Easy 30-Minute Taco Mac and Cheese — Super creamy, ultra cheesy, flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro!! EASY comfort food with a Mexican flair that’s a family FAVORITE!!
Taco Mac and Cheese Recipe
My daughter adores mac and cheese. And she adores Mexican food and tacos. This Mexican mac and cheese was the most perfect food marriage ever for her.
The taco mac and cheese is easy, ready in 30 minutes, super creamy, ultra cheesy, and is flavored with taco seasoning, black beans, green onions, tomatoes, and cilantro for a taco and Mexican-inspired twist on classic mac and cheese.
I used extra sharp cheddar because in this Mexican mac and cheese because it has the most flavor bang for the buck compared to regular cheddar and bonus, there’s no processed cheese in a block or powdered cheese in sight here.
Three of the four cups (about 12 of the 16 ounces) of cheese are stirred into the macaroni and the final cup is sprinkled on top and then I popped the skillet under the broiler for 2 minutes. You can skip broiling if you want and just stir all 4 cups of cheese into the macaroni mixture but I love the texture and flavor of baked or broiled cheese.
This is comfort food on a platter despite it being vegetarian. It’s the perfect recipe to make on hectic weeknights when you’re craving something warm and hearty.
What’s in Taco Mac and Cheese?
To make this skillet mac and cheese, you’ll need:
- Pasta shells
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cashew milk
- Taco seasoning
- Extra sharp cheddar cheese
- Black beans
- Green onions
- Roma tomatoes
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Taco Mac and Cheese
Cook the pasta according to package instructions, then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook the butter and flour together in a large skillet to make a roux.
Slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the taco seasoning. Add 3/4 of the cheese, then the cooked pasta, black beans, and green onions. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Pop the taco mac and cheese under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese to your liking. Sprinkle with diced tomatoes, more green onions, cilantro, and serve immediately!
Can I Freeze Mac and Cheese?
Yes! This quick mac and cheese makes a ridiculously big batch. One pound of pasta, one pound of cheese, 4 cups of milk, a can of beans, yep that’s a lot of food but you can freeze leftovers in single-serve portions and can pull them out and re-heat at a moment’s notice. I love planned leftovers.
What Goes with Mac and Cheese?
If you plan on serving this mac and cheese as a main dish, here’s what I recommend pairing with it:
- Mango Chickpea Salad
- Avocado Black Bean Salad
- Skinny Mexican Bean Salad with Corn
- Mexican Wedge Salad
And if you’re enjoying this Mexican mac and cheese as a side dish, here are some mains that would complement it:
Tips for Making Taco Mac and Cheese
Note that you must grate your cheddar rather than buying it pre-grated because cheese in bags is resistant to melting and you’ll end up with a mess.
I used unsweetened cashewmilk and it’s so irresistibly creamy and thick. You can use regular milk if that’s what you prefer but use 2% or whole and not skim because it’s too thin.
I used small shells but you can use medium shells, small elbow, rotini, bowtie, or your favorite.
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- 1 pound small-sized pasta shells, cooked according to package directions (medium shells, small elbow, rotini, bowtie, etc. may be substituted)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- scant 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups unsweetened cashewmilk (or the milk of your choice but something thicker like 2% or whole is recommended, do not use skim)
- one 1-ounce packet taco seasoning (I used medium heat, reduced sodium)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated (16 ounces or about 4 cups); divided*
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used no-salt added)
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, with 2 tablespoons reserved for garnishing
- 1 medium Roma tomato, diced small
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely minced
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set pasta aside.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- To a very large oven-safe skillet, add the butter and heat over medium-high heat to melt.
- Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown and has bubbled for about 2 minutes. Cook long enough to cook off the raw flour taste, but not so long it gets overly browned; you’re making a roux.
- Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, making sure to smooth out any possible clumps that formed.
- Add the taco seasoning, pepper, and whisk until smooth.
- Add 3 cups cheese (about 12 ounces) and whisk until melted and smooth.
- Add the pasta, black beans, green onions, and stir to combine and evenly coat.
- Evenly sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese over the top and place skillet under the broiler until the top layer of cheese has melted and is bubbling, about 1 to 2 minutes. If desired, allow cheese to brown slightly, or to taste. Keep a very careful eye on your skillet and the cheese because broilers can burn things in a matter of seconds.
- Evenly sprinkle with the tomatoes, reserved 2 tablespoons green onions, cilantro, and serve immediately.
- *Grate your own cheese because pre-grated cheese in bags doesn’t melt well.
- Recipe is best warm and fresh, but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4 months. Reheat very gently prior to serving leftovers so cheese doesn’t separate.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 647mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 6gSugar: 4gProtein: 18g
More Homemade Mac and Cheese Recipes:
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese — Classic mac and cheese the whole family will love! The creamy, cheesy comfort food you crave!! So much better than anything out of a box and just as easy!!
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – A perfect use for leftover macaroni! Bread it, bake it, devour it!
Easy 30-Minute Stovetop Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese — The pumpkin flavor is subtle compared to the super cheesy and creamy factor! The pumpkin boosts the cheesiness to a whole new level everyone loves!
One-Skillet Tex Mex Beef Mac & Cheese – An EASY recipe that’s made in ONE skillet so you don’t have to cook the pasta separately!! Loaded with ground beef, peppers, tomatoes, cheese, and cilantro! A family FAVORITE that feeds a crowd!!
20-Minute Stovetop White Cheddar Mac and Cheese – Almost as FAST and EASY as using a box but tastes a million times BETTER!! So creamy, ridiculously cheesy, and the extra sharp white cheddar cheese gives this mac and cheese so much FLAVOR!!