Jalapeno Popper Pasta

Jalapeno Popper Pasta is a cheesy, spicy dish where comfort food meets an appetizer favorite.  This grown-up mac ‘n cheese dish is filled with tasty jalapeno peppers, topped with garlic breadcrumbs and  is made a little lighter too!

While Mike and I were pretty sure we would enjoy Jalapeno Popper Pasta, because I mean really…between the cheese and garlic breadcrumbs and a nice kick from the jalapenos…it’s a safe assumption, right?  Well, this is how it typically goes down when I want to photograph our dinner for the blog.  I load up a plate for photos and head over to my photo spot.  I tell Mike to go ahead and start without me, but he always says he wants to wait.  (He might sneak a bite or two).  Photos take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on various factors, and then we eat!  These photos didn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes.  I went to the table, and Mike had already finished.  He just smiled and went to load up for seconds.  It’s that good!

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden full of jalapenos, this Jalapeno Popper Pasta is a delicious, new and different way to use them up.

Jalapeno Popper Pasta
Yields: 4 servings
  • 8 ounces pasta (rotini, gemelli, or any other similar shape will work)
For the Garlic Breadcrumbs:
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • pinch salt
For the Sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-3 jalapeno peppers, minced (to yield approx ¼ cup)
  • 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. COOK PASTA: Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. MAKE BREADCRUMBS: Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium, nonstick skillet and add breadcrumbs and (1 clove) minced garlic. Stir frequently until breadcrumbs begin to brown and garlic is fragrant. Add a pinch of salt, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. MAKE SAUCE: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion and peppers are softened. Add garlic during the last minute, cooking until fragrant.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add cream cheese to onion mixture. Stir until melted. Add milk, stirring until incorporated. Add cheese and chili powder and stir until melted and smooth.
  5. PUT IT TOGETHER: Remove sauce from heat. Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. SERVE: Divide on serving plates and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of garlic breadcrumbs. Top with jalapeño rings for garnish (optional).
Adapted from Rachael Ray

It’s my favorite time of month again…the Eating with the Alphabet Challenge hosted by Brenda from Meal Planning Magic!  This month we were to showcase a recipe using a fruit, vegetable or grain that begin with the letters I or J.  I obviously went with J for jalapeño.

The past few months, I have been able to knock out several recipes from my bucket list with this challenge, and each of these recipes have become household staples.  Gotta love a 3 year old who can’t get enough of roasted chickpeas (we go through 1 can every 1 to 2 days!)


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  1. Wow that pasta sounds awesome! I love jalapeno poppers so I am totally bookmarking and trying this recipe. Thanks for the blog hop!


  2. Um, delicious! I cannot wait to make this!!

  3. Picture taking goes the same at my house, this must be really good pasta! I am obsessed with all things “jalepeno popper.” I want this for breakfast, it looks delicious!

  4. That looks FANTASTIC. I bet my husband would propose again if I made this.

    It’s going ON the menu!!

  5. Oooh that sounds delicious. I love jalapeños! Pinned it!

  6. We usually get jalapeños in our CSA delivery every year. I’ll be sure to make this dish once they arrive – this looks awesome!

  7. Love, love, love. I think I’ll try this with some grilled chicken or shrimp! I’m glad I found your site! Thanks, Twitter! 🙂

  8. Sounds like rattlesnake pasta from Unos. I havent had that in *years*

    I might need to try this.

  9. Just saw this when Creole Contessa Lisa posted it on FB. WOW! I can’t wait to make it!

  10. I so want to eat this right now! 😛

  11. We made this tonight and it was just as fantastic as it looked and sounded!! My husband, myself and my 17 year old loved this. What was surprising my 11 year old picky eater that doesn’t eat anything spicy gobbled it up too. Thank you!

  12. Tried tonight and made some changes first added Parmesan cheese to the bread crumb mixture. Also added bacon pieces and grilled chicken pieces to the sauce after I mixed the sauce and pasta together put it in a dish topped it with the breadcrumb mixture and baked for 7mins to brown and served my bf love love loved it great recipe!