Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese is the ultimate cheesy junk food goodness! Baked creamy, spicy three cheese macaroni and a crunchy fried Cheetos topping.
FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS MAC AND CHEESE
There are comfort food mashup recipes, and then there is King of the cheesy, spicy junk food recipe. The creamy, baked Mac is made with 3 melty cheeses and has Hot Cheetos in the sauce for extreme heat and flavor! On top of the delicious “no right to be this good” taste, this Mac is made in less than an hour! It’s so tasty and easy, you’ll be making Flamin’ Hot Mac and Cheetos every chance you get.
This recipe for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese is all about homemade junk food indulgence! Skip the baked Hot Cheetos and go with the regular kind for maximum flavor and crunch. You could use a box of Mac and Cheese but you will miss out on all the three cheese, creamy goodness. It’s worth a little extra cooking time and calories for the best Mac and Cheese you’ll ever eat.
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese is easy and inexpensive to make, especially if you pick up Cheetos around summer holidays when they are on sale. You’ll need about 2 regular bags or one family size bag of Cheetos. You can use the puffed Cheetos, but keep in mind they won’t be as crunchy. If you want to use puffs, use them with the milk for flavor and use the regular Cheetos for the topping.
Since it’s sure to be in the comments, it’s one the first questions we asked too, you can absolutely use any Cheetos flavor you like for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese. For a less spicy mac, replace half the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos with regular Cheetos or White Cheddar Cheetos Puffs. For a peppery spicy flavor, use Flamin’ Hot Cheddar Jalapeño Cheetos, or go with the Flamin’ Hot Lime Cheetos!
MORE AWESOME MAC AND CHEESE RECIPES:
Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese is a perfect crowd pleasing Fourth of July side dish and makes an easy fiery summer dinner. For dinner time, serve with some lighter sides like Sautéed Green Beans or Roasted Broccoli. Top with sliced Grilled Chicken or Pulled Pork for a heartier summertime main dish that everyone will love.
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VARIATIONS ON FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS MAC AND CHEESE
- Meat: Mix in 6-8 pieces crumbled crispy cooked bacon, or 1 pound cooked and drained ground beef, turkey, or chicken to make this a hearty main dish.
- Veggies: You can add sautéed onions, mushrooms, or red and green bell peppers after you add in the cheese for some healthy veggies. Diced jalapeños peppers or green chiles will add a little extra southwestern heat.
- Seasonings: Play with the flavors in this Mac and Cheese by adding 2 tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix or Homemade Taco Seasoning before mixing in the cheeses!
- Cheese: Other cheeses that can go in your mac are pepper jack cheese, Fontina cheese, Parmesan cheese, or Monterey Jack cheese. Make sure to grate the cheese yourself for the creamiest sauce.
- Mac and Cheese Bites: Divide the prepared macaroni and cheese between greased muffin cups and bake as usual for Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese Bites. This is great for potlucks or packing for lunches!
- Instant Pot: Cook the macaroni lightening fast and easy by cooking in the Instant Pot! Add pasta, 3 cups of water, and 1 teaspoon salt to Instant Pot and seal lid. Set to Manual High Pressure for 4 minutes, then quick release when done.
MORE FUN, DELICIOUS, AND EASY SIDE DISHES!
HOW TO STORE FLAMIN’ HOT CHEETOS MAC AND CHEESE
- Serve: For best crunch and taste, serve Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Mac and Cheese immediately and don’t keep at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- Store: Store the Mac and Cheese and Cheetos topping separately. Keep the Cheetos at room temperature in a plastic bag. Hot Cheeto Mac and Cheese can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Prepare the Mac and Cheese without topping or baking. Cool and wrap pan with plastic wrap and foil before freezing for up to 3 months. To serve, bake from frozen 20-30 minutes and prepare Cheetos topping the same day.
- 6 cups Flamin’ Hot Cheetos , divided
- 5 cups whole milk
- 1 pound large elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , divided
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese , freshly shredded
- 2 cups cheddar cheese , freshly shredded
- 8 ounces American Cheese , slices
- Add 3 cups of Flamin' Hot Cheetos to your food processor and pulverize into crumbs.
- Add to milk and let sit while pasta water comes to a boil and cooks (about 20 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta 2 minutes shy of the directions on the box and drain (do not rinse).
- Add 4 tablespoons of the butter to a large pot on medium heat and melt.
- Whisk in the flour, salt and cayenne pepper and cook for 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in the steeped milk and bring to a simmer.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes until the milk has thickened, then add in the mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and American cheese.
- Whisk well until the cheese is melted then fold in the cooked pasta.
- Pour mixture into 13x9 baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
- While the pasta is baking, lightly crush the remaining Cheetos and add to a large frying pan with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter on medium heat.
- Stir, cooking for 1 minute until sizzling and the red color is intensified.
- When pasta comes out of the oven top with buttery Cheetos and serve immediately.