Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese Review

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

We’re huge fans of a good frozen mac and cheese here at Freezer Meal Frenzy. Some of our favorite frozen meals of all time are macaroni dishes (like the Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese by Devour), and we’ll try new versions of this tasty meal whenever we can.

It’s a good thing, then, that Trader Joe’s has a surprisingly robust macaroni selection in their frozen food aisle. Today we’re going to dive into the Hatch Chile Mac and Cheese.

Now, we were surprised to see such a long cook time — five to six minutes — on a mac and cheese dish. We’d expect that from maybe a meat-filled lasagna, but usually not a mac and cheese. Of course, this thing contains a pretty huge helping, so that does justify a longer cook time.

According to the box, the thing that sets this meal apart is its inclusion of “roasted chiles from Hatch, New Mexico.” While we’re aware that the supremacy of the Hatch chile is a bit of an urban legend, we admire the tenacity of the folks at Trader Joe’s in sourcing their peppers to this particular city (if you believe the packaging, that is).

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

At first glance, you might think the chile content in this macaroni and cheese is an urban legend as well. Try spotting any in the picture above.

Well, we spent some time digging through all these cheesy noodles, and we did manage to find some of the legendary Hatch chile that the box speaks of. Of course, this certainly isn’t as much as you’d expect to find based on the picture on the box.

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese

But that’s actually okay here, because the chile taste permeates every bite. When you pull this out of the microwave after its long cook time, it’s the first thing you’ll smell. We’re not sure how they got so much chile pepper in here without us being able to actually see it, but perhaps that’s part of the legend of the Hatch chile.

The noodles are your traditional elbow-shaped pasta. It’s nothing super fun, like shells or spirals, but that’s perfectly okay here. Sometimes a traditional noodle is the perfect thing.

The cheese is a cheddar, and it’s sharp enough to complement the peppers pretty well. It’s scrape-the-bottom-and-sides-of-the-dish-worthy for sure. Overall, we found this dish to be quite tasty.

One thing we should warn you about is that there are supposedly two servings in this box. That means you’ll have to double the nutrition content if you eat the whole thing at once. So those 260 calories become 520 (180 from fat), which really knocks this out of the realm of the diet-friendly. That also puts the sodium content at 860 mg, to which we’ll just say, “Ouch.” Of course, as we mentioned above, the serving size is actually pretty large, so you could probably get away with splitting this with a friend or tucking some away in the fridge for the next day.

Trader Joe’s Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese is one of the better frozen macaronis we’ve tried. It packs a mysteriously potent — though not at all spicy — helping of Hatch chile peppers inside, and it’s just plain delicious all around.

To learn more about the ingredients or nutrition in this frozen mac and cheese dish, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Hatch Chile Mac & Cheese