Firecracker Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese is a homemade copycat version of a popular restaurant dish, but its been lightened up and simplified. Crispy breaded baked shrimp that has been marinated in your favorite hot sauce is scattered over creamy homemade macaroni and cheese for easy and filling comfort food at its best.

Firecracker Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese does an awful lot of talking.This meal packed such a punch I was rendered a little bit speechless.



  • 1 pound raw, peeled & deveined shrimp, tails off
  • 1 cup Texas Pete
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta (I used cavatappi)
  • 1 cup cold milk (I used lowfat milk)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¾ cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I used lowfat cheese)
  • 2 chopped green onions for garnish 


  1. At least 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, pour the Texas Pete over the shrimp in a medium sized bowl, cover, and place in the fridge to marinate. The longer the shrimp sits in the sauce, the spicier it will be.
  2. Combine the panko bread crumbs, crushed red pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and kosher salt in a food processor OR cut the ingredients together with a knife.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  4. Dredge the marinated shrimp in the bread crumb mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes (shrimp will be pink, breading will be crisp).
  6. While the shrimp cooks, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  7. Whisk the cornstarch into the cold milk and then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat stirring constantly and melt the butter in the liquid. Stir in the cheese, keep stirring until it’s all melted into a happy sauce.
  8. Pour over the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Cover the macaroni & cheese with the crispy cooked shrimp and garnish with the green onions.