Jalapeño Popper Mac & Cheese Bites


When you're craving jalapeño poppers and mac & cheese and you want to eat with your hands, these easy cheesy bites--which are baked in a mini muffin tin--are just the ticket. Serve them as part of a family-friendly dinner or put out a platter for a casual party. A crispy breadcrumb topping provides a wonderful contrast to the creamy mac & cheese, while the optional fresh parsley and pickled jalapeño garnishes add a nice color contrast and bright flavor.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs
24 mini muffins


  • 6 ounces small elbow macaroni

  • 5 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 1 large egg

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jalapeño pepper

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped pickled jalapeños (Optional)

  • 12 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (about 3 cups), divided

  • Cooking spray

  • ¼ cup whole-wheat panko breadcrumbs

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Optional)

  • 12 pickled jalapeño slices, halved (Optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions for al dente, omitting salt. Drain and return the pasta to the pan. Add cream cheese and butter, stirring until the butter is melted and the cream cheese is smooth and melted. Set aside.

  3. Whisk egg, milk, garlic powder, onion powder and mustard in a large bowl. Add the pasta mixture; stir to combine. Add chopped jalapeño and chopped pickled jalapeños. Reserve 1/2 cup shredded cheese; stir the remaining cheese into the pasta mixture.

  4. Lightly coat a 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the pasta mixture into each cup; top evenly with the reserved cheese. Sprinkle evenly with panko, and lightly coat with cooking spray.

  5. Bake until set and lightly browned on top, 22 to 24 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with chopped parsley and top each bite with a halved pickled jalapeño slice. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

222 Calories
13g Fat
16g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 222
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 12g 23%
Total Fat 13g 16%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Vitamin A 91IU 2%
Vitamin C 1mg 1%
Folate 18mcg 4%
Sodium 170mg 7%
Calcium 235mg 18%
Iron 1mg 8%
Magnesium 32mg 8%
Potassium 134mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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