Make Taco Tuesday unforgettable with this inspirational twist. Taco Mac and Cheese made with Rotel. It's spicy, cheesy, comforting, and oh so delicious. Did I mention you only need 5 ingredients?
Boxed mac and cheese is nostalgic and delicious already, but add in some taco meat, diced tomatoes and chiles, and you have a new dish that everyone can enjoy.
We especially love our taco mac and cheese topped with sour cream. Add a little sliced lettuce or shredded cheese, and you're in for a real treat. This recipe is similar to my Cheeseburger Macaroni Skillet, but with a taco flavor profile and some convenience from the boxed mac and cheese.
🍯 Why This Recipe Works
- It's easy to make. This one pot recipe is perfect for anyone to make. Boil pasta, drain, cook ground beef, drain, and mix everything together. We've added it to our list of Lazy Sunday Dinner Ideas.
- It's a unique twist. It's like a taco pasta casserole, and it's one that we're adding to our menu more often. It's so much fun and so versatile too. Even the leftovers are incredible! Side note: I recommend trying the leftovers as a Mac and Cheese Quesadilla (it's SO good!)
- It's frugal. Coming in at less tha $10, this recipe is affordable for any meal plan on a tight budget. Less than $1 per serving and plenty of leftovers for the following day.
Taco seasoning- You will need a packet of taco seasoning mix, or you can make your own taco seasoning instead.
Rotel- Use a can of Rotel tomatoes and chiles (or similar). Do not drain the can before use, as we want the liquid inside and all the flavor and spice that comes with it.
Boxed mac and cheese- Use your favorite box of mac and cheese for this recipe. I like Walmart or Aldi store brands, but Kraft and other brands work fine too.
Milk- Adding in a little bit of milk helps to moisten the pasta mixture and gives it a slightly creamier consistency. This is a completely optional ingredient and can be omitted if desired.
For specific ingredients and measurements, please see the recipe card below.
Ground beef. You can swap out the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken, depending on which you'd prefer.
🥣 Recipe Add-Ins
"Bulk" up your recipe by adding in some canned (drained and rinsed) black beans or whole kernel corn. This is a cheap option for Stretching Meat, and it can easily give you another 2-3 servings per recipe.
🔪 Instructions for Taco Mac and Cheese
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the dry pasta. Cook for several minutes until al dente and then drain. Return the empty pot to the stove.
Step 2: Add the ground beef to the empty pot.
Step 3: Cook until well browned, breaking up any large pieces as you go. Drain the grease.
Step 4: Add in a can of Rotel and the taco seasoning.
Step 5: Mix well to combine.
Step 6: Add in the powdered cheese from the boxed macaroni.
Step 7: Stir well to combine. Add in a little milk if needed.
Step 8: Stir in the cooked pasta that you had set aside.
Serve warm and top with sour cream (if desired).
🍴 Recipe Tips
You will need the pasta and cheese packets from inside of the boxed macaroni, but you will not be following the ingredients and instructions on the package.
Leaving the Rotel liquid in the recipe is what will help the taco seasoning in the mac and cheese to dissolve and adhere to the other ingredients. You can omit the liquid and just use ⅓ cup of milk instead, if desired. This will reduce the heat if you don't want your meal too spicy.
You can adjust the heat in this recipe by using mild or hot Rotel mixtures.
Reheat a single serving at a time on a microwave safe plate for 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
More servings can be reheated in a covered pot on the stove with a little added liquid over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent burning and cook until warmed through.
⏲️ Make Ahead Instructions
This recipe works great as a "prep now, eat later" type of meal. I like to prep it in the afternoons, around lunchtime, and keep it in the fridge until dinner, but it can just as easily be prepped a day or two in advance.
You can keep any uneaten mac and cheese stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Alternatively, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and reheat the next day before serving.
💭 Recipe FAQs
A "one pot meal" is the term given to recipes that are cooked in one pot or pan. A sheet pan meal is also an example of this. The goal is to limit the amount of dishes used in cooking by simplifying the recipe to only use "one pot" and a few prep tools.
Yes, you can. Follow the recipe but use cooked shredded chicken instead, or small diced chicken. Cook the chicken until 165 degrees F. If the chicken is precooked, just add the Rotel, seasoning, and chicken to the pot at the same time. This is a great way to use up leftover Crockpot Chicken with Enchilada Sauce.
Absolutely! I especially love the thick and creamy macaroni pasta shells from Walmart, but you can use any noodle shape mac and cheese desired. Note that character shaped pasta may not hold up well.
❤️ More Delicious Pasta Recipes
If you tried this Taco Mac and Cheese with Rotel, please leave a ⭐️ star rating and share your feedback in the 📝 comments section below. I would truly appreciate it!
Taco Mac and Cheese (with Rotel)
- 1 pound Ground beef ($4.22)
- 1 packet Taco Seasoning Mix ($0.88)
- 1 can (10oz) Rotel, undrained ($1.36)
- 2 boxes Macaroni and cheese, like Kraft ($1.16)
- ⅓ cup Milk *optional (0.07)
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and add in the dry pasta. Cook for several minutes until al dente and then drain. Return the empty pot to the stove.
- Add the ground beef to the empty pot.
- Cook until well browned, breaking up any large pieces as you go. Drain the grease.
- Add in a can of Rotel and the taco seasoning.
- Mix well to combine.
- Add in the powdered cheese from the boxed macaroni.
- Stir well to combine. Add in a little milk if needed.
- Stir in the cooked pasta that you had set aside.
- Serve warm and top with sour cream (if desired). Enjoy!