This one-pot taco mac and cheese is super creamy, loaded with ground beef, flavored with taco seasoning, and crazy cheesy! This pasta will have everyone running to the dinner table.
Hearty comfort food that’s easy for the cook to put together and incredibly family-friendly. Taco Tuesday has a new kid in the lineup!
Let’s make this!
One Pot Taco Mac And Cheese Ingredients
- Oil: I use a neutral-flavored vegetable oil.
- Onion: You can use either a yellow onion or a white onion.
- Garlic: I always use fresh garlic for the best flavor, not the stuff that comes pre-minced in a jar. It’s preserved and, IMHO, has a funky flavor.
- Chiles: Be sure to grab the can of green chiles that comes already diced to save some prep time. I personally find these peppers to be fairly mild and they add a great chile flavor to the dish.
- Taco Seasoning: Again, for convenience, I buy an envelope of taco seasoning at the market.
- Oregano: The only flavor I think is missing in taco seasoning, so I add it.
- Ground Beef: I like the flavor of 80/20 ground beef. Feel free to use a lower-fat version if that’s your preference.
- Beef Broth: I use low sodium so that I can control the overall amount of salt in the dish.
- Tomato Sauce: Use plain tomato sauce, not the flavored varieties.
- Pasta: I use elbow pasta because the hollow shape allows the sauce to nestle inside each noodle. Any short pasta with ridges will work, though. Be sure to keep the same ratio of noodles to the sauce if you’re adjusting the recipe. You want to be sure the pasta has enough liquid to cook properly. Only use 8 ounces of pasta.
- Cheese: This dish is loaded with ooey-gooey cheesy goodness! I like the flavor of jack cheese combined with sharp cheddar. If you like things spicier, use pepper jack instead of plain jack.
- Cream: I use heavy cream to give the sauce its thick velvety consistency.
Since this one pot taco mac is such a popular dish with my kids, I like to serve some kid-friendly veggies to this dish to complete the meal. Believe it or not, my roasted broccoli has always been a favorite with my kids, nieces, and nephews. The kids also love brown sugar glazed carrots, carrot salad, and Arkansas green beans.
Dessert is always a hit with my non-alcoholic margarita cake, Atlantic Beach pie, pineapple delight, or classic pineapple upside down cake. All of them are brimming with bright citrus flavors that go marvelously with taco flavors!
How to Make Taco Mac and Cheese
- Saute onions and garlic.
- Stir in chiles, taco seasoning, and oregano.
- Cook the ground beef.
- Add the beef broth and tomato sauce.
- Stir in and cook the pasta.
- Turn the heat on low, add jack cheese and heavy cream.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and add the remaining cheese.
- Cover pot with lid and let sit until cheese melts.
- Add toppings and serve.
***See the full instructions below.
- Meat: Change it up as you like! This is also delicious made with ground chicken or ground turkey!
- Spice It Up: Switch out the Ortega chiles with canned or fresh jalapenos, use spicy taco seasoning, or add hot sauce along with the tomato sauce, to taste.
- Add Veggies: If you want to increase the nutritive value just add veggies. Try thawed and drained frozen corn, chopped broccoli, or cubed and roasted zucchini all work nicely in this dish.
Storing + Freezing + Make-Ahead
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? This ground beef taco mac and cheese will last for 3-4 days, according to Still Tasty.
- Can You Freeze This? Most chefs agree that freezing pasta can lead to soggy noodles when they’re reheated. If you decide to go this route, undercook the elbow macaroni. Try cooking the noodles for just 5 minutes. They will finish cooking when you thaw the chili mac and cheese.
- Another option is to freeze the meat sauce by itself and add the noodles and cheese after you’ve defrosted it. If you’re making this recipe as part of your meal prep, either method will work to ensure that your chili mac comes out delicious every time.
- Make-Ahead Tips: If you’re short on time and would like to make this in advance, you can brown the meat and make the sauce ahead of time. Cook the noodles in the sauce right before you’re ready to serve your chili mac recipe.
- Cooking the noodles too far in advance could lead to them getting mushy when you reheat them. Don’t forget to add the cheese – it brings the dish together.
- Food Safety: Here’s an article you might want to check out.
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More Amazing Mac and Cheese Recipes
- Paula Deen Mac and Cheese
- Popeyes Mac And Cheese
- Green Chile Mac And Cheese
- Baked Macaroni And Cheese
- Chick Fil A Mac And Cheese
- Pioneer Woman Mac And Cheese
- Five Cheese Ziti Al Forno
Taco Mac And Cheese
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (4-ounce) can Ortega mild diced green chiles
- 1 (1.25-ounce) envelope taco seasoning
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 8 ounces elbow pasta
- 2 cups Jack cheese -divided shredded
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- green onions, thinly sliced
- tomatoes, seeded and diced
- sliced black olives
- In a large pot, add oil (2 tablespoons) and heat until it's shimmering. Add onion (1 cup), and sauté over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add garlic (4 cloves) and continue to cook until fragrant, stirring so the garlic doesn't burn for about 1 minute.
- Stir in Ortega chiles (1 can), taco seasoning (1 envelope), and oregano (2 teaspoons).
- Add the ground beef (1 pound) and brown lightly, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until there is no pink in the meat.
- Add the beef broth (2 cups), and tomato sauce (1 -15-ounce can) to the skillet and stir to mix.
- Stir in the pasta (8 ounces) and cover, increasing the heat to medium-high. Cook the mixture, stirring often and adjusting the heat to maintain a vigorous simmer (not a boil). Continue to cook until the pasta is tender, about 9-12 minutes.
- Turn the heat to low and add 1 1/2 cups of jack cheese and heavy cream (2/3 cup), stirring constantly until cheese is melted. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Remove the pot from the heat, then sprinkle top the pot with the remaining 1/2 cup jack cheese and 1 cup of cheddar. Cover pot with lid and let sit until cheese melts. Sprinkle with green onions and chopped tomatoes. Top as desired and Serve.
Fans Also Made:
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