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This Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese recipe is a delicious comfort dish in a skillet that will make the whole family happy. Combining a classic mac and cheese with savory taco flavors is a recipe for happiness. 

Combined, this makes an easy and filling dinner that everybody will like. Give our tasty Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese a try tonight.

Completed beefy taco mac skillet.
This Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese is a great dinner that is easy to make.

🌮 What makes this recipe special?

Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? But here’s a twist: adding the bold flavors of taco seasoning and ground beef. It’s like a delightful union of two favorite dishes for a great dinner.

Imagine a creamy cheese sauce paired with spicy, savory taco beef. Then, for the cherry on top, crushed nacho chips add a delightful crunch.

This dish isn’t just food—it’s an experience. Every spoonful offers a burst of flavor and it’s so easy to whip up. This fusion promises a comforting yet unique treat. Give your regular mac and cheese a taco twist with this recipe.

If you are looking for other macaroni and cheese recipes, consider the following. Check out our traditional mac and cheese recipe, or take a look at our exploration of the history of Macaroni and Cheese. Or give this potluck pleaser, Rancharoni Macaroni, a try. No matter what you make, make sure to treat yourself.

🧀 Ingredients

Macaroni? Sure. Cheese? Yup. You will need a bit more and here is a list:

  • Ground Beef
  • Taco seasoning
  • Macaroni
  • Salted butter
  • Whole milk
  • All-purpose flour
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Nacho chips

See the recipe card for quantities.

🍲 Instructions

First up, cook your beef with taco seasoning in a skillet. While it’s browning, get your macaroni boiling in another pot. Two tasks, one goal: deliciousness.

Next, while ground beef is cooking, in a large saucepan, melt your butter. Slowly sprinkle in flour over the butter and then the milk. Stir until it thickens, then blend in that glorious cheese.

Finally, mix the creamy cheese sauce and macaroni into the skillet with the beef. Top it off with crunchy nacho chips and serve. Simple steps to a meal everyone will love!

Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese in a red cast iron skillet.
Give this Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese a try today!

🤷 Substitutions and variations

Don’t have 80/20 ground beef on hand? No worries. You can use ground turkey or chicken for a lighter touch. They offer a unique taste while keeping things delicious.

Cheddar not your cheese of choice? Switch it up. Swap in pepper jack for some spice or mozzarella for a smoother finish. Each cheese brings its own flair.

Want to spice it up some more? Add some jalapenos to the ground beef when you are cooking it. Or add a bit of cayenne to your mix. 

📦 Storage

After cooking, let your Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese cool down. Once it’s at room temperature, it’s time to store it away.

For short-term munching, pop it in an airtight container and stash it in the fridge. It’ll stay tasty for 3 to 4 days.

Planning to save some for later? This dish can be frozen! Just remember to place it in a freezer-safe container. When you’re ready to enjoy it again, thaw it overnight in the fridge and reheat it on the stove or in the microwave.

🎓 History tidbit

Mac and cheese have roots that go way back. Believe it or not, it’s been enjoyed since the days of ancient Rome! They had an early version of this creamy dish.

Tacos? They hail from Mexico, dating back hundreds of years. Made with local ingredients and wrapped in soft tortillas, I did write a whole article on the history of the taco.


What is Taco Mac?

Taco Mac is a delightful fusion of classic macaroni and cheese with the bold flavors of tacos. It incorporates ingredients like taco-seasoned meat, cheese, and sometimes toppings reminiscent of a taco.

Is Taco Mac kid-friendly?

Most kids love both tacos and mac & cheese, so combining the two can be a hit! If concerned about spice, simply opt for a milder taco seasoning.

Can I use a different type of pasta for Taco Mac?

Absolutely! While macaroni is traditional, you can experiment with other pasta shapes like penne, fusilli, or bowtie. The main idea is to have pasta that holds onto that tasty sauce well.

📝 Tips and tricks

  • Consider using our homemade taco seasoning recipe.
  •  I keep this as a skillet dish, but it could be modified to also add some extra cheese to the top and bake for a bit.
  •  I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe.
A serving of Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese on a white plate.
Serve up a scoop of this delicious family dinner tonight.

🛠 Products used in this recipe

😋 Did you make this recipe?

That is awesome, and thank you so much for giving this Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese recipe a try. If you could leave a rating in the comment area below, it would be greatly appreciated. This lets me know how I am doing and also helps others decide if they want to make this recipe. Most of all, thanks for visiting Ramshackle Pantry.

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Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese in my cast iron skillet

Beefy Taco Mac and Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Casserole
  • Method: Skillet
  • Cuisine: American
Save Recipe


This Beefy Taco Mac & Cheese recipe is going to delight your taste buds and bring you back to home cooking memories.


Units Scale
  • 1 pound 80/20 Ground Beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups dry macaroni
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sharp or extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup crushed nacho chips


  1. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning as directed on package in large skillet
  2. Set ground beef aside
  3. While ground beef is cooking, cook macaroni as directed on package
  4. Also while ground beef is cooking, in a large saucepan melt butter on low.
  5. When butter is fully melted, slowly start sprinkling flour in the pan and continuously mix. The idea is that the mixture of flour and butter will form almost a paste.
  6. Pour in just a little of the milk and whisk until smooth. Keep on repeating until all milk is blended in.
  7. Turn heat to medium-high and continuously stir. We want to get the sauce just to boiling and thicken.
  8. When the sauce starts to heat up, you will notice it start to thicken. Just continue to stir and once boiling, continue stirring for one minute.
  9. Remove from direct heat and slowly add 2 cups of the cheese to the bechamel while stirring.
  10. Once this is a smooth sauce, add cheese sauce and macaroni to large skillet with ground beef and mix.
  11. Serve and add crushed nacho chips to top.


  • Consider using out homemade taco seasoning recipe.
  • I keep this as a skillet dish, but it could be modified to also add some extra cheese to the top and bake for a bit.
  • I used a cast iron skillet for this recipe. 

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  1. Ben, you kill me! I would love to dig into this pan right now. Lucky me, that I found this recipe just in time for Friday night dinner snacking time with my husband. Great recipe!

  2. This is a great comfort food! I remember my mom making something like this as a kid and while it reminds me of hamburger helper, it is so much better!