Queso Mac and Cheese

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings



  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and transfer to a small bowl.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs for al dente. Drain well and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a large wide pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the flour and stir to make a paste; cook, stirring, until the paste is smooth and the flour is cooked but not browned, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the mustard powder, cayenne and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  4. Increase the heat to medium high and gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally, then reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar, monterey Jack and Velveeta in a few batches until melted and smooth, letting the cheese melt before adding more. When the sauce is smooth, remove from the heat, add the pasta and stir to coat. Stir in the canned tomatoes and canned chiles.
  5. Scrape the pasta into a 3-quart baking dish; sprinkle the toasted panko evenly on top. Bake until the sauce is bubbling around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool slightly. Serve with assorted toppings.