      October 22, 2020 at 1:26 pm


      • Reply
        November 21, 2020 at 9:09 pm

        My boyfriend is from Texas and can’t go home for Thanksgiving this year so this will be perfect to make for him and bring Texas to him! Question – if I were to substitute a non-dairy milk do you think that would be ok? If so, what do you think would be best? Thanks!

        • Reply
          November 25, 2020 at 4:21 pm

          I always opt for Nutpods Original DF creamer 🙂

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