Need an easy dinner idea that everyone will love? This simple, delicious Taco Mac and Cheese is perfect for any night of the week. Made with a homemade cheese sauce, seasoned ground beef and tender shell pasta, this taco mac recipe is a crowd-pleaser!
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Could you use a new ground beef dinner recipe? This creamy, delicious taco mac and cheese is a great option that everyone in the family will love. It combines everyone’s favorite dishes – tacos and mac & cheese into one easy, skillet dinner.
Made in under 30 minutes, this taco mac recipe is an easy weeknight dinner option. It uses ingredients that you likely already have in your fridge and pantry and comes together in short, simple steps.
What ingredients are needed for taco mac and cheese?
- Ground Beef
- Taco Seasoning – my Homemade Taco Seasoning is a great option for this recipe!
- 2 (10 oz.) cans, Rotel
- Medium Shell Pasta
- Beef Broth
- Shredded Cheese – feel free to use a combination, like Cheddar and Monterrey Jack Cheeses
- Cilantro, for garnish if desired
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to reference the recipe card at the bottom of this post. Thanks!
How do I make homemade taco mac and cheese?
- First, start by browning the ground beef. Once browned, drain off any excess grease. Add the taco seasoning and cans of Rotel, with the juices. Stir together well and bring to a simmer. Transfer the seasoned meat to a bowl and cover to keep warm. Rinse out your skillet to make the cheese sauce.
- Begin bringing water to a boil in a large stock pot. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, make the cheese sauce. In the same large skillet, make a roux using the butter and flour. Melt the butter, and add the flour, whisking together over medium heat to cook the flour. Add in the milk and whisk together over medium heat. It will begin to thicken, then add the beef broth. Continue to whisk until thickened. Add in the shredded cheese and stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce.
- To the cheese sauce, add the drained and cooked pasta and seasoned ground beef. Stir together until all ingredients are coated in the cheese sauce. Enjoy!
Ingredient Substitutions and Recommendations:
- Pasta – I used medium shell pasta, however you can use any medium-sized pasta. Popular choices would be elbow macaroni or rotini.
- Milk – for the cheese sauce, I used 2 cups of milk and 1 cup of beef broth. If you prefer, you can use 3 cups of milk and omit the broth, making a creamier sauce. Whole milk is ideal and will render a creamier sauce, but 2% or skim can also be used. I have not tested this recipe with plant-based milks.
- Cheeses – Shredded sharp cheddar and Monterrey jack are great choices for this taco mac recipe. You can use a combination (1/2 cheddar, 1/2 jack). Another option would be a shredded Mexican blend of cheeses.
Love a great pasta dinner recipe? Check out these other simple dinner options using pasta:
- Cheeseburger Macaroni
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta
- Skillet Lasagna Recipe – also made with ground beef!
- One Pot Cheesy Italian Goulash
- Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo
- Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken – served with spaghetti
- Healthy Chicken Sausage Pasta
- Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
What can I top my taco mac and cheese with?
This taco mac recipe is perfect for topping with any of your favorite taco toppings. Here are some options:
- Fresh Cilantro
- Shredded Cheese
- Crushed tortilla chips
- Shredded Lettuce
- Sliced Avocados
- Sliced Jalapenos
- Sour Cream
- Homemade Taco Sauce
- Classic Pico de Gallo Salsa
- Loaded Guacamole
- Check out my tutorial for How to Make Salsa at Food.com
What can I serve with taco mac and cheese?
Here are some sides that would go well with this taco mac recipe:
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad
- Aunt Denise’s Southwestern Corn Salsa – great as a side dish or salad!
- Watermelon Cucumber Salad
- Pineapple Mango Salsa
- Mexican Street Corn Salad at Jo Cooks
If you loved this taco mac and cheese recipe, check out some of our other Taco inspired recipes:
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 3 Tbsp. taco seasoning
- 12 oz. (about 3/4 box) medium shell pasta
- 2 (10 oz.) cans, diced tomatoes and chilies, like Rotel
- 1/4 c. water
- 6 Tbsp. butter
- 6 Tbps. flour
- 2 c. milk
- 1 c. beef broth
- 2 c. shredded cheese, like sharp cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese
- Cilantro for topping, if desired
- In a large stock pot, bring generously salted water to a boil. Cook pasta al dente, according to package directions. (Al dente is one minute less than regular cooking time.)
- While water for pasta is coming to a boil and pasta cooks, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain off any excess fat. Add the taco seasoning, 1/4 c. water and 2 cans of Rotel, with the juice. Stir together and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 1-2 minutes. Remove meat from skillet and transfer to a bowl. Cover to keep warm. Rinse out skillet.
- In the same skillet, begin making the cheese sauce. Over medium heat melt the butter. Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk together until mixture begins to bubble and cook. Reduce heat to med-low and pour in the milk, and continue to whisk. Mixture will begin to thicken, then add in the broth. Continue to whisk as mixture thickens again. Add in the shredded cheese, and stir until cheese melts into the sauce.
- To the cheese sauce, add in the cooked pasta and seasoned ground beef mixture. Stir together all ingredients to coat in the cheese sauce.
- Serve and enjoy.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container. Refrigerated, leftovers will keep for up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 497Total Fat: 23.5gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 113mgSodium: 957mgCarbohydrates: 43.5gNet Carbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 28g