Home » Main Dish » Taco Mac

Taco Mac

This recipe for Taco Mac is a kicked up macaroni and cheese recipe that’s family friendly and packed with vibrant colors. Serve it topped with a dollop of sour cream, cherry tomatoes and jalapenos or fresh pico de gallo for a one dish meal.


Easy Taco Mac Recipe

This Taco Mac recipe combines cooked macaroni smothered with a homemade sauce and then combined with seasoned taco meat for the ultimate fusion dish. To make it, while the macaroni cooks, brown the ground beef with peppers and onion. Drain the fat from the skillet then add the seasonings per the recipe. The homemade white sauce begins with a butter and flour roux that’s whisked with milk, reserving the cheese until it’s combined with the remaining ingredients. I like to drain the macaroni, then use the pot as a mixing bowl to combine the pasta, taco seasoned ground beef, sauce and shredded cheese. Transfer to a baking dish, top with more cheese then bake until bubbly and golden.


How to Make the Best Taco Mac Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Taco Mac: 12 ounces elbow macaroni, ground beef, diced onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper, taco sauce, taco seasoning, shredded colby jack cheese, butter, all purpose flour, salt, whole milk, diced tomato or cherry tomatoes, sour cream, jalapeno slices and cilantro for serving.
  • Kitchen gadgets you’ll need: A large skillet or pot, a pasta cooker, heavy bottomed saucepan to make the sauce, cheese grater, sharp knife and cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, a large rubber spatula or spoon for stirring.
  • You can use ground chicken, chorizo sausage or ground turkey in this recipe in place of ground beef in the same amount.
  • This recipe features a homemade sauce that’s made much like macaroni and cheese. I prefer to add the cheese to the entire dish rather than melting it into the cooked sauce like you would when making a cheese sauce. Trust me on this, the cheese melds beautifully with the entire dish and not just the sauce.
  • You can adapt this Taco Mac using any kind of shredded cheese that you enjoy or have on hand. If you’re one to buy pre-shredded cheese any Mexican cheese blend will work.
  • You an use lighter dairy for this dish. Light cheese, light butter and 2% milk.
  • To save time, the ground beef mixture can easily be made one day in advance and chilled until mixing together with the pasta and homemade sauce.
  • You can also prepare the entire dish one day in advance and chill it until you’re ready to bake it. Allow 15 minutes on the counter prior to baking to warm to room temperature. Increase the baking time 5-10 minutes, if needed.
  • How do you serve Taco Mac? I like to top it with sour cream, tomatoes and jalapenos. You can garnish it with your favorite taco toppings adding in a dollop of homemade salsa verde, whip up a fresh batch of guacamole or pico de gallo.
  • Store leftover Taco Mac chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in single servings in the microwave.

More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes to Make




Helpful Kitchen Items:

Taco Mac

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican Inspired
Keyword: taco-mac, taco-mac-and-cheese
Servings: 8 servings (may vary)
Calories: 532kcal


  • 12 ounces dry elbow macaroni (about 3/4 of a one pound box))
  • olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion small diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno pepper (or poblano) seeded and diced
  • 1 cup taco sauce use mild/medium/hot (your preference)
  • 1 1.0 oz package Taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 cups shredded colby jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp garlic salt OR 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 medium green onions, thinly sliced for garnishing
  • sour cream, cherry or diced Roma tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro for serving


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush a 12 inch cast iron skillet with oil or spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • To Make the Macaroni: Cook macaroni in salted water per the package directions until al dente. Drain well.
  • To Make the Taco Beef: In a large pot or Dutch oven heat a couple of drizzles of olive oil. Add ground beef, onion, red pepper and jalapeno (or poblano) pepper. Cook over medium high heat until no pink remains in the beef.
  • Drain excess fat from pot and return to the stovetop. Next, add taco sauce, taco seasoning, lemon pepper, cumin to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat then add macaroni and remove from heat. (Use a large enough pot to double as the mixing bowl.)
  • To Make the Sauce: In a separate saucepan while ground beef cooks, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour whisking until fully absorbed. Gradually whisk in milk and garlic salt increasing heat to medium high. Bring to a gentle bubble then immediately lower heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  • Pour sauce into pot with macaroni and taco beef. Add 3 cups shredded cheese, mixing to combine. Pour mixture into baking dish and top with reserved 1 cup cheese.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
  • Serve garnished with green onions and topped with sour cream, diced tomatoes, jalapenos and cilantro, if desired.


  • You an use lighter dairy for this dish. Light cheese, light butter and 2% milk.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 532kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 1016mg | Potassium: 714mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1828IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 603mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating