Aside from Trader Joe’s Soup Dumplings (while using my favorite hack – check out the video here!), their Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese is one of my all-time favorite things. It’s actually hard to believe that it’s a frozen item judging by how delicious it is. I’ve always wanted to create a homemade version and finally did. This is my copycat version of the Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese!
Although it takes a litttttle bit more time and effort to make than just popping something into the microwave, it’s well worth it! Here’s a video of how I put the Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese together and the full recipe is written out below. It’s much more elevated than the Trader Joe’s version yet still simple to make. Hope you love it as much as I do! For another delicious dish, check out this Creamy Mac & Cheese With Crispy Parmesan Topping recipe.
A few important tips before you start:
1. Whatever you do, please do not use pre-shredded cheese for this! You will never achieve the same silky and creamy consistency with it. I know it can be a pain but take the time to grate your own cheese – I promise it will make all the difference! Unfortunately, there can be a lot of additives and binders in pre-shredded cheese that affect the texture. My favorite hack is to use my favorite food processor for this – it’s done in seconds.
2. Just keep whisking! This is the name of the game for a smooth cheese sauce that doesn’t break on you! I like to look at it as a mini arm workout.
3. Microwave your milk and heavy cream before adding to the sauce. It doesn’t have to be super hot, just warm enough to ensure it combines into the sauce seamlessly. I would recommend heating up in a microwave safe measuring cup for one to one and a half minutes prior to incorporating.
4. You can TOTALLY sub a 4 oz. can of hatch chiles instead of roasting your own. It will save a ton of time and taste delicious. I prefer to roast them if time allows, but both methods work.
5. If you prefer to skip the Panko mixture, skip it! I personally love the crispy and crunchy texture it provides but it’s not necessary. Base it on your preferences and make it your own!