If you think about what the two best bbq side dishes are, I bet cornbread and mac and cheese are on a lot of people’s lists, which is why this spoonbread jalapeno mac and cheese is the best of both worlds! Super creamy sweet and soft spoonbread! Tons of cheese and pasta mixed right in! A little kick from the jalapenos! What’s not to love?
How I came up with this recipe
Over the holidays at a party I ate a mac and cheese that used crumbled cornbread as the breadcrumb topping. I was really thrown off at first. But as I ate it I loved the idea and was excited to play with the flavors when I got home. I thought of making a mac and cheese and then topping it with a cornbread batter that would cook and form sort of a mac pot pie. In the end I decided to incorporate the cornbread right into the mac and cheese. I used this spoonbread recipe as inspiration so it would be moist and soft, and mixed in lots of pasta and cheese. It came out amazing! Way better than I expected! I will definitely be making this as a BBQ side in the future.
Cook the pasta first
I added the cooked pasta to a bowl with some cornmeal and the pasta cooking water. The idea behind this is that once the cornmeal hits liquid, it basically starts the cooking process. I wanted to make sure the final spoonbread was nice and tender and didn’t have the sandy cornmeal texture or be dry. Many spoonbread recipes add boiling water to the cornmeal, so this was my version of that step.
Add the remaining ingredients
Buttermilk, butter, eggs, sour cream, cheese, and honey. Also chopped pickled jalapenos.
Baking the spoonbread jalapeno mac and cheese
Pour the mixture into baking dishes and bake at 350 for about 35 minutes.
I didn’t realize how much I was going to end up making so I needed an extra baking dish. This was because I needed to add more liquid than I originally planned to make sure the final texture was soft.
Serving the spoonbread jalapeno mac and cheese
Allow to rest about 10 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Top with scallions and more jalapeno.
Then dig in! So good! Creamy, cheesy, and a perfect mash-up of mac and cheese and cornbread flavors.
The scallions and jalapeno are also key to help cut through the heaviness of the dish.
Twists on this dish
One thing I normally would add to cornbread is honey, but the spoonbread already has a bit of honey in there and is somewhat sweet. You could definitely add some more on top if you wanted! Another topping could be butter.
Spoonbread Jalapeno Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups elbow mac
- 3/4 cups fine cornmeal
- 1 stick butter melted
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 cups shredded cheddar and jack cheeses
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- scallions and jalapenos for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350
- Boil the pasta about 2 minutes less than the package says, in well salted water.
- In a large bowl, add the cornmeal. When the pasta has about 30 seconds left, take 1 cup of the boiling pasta water out of the pat and whisk it into the cornmeal. Add the pasta directly from the pot to the cornmeal mixture using a hand strainer. Mix well. Add the melted butter and stir to combine. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the buttermilk to the bowl and stir to combine. Add in the eggs and mix well. Stir in the sour cream, cheese, honey, and jalapenos.
- Lastly stir in the baking powder. Pour the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes until the center just slightly jiggles when you shake the pan.
- Top with the scallions and jalapenos and serve.