Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese

If I controlled the grocery cart growing up, my family would have subsisted on Eggo waffles and boxed mac and cheese. Now that I’m grown, we subsist on Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese instead.

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese. Your entire family will love this baked mac and cheese recipe!

Mac and cheese is deeply entwined with my childhood. Every birthday, I requested my Grammy’s homemade macaroni and cheese (my favorite meal), and on every other night, I begged for the faux-bacon, yellow-box variety (my second favorite meal).

As an adult, I’ve moved beyond the box, but I still find the decadent combination of creamy cheese and buttery pasta deeply, uniquely comforting in a way that only favorite childhood dishes can emulate.

An instant family favorite: Pizza Mac and Cheese. The homemade baked mac and cheese with mozzarella and any of your favorite toppings!

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese. A gourmet mac and cheese recipe your entire family will love!

Mac and cheese satisfies the part of me that still wants to spend my days flying kites, riding bikes, and rearranging my Beanie Babies—which is to say that it satisfies many parts of me. At the same time, however, my adult self recognizes that one cannot live from the box alone and that most mac and cheese recipes are best kept to a small side dish or for a special indulgence.

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese is where my Velveeta-loving inner-kid and healthy-lifestyle loving adult intersect. It has all the creamy comfort that prompted me to love the box in the first place, but is significantly lightened up and filled with bright flavors, lean protein, and veggies.

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese. Gooey homemade macaroni and cheese with your favorite pizza toppings mixed inI love using macaroni and cheese as a vehicle for other favorite flavors (reference: Greek Mac and Cheese), and today’s recipe is inspired by another lifetime favorite food, pizza. While that might sound a bit odd, the two truly jive. Classic pizza cheeses (Mozzarella, Fontina) are creamy and melty—perfect for mac and cheese—and favorite pizza toppings such as pepperoni and bell peppers work equally well stirred in with pasta as they do sprinkled over a crust.

In addition to being endlessly customizable (use any pizza toppings your family loves) and lightened up (I adapted my favorite lighter cheese sauce from this Ham and Cheese Casserole to the pizza theme) another beautiful aspect Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese is that it is truly an all-in-one dish. By adding lots of veggies and lean protein, we have a single pasta bake that hits all of the food groups. Translation: less cooking and less dishes. Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese is also freezer friendly and tastes fabulous leftover too, which my practical adult-side adores.

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese. Homemade baked mac and cheese with your favorite pizza toppings like mozzarella and pepperoniAll my bike-riding, Beanie-Baby playing, and responsibility-immune inner-kid knows is that Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese is delicious. I think I need to listen to her more often.

I’m sharing this recipe for Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese in partnership with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board to celebrate  National Cheese Lover’s Day today. (Best food holiday ever? I think yes!). The WMMB has an entire website dedicated to All Things Mac and Cheese, where you can find a mac and cheese recipe to suit your every mood, and they are hosting a celebratory giveaway too! (Giveaway details here).

My inner kid just did a cartwheel. This calls for seconds on Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese.

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Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese

Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese made with mozzarella and your family's favorite pizza toppings like pepperoni, peppers, and olives. This lightened up mac and cheese recipe is freezer-friendly and makes great leftovers too.


Yield: 1 9x13-inch pan (serves 8)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

For the Pasta



  • 12 ounces whole wheat pasta noodles, such as rigatoni

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

  • 3 ounces turkey pepperoni slices (about 50 slices)

  • 1/4 cup pitted black olives, chopped


For the Sauce



  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/2 cups non-fat milk

  • 1/4 cup half and half

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Wisconsin Mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Wisconsin Fontina cheese

  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Wisconsin Parmesan cheese


Directions:


  1. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta to water and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly butter 9x13-inch baking dish.

  3. In Dutch oven or large, deep sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium high. Sauté onion, red bell pepper and green bell pepper 2 minutes; add drained tomatoes and continue to cook until onion and peppers are crisp tender and tomato cooking liquid has thickened and mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove vegetables from pan and set aside. Carefully wipe pan with paper towel.

  4. In same pan, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle in garlic and flour and cook, whisking often, until flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Gradually pour in milk, whisking constantly, then half and half. Cook until sauce simmers and thickens, about 7 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in red pepper flakes, salt and oregano. Stir in Greek yogurt, mozzarella and fontina. Add drained pasta and sautéed vegetables. Stir to coat.

  5. Roughly chop 2/3 of pepperoni. Stir into pasta mixture, reserving remaining pepperoni. Spoon pasta into prepared baking dish, then scatter olives and remaining pepperoni over top. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake until hot and bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving.


Leftover spicy pizza mac and cheese will keep in the refrigerator for up to five days or can be frozen, well-wrapped for up to two months.


You can also find this recipe on All Things Mac and Cheese.


// All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

For more ways to celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day, don’t miss these other mega mac and cheese recipes:

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

37 comments

  1. What a great dish Erin.  Pizza is perfect with mac and cheese and your inner kid would go nuts for this.

  2. I would have lived on mac and cheese too! Sometimes I  still find myself wanting to have a box for lunch. This pizza mac and cheese is perfect, Erin. I’m swooning for sure!

  3. Oh this looks *awesome*! I can’t lie – I still haven’t totally moved beyond the boxed mac and cheese (once in a blue moon), but next time I’m craving a taste of childhood, I’ll give this a try instead! Yum :)

  4. This looks really good.  A cold snowy day would be a perfect day to serve this. My sons Brian and Steven would say that any day would be a great mac and cheese day!

  5. I for one love that you moved beyond the box.  This is spectacular!  I love the flavors.

  6. You combined every kid’s two favorite meals, congrats! Though Little Kid Ashley would have liked tacos in there somewhere, too ;)

  7. I was totally into rearranging my beanie babies too! My inner child loves this dish and my outer adult loves that it is healthy!

  8. So comforting and delicious. I just want to dive into this dish. Yum!

  9. This is perfect for a busy weeknight meal!!!

  10. Erin, your new design looks absolutely amazing! I love your new name. This recipe rocks my world. Pinned.

  11. You are a better foodie than I. While I (obviously) prefer the homemade variety over than the boxed, I am a mac and cheese fraud, because I still adore the blue box. So ashamed. Although given the choice between PIZZA mac and cheese and the blue box, I’d have to go for the real stuff — hands down. 

  12. Mac and cheese any day, any way you want it. But Eggo always frightened me a little. I guess it was those threats of violence in those “let go my Eggo” commercials. GREG

  13. oh my gawd, you made Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese?! You are my hero, Erin!! love this!!! heading over to check out the recipe!

  14. My husband just said you combined every one of his childhood favorites in one dish. I guess I just HAVE to make this now to be a good wifey!!

  15. Mac and cheese and pizza + spice?! Ok, sign me up!

  16. National Cheese Lovers Day? Now that’s a holiday you can sink your teeth into **sorry** (dad joke). Honestly, this pizza spin on Mac and Cheese looks absolutely fabulous. I have a pound of pepperoni in my freezer as I write this and now I know one of the things I’m going to use it for. Thanks for the great recipe, Erin!

  17. This looks soooo good! I didn’t eat mac and cheese much growing up (it’s not a big thing here in Australia), but as an adult it’s become one of my all time favourite meals. I’m always looking for new recipes – can’t wait to give this one a try!

  18. If my brothers hear about this they will flip. This is definitely going on my to-make list! Yummm!

  19. Homemade mac and cheese is the best! Love the pizza flavors!

  20. Yay for national cheese day! I personally think that should be everyday, but I’ll settle for having this incredible mac ‘n ‘cheese in my life instead. ;) Holy yum, this looks amazing! You basically combined the best two foods in America into one gorgeous mac. :D

  21. Pizza + mac and cheese = the best combination ever! I want a plate of this for lunch and dinner!

  22. I’m so into this you have no idea. Just last night my boyfriend and I ate frozen pizza for dinner. As we were getting ready for bed, I said “that pizza just made me want… more pizza.” Like that Pizza Bagel slogan with pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening? #mylife

  23. This is so naughty, but sooooooooo good! So actioning! 

  24. I’m not gonna lie, I hated mac & cheese as a kid, but as I got older, I started to really enjoy it homemade. I especially love it when it’s loaded like this. A pizza/mac & cheese hybrid just sounds wonderful!

  25. Pizza mac and cheese is brilliant! This looks awesome!

  26. Wow… Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese?! What a claver idea, Erin!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe. Pinning it for later ;-)

  27. I love that you combined two favorites! Spicy Pizza Mac and Cheese sounds like the ultimate comfort dish! 

  28. This looks ah-mazing Erin! You’ve combined my two favourite dinner recipes into one here! Love it, so delicious. I would do anything for a bowlful of this right now! 

  29. Great dish to please the family for any night of the week. xo Catherine 

  30. Hi Erin! I tried to make something like this for last Christmas – but wasn’t successful. Yours looks perfect, plus the colors are so festive! I will be trying this very soon! Great for a crowd! Thank you so much!

  31. YEAH!!! This is amazing, what a fabulous combo. :) Adding to my winter dinner menu list. 

  32. This is absolutely delicious!! Definitely a keeper recipe – thank you for sharing!

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