Looking for a great weeknight meal that’s ready in less than 30 minutes? You’ve got to try this easy and cheesy Taco Mac and Cheese recipe!
My family loves macaroni and cheese. They also love taco night. Why not combine the two into a delicious and filling meal that comes together quickly?
This is also one of those great recipes that is easy to make little substitutions and additions so that it is perfect for your family and never gets boring. You can add extra taco toppings, switch up the cheese choices, and more.
Scroll down to read more about how it all comes together or click here to jump straight down to the recipe.
Video: Making Taco Mac And Cheese
What Is Taco Mac And Cheese?
Taco mac n cheese is all about adding taco flavors to your pasta. We’re doing that by adding both taco seasoning (store-bought or homemade taco seasoning) and salsa.
There’s also lots of Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and green onions. You can add other favorite taco toppings as well, like avocado, black olives, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and more. You can even top your dish with crushed tortilla chips for an added crunch.
Actually, years ago when my kids didn’t both like tomatoes or green onion, I didn’t stir those in, and instead I put all the toppings out on the table, buffet-style, so that everyone could add what they wanted to their own. It was always a hit.
How To Make Taco Macaroni And Cheese
First, get the macaroni noodles cooking in a large pot according to the package instructions.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the beef and spread it out. Cook ground beef undisturbed until browned underneath, 3-4 minutes, before stirring it up. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through fully, another 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the taco seasoning and then the broth. Once those are mixed in, add the salsa and stir again. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
Take the pan off of the heat. Stir in the heavy cream. Then add the shredded cheese and keep stirring until the cheese is fully melted, about 1 minute more.
Remove from heat. Stir in the tomatoes and green onion and serve with any additional taco toppings that you would like.
Ground turkey or ground chicken can be used to make variations of this dish but avoid ground turkey breast as it’s too dry.
If you don’t have taco seasoning and don’t want to make it, use 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
You can use 1/2 cup from a can of Rotel instead of the salsa, or 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes.
Instead of the heavy cream, you can use whole milk or canned evaporated milk (fat-free, 2% or whole milk versions all work). Just note that sometimes dairy and tomatoes can curdle together. The higher fat content of cream usually prevents the curdling. If using anything else, and even if using the cream, make sure you take it off the heat before adding it, and don’t bring it back up to a simmer after adding it.
Other cheeses also work great in this. You just need something that melts. Shredded mozzarella and Monterey jack are both good choices for this recipe or try a Mexican cheese blend.
Shortcut Taco Mac
If you want all the delicious flavors of the taco mac n cheese recipe, but need to keep things simpler, here’s what to do. Make an even easier Taco Mac by preparing two boxes of Kraft Mac n’ Cheese. To that, add your cooked ground beef with taco seasoning and Rotel or salsa. Stir and enjoy!
More Macaroni And Cheese Recipes
Need more deliciously cheesy recipes? We’ve got you covered.
- Velveeta Mac n Cheese Recipe
- No-Boil Macaroni and Cheese
- Lobster Mac and Cheese
- The Creamiest Mac and Cheese
- Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese
Podcast Episode: Making Taco Mac n Cheese
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this recipe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 12 oz. elbow macaroni
- 1.3 lbs. lean ground beef
- 2 Tbsp. taco seasoning
- 1/2 cup beef broth or water
- 1/2 cup salsa
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and spread it out. Allow to cook undisturbed until browning underneath, 3-4 minutes. Flip and stir. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through fully, another 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the taco seasoning and then stir in the broth. Once mixed in, add the salsa and stir. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, 2-3 minutes.
- Take off of the heat. Stir in the cream. Stir in the cheese and keep stirring until the cheese is fully melted, about 1 minute.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to coat.
- Stir in the tomatoes and green onion and serve.
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