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wooden spoon of taco macaroni held over skillet

One Pot Taco Macaroni with Ground Beef

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Taco Mac and Cheese is an easy, one-pan dinner the whole family will love. With a few simple ingredients like ground beef, taco seasoning, cheddar cheese, and just 30 minutes of cook time, this easy recipe is destined to be one of your family favorites!


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked elbow pasta
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • fresh chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large pan or skillet on medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks.
  2. Add the onion and cook until translucent (about 1-2 minutes).
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes, uncooked pasta, water, taco seasoning, salt, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper into the beef.
  4. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and continue simmering until pasta is tender and cooked through, stirring frequently (about 10-15 minutes).
  5. Sprinkle the top with cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro before serving.


  • Be sure to simmer while covered so the pasta cooks through.
  • If you use higher-fat ground beef, drain the meat after browning before continuing the recipe.
  • Omit the cayenne pepper to reduce the spiciness.
  • For extra cheesy pasta, stir in an extra 1/2 cup of cheese before simmering.
  • For even faster and even easier weeknight prep you can brown the meat ahead of time if you meal prep.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.

Keywords: taco macaroni

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