Zesty Cheese Doritos Mac and Cheese is not your regular cheese and macaroni dish! If you’re after a cheesy flavor overload with a nice crunch from a zesty tortilla topping, then you’ve come to the right place!
This cheesy macaroni and cheese hits every cheesy craving you might have!
Zesty Cheese Doritos Mac and Cheese Casserole
So, I have an Old Fashioned Mac and Cheese dish on the blog, and don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty fantastic. (As is my Cheesy Chicken and Bacon Pasta Casserole). But this cheesy Dorito mac and cheese dish is something pretty special.
Just so you know, this post is not sponsored by Doritos – I just happen to like the Zesty Cheese flavored Doritos and thought the tortilla chips would add a really awesome textural context plus a huge FLAVOR BOMB to a dish of mac and cheese!
And, my dear reader, I was right! So let’s get into it!
Pasta: I used rotini pasta here, but you can use any pasta shape your beautiful heart desires! I just like how rotini holds onto the sauce inside the corkscrew twirls.
Zesty Cheese Doritos: I think that only here in Canada have access to the Zesty cheese flavor. However, if you can’t get access to these, please feel free to substitute them with another brand of cheesy flavored tortillas you might have. Also, Dorito’s Nacho Cheese flavored tortilla chips would also work great!
Cheese: I used sharp cheddar for this recipe. I use a sharp (or it can also be called “Old”) cheddar because the flavors are just that much more pronounced. Use your favorite cheese or whatever you have on hand as long as it melts nicely!
Milk: You can use any milk here. The higher the percentage of milk fat (2%, 3%, whole milk, etc) will increase the yummy richness of the dish. Also, you can use milk alternatives if that’s your jam. No problem!
Spices: Just your regular S&P here, along with some garlic powder and some Smoked Paprika. If you don’t have that on hand, regular paprika will work just as well.
Butter and Flour: to make a roux.
MAKING IT RIGHT
So this zesty dorito mac and cheese couldn’t be simpler to put together. It has a few steps, but I’m sure it’s nothing you can’t handle.
The steps are as follows:
- Cook the pasta, rinse and set aside.
- While the pasta is cooking, start on making the yummy cheesy sauce for the pasta
- Once it’s thickened, delectable, and cheesy, you can transfer the pasta into it and give it a good mix.
- Spray a baking dish and put this cheesy pasta mix into it.
- Sprinkle the crushed Doritos over it and bake!
See? Easy right?!?!
SERVING SUGGESTIONS AND COOK’S TIPS
If you’re wondering what to serve with this delicious cheesy mac, I can wholeheartedly say that pretty much any protein would go really well with this side dish. For instance, try serving it with:
Air Fryer Chicken Fries: Any little one would absolutely love this meal combination!
Grilled Country Style Pork Ribs: Grilled ribs with mac and cheese are best friends in this pairing!
Instant Pot BBQ Sausages with Buns: Easy and delicious for both kids and adults.
Hot dogs – Heck, cut up some hot dogs, and throw them in with the pasta when it goes into the oven so it’s a ‘meal in one’!
Make it a main dish and serve it with a side salad! The list is endless. Macaroni and cheese is the best side dish because of its versatility.
If you wanted to make this pasta side dish a bit healthier, adding smaller, bite-size vegetables would fit in great. Things that are similar in size to the pasta or smaller – like small cauliflower florets, broccoli florets, corn, or the frozen medley of veggies (corn, carrots, and peas).
Add protein to the mix! Adding shredded chicken, cooked hamburger, diced turkey, garlic sausage or hot dogs into the dish would make it feed more mouths and could be another way to make it a main dish!
This cooked mac and cheese casserole will last in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
If you wanted to make this dish ahead of time, I would prepare all the components and keep them separate, then reheat and combine them together and bake in the oven. If you assemble it too far ahead of time you could risk the pasta absorbing a lot of the sauce and then it would be dry.
The printable recipe for this Zesty Cheese Doritos Mac and Cheese is below and if you’ve tried it, please leave a STAR RATING below in the recipe card! What is your favorite cheese to use in Mac and Cheese? Let me know below, I’d love to hear your faves!
- 10 cups of salted water
- 8 oz of rotini pasta
- 1 1/2 cups of Zesty Cheese Dorito Tortilla chips, crushed
- 2c milk
- 3c sharp cheddar, shredded
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- as desired, salt and pepper
- For the Roux:
- 4 tbs butter
- 3 tbs flour
1. Begin by cooking the pasta. Add about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Bring to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for about 7 minutes or as instructed on the back of the package. Drain and set aside, covered.
2. Preheat the oven to 350. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. When melted, add the flour. Stir it around to make a bit of a paste. Cook this for a few minutes over low-medium heat to "toast" the mixture a tad.
3. Slowly add the milk in small increments. As you add the milk, it will thicken the sauce, so then add some more until you have used the full 2 cup amount.
4. Keep stirring until the sauce has thickened. Turn down the heat and add the spices and the cheese. Add the cheese in small handfuls and stir until it melts, then add the next handful.
5. When the sauce is cheesy and thickened, add the pasta into the pot. Stir well.
6. Transfer the cheesy pasta into a 9x9 greased baking dish.
7. Sprinkle the crushed Doritos chips over the top of the pasta, evenly.
8. Bake in the oven for 25 - 30 minutes or until the chips toast a little on the top and the cheese is bubbling. Enjoy!
Use any pasta you prefer.
Feel free to use your favorite cheese as long as it melts easily. Also, a stronger cheese is recommended here unless children will also be eating this casserole.
To add extra zip, add a pinch of dried chili flakes to the cheese sauce while cooking! Yum!
If you don't have smoked paprika, regular paprika will work.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 487Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 94mgSodium: 635mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 22g
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.