Ancho Chili Mac & Cheese
Recipe by Chef Michael Williams
Michael Williams

Ancho Chili Mac & Cheese

  • Prep time 45 mins
  • Cook time 45 mins
  • Ready in 1 hour

This is an involved process, but hey, this recipe won the 2019 Mount Saint Mary Mac & Cheese Cook-off. It is pretty darn delicious and lots of fun to make. Give it a go and make some happy mouths at your next gathering. Bonus, you will have left over Ancho Chili Sauce to play with!


  • For the crème fraise:
  • For the ancho chili sauce:


  1. You can make up the crème fraise and ancho chilli sauce days ahead of time to break up a bit of a demanding recipe.
  2. For the crème fraise, stir 250 ml of whipping cream and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk together in a loosely covered glass jar.  Leave on the counter for 12 – 16 hours.  After 12 hours stir to check the consistency…it should be magically thick and rich like yogurt.  Keep in the fridge for 10 – 14 days.
  3. Ancho chili sauce time…You will only use ½ of this sauce and you will reserve the left over for another batch of Mac or to be used anywhere a good salsa is needed.
  4. Add the chili powder, onion, tomato, Serrano peppers, garlic, cilantro and salt into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.
  5. Preheat a large pot on medium high, add the oil and then carefully pour the contents of the blender into the hot oil.   Cook the sauce until it begins to thicken (about 7 minutes).
  6. Add the lime juice and zest, stir and check the taste.  Set aside for the moment or store in the fridge for up to 1 month.
  7. Add the whipping cream to a large pot and reduce by 50% by volume over medium heat.  This is a tricky task as the whipping cream will want to boil over if it gets too hot.  So make sure the pot is large, keep it at a simmer and take your time.  It will take 20 – 30 minutes depending on how hot you have it.
  8. Now it’s time to put it all together.  Add ½ of the ancho chilli sauce to the reduced cream and bring to a simmer.
  9. Add the Raclette cheese to the pot and stir with a whisk until the cheese is fully melted and incorporated.  This will take a few minutes.
  10. Next add the cooked macaroni to the pot and simmer until the noodles are hot and the sauce has thickened up.  Add a touch of fresh cream or milk if it gets too thick.
  11. Serve it up and garnish with breadcrumbs, bacon bits and drizzle crème fraise on top.  Enjoy!


Puree avocado into the crème fraise to make it just as I did. You can also use thinned down sour cream to save a step, but it is not nearly as good.

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Reviews on "Ancho Chili Mac & Cheese" (6)

  1. April 28, 2022
    Hey Chef Mike—I bought a small Ancho Chili Mac & Cheese at Urban Forage a few days ago—it was awesome!! So gonna give this recipe a go—Just one thing I’m a bit confused on—in the video, you prepare a brown roux which you slowly add the whipping cream to, then the ancho chili sauce, but I don’t see the roux mentioned here in the show notes at step 7. Is the roux necessary or just an alternative step? Thanks Chef Mike—looking forward to this dish
    • April 29, 2022
      Hello Terry, So glad that you made it down to Urban Forage! We are so happy to be creating our amazing food. I am also very happy to hear that you want to give the recipe a go and actually, you have brought up a great point that I wasn't aware of. I wrote this recipe long before it was featured on the show. It was originally featured as my recipe at the Mount St. Mary's Mac & Cheese Cookoff and it ended up winning the competition! When I made it back then, I used to reduce my cream without the aid of a roux. Now I have realized that it is just easier to use the roux as the whipping cream does not risk being boiled over. If you want to use the roux method, I would go with about 2 tablespoons of each flour and butter. Once that is cooked and lightly browned, add the cream, just like in the video. Good luck and let me know how it turns out. Pro tip, if the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little milk.
  2. May 5, 2022
    Good morning Chef Mike: Ancho Mac recipe; "2 Tblsp buttermilk" ----- can I use 2 Tblsp buttermilk powder or does it have to be liquid buttermilk? ( I tblsp powder makes half cup of liquid buttermilk) I am ready to try this but need clarification!!
    • May 5, 2022
      Hi Frances. Please email Chef Mike at We want to be sure you get the fastest response possible so this is the way to do it! Thank you!
  3. September 19, 2022
    The ingredients and text description above are missing the step (which is in the video) about making a roux to which the cream is added.
    • September 19, 2022
      Thank you for letting us know! If you need further clarification, Chef Mike can be reached at

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