We like spicy food here. Almost everything I make, if it’s savory? It’s also spicy. I just leave it out of my written recipes because I know that’s not for everyone.
This Carolina Reaper Mac and Cheese was something my daughter and I came up with together and it’s hot as hell.
I recommend starting with less Carolina Reaper flakes than it calls for if you’re unfamiliar with them. They are the Guinness World Record holder for hottest pepper, after all: way hotter than habaneros and jalapenos and ghost peppers and such.
You can also omit the Carolina Reaper flakes completely – in fact, it’s one of the most popular recipes on Instagram; so many of you have shared with me how much you enjoy the recipe without the heat.
I think the cheeses I’ve selected for this recipe blend really well together, with or without the pepper flakes, and as much as I always encourage experimenting and playing to your own tastebuds, I’ve got to recommend you try this recipe as written at least once.
If you’d like to watch me prepare this Carolina Reaper Mac and Cheese, there’s a video on IGTV. I’ll update the photo with a better one as soon as I can and don’t forget there’s also my Ol’ School Mac & Cheese recipe to try out too!
Preheat your oven to 400º and grease a 9×13″ pan and set aside.
Shred your block cheeses, combine them, and set them aside too.
In a medium saucepan, pour your milk and warm over medium heat. Stir in the Velveeta in small amounts, gradually, until completely melted. Add your seasonings and adjust as needed. Lower the heat to the lowest setting.
While making the sauce, boil your macaroni. You want the noodles a tad undercooked. After you drain them, stir the cubed butter into the noodles and set aside.
Now it’s time to temper your eggs: scoop about 1/3 cup of cheese sauce out, and pour into the eggs, whisking as you do. Repeat two or three times, whisking well between each addition. This slowly raises the temperature of your eggs. If you add too much sauce at once they will scramble, so go slowly. Once the eggs are heated, pour them into the cheese sauce along with 1/3 of the shredded cheeses. Stir to combine.
Spoon half of the buttered macaroni into your prepared pan. Cover with 1/3 of the remaining shredded cheese, then ladle half of the cheese sauce over it. Pour on the rest of the macaroni, then 1/2 of the remaining shredded cheese, then pour on the rest of the cheese sauce. Cover the top evenly with the rest of the shredded cheese.
Bake for about 30 minutes, uncovered. Top should be nice and browned.
You can leave out the eggs if you like, but the texture of the final dish will be different.
I make my own Carolina Reaper flakes and powders by crushing and grinding dried Carolina Reaper peppers, but many pepper companies have pepper powder/flakes for sale.