Taco Mac and Cheese

Mike tried this recipe on March 26, 2023

This one seems like a winner… but only after making some changes. The original recipe as published has a lot going for it – plenty of beef and everyone’s favorite melty cheese, Velveeta. But, it listed chunky salsa and chili powder as the only seasonings, so the result was… rather bland, not even approaching the taste of a taco. So in one of those rare moves here on this site, I’m going to provide two versions of this recipe – the one that was originally published, and an alternative that should be more flavorful than the original. You get to choose which one you favor most.

Adapted from KraftHeinz Foods

Taco Mac and Cheese

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 5 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 25 mins
Servings: 6
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


This recipe has a lot of promise... if you spice it up. Two versions are presented - the original as published and a modified version that gives this a spicier kick.

Adapted from KraftHeinz Foods


Original Version (as published)

Modified Version


  1. In a large skillet or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking it into crumbles as it cooks. Drain off excess grease.

  2. (Original version) Add water, salsa, and chili powder to the meat and bring to a boil.

    (Modified version) Add water, salsa, and taco seasoning packet to the meat and bring to a boil.

  3. Add macaroni and mix thoroughly, Reduce heat to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add Velveeta and mix until melted and the cheese is evenly blended. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size about 1 1/2 cups

Servings 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 461kcal
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 21.7g34%
Saturated Fat 10.8g54%
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 1422mg60%
Potassium 391mg12%
Total Carbohydrate 31.3g11%
Dietary Fiber 0.9g4%
Sugars 5.4g
Protein 35.3g71%

Calcium 325 mg
Iron 3 mg

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


  • The original version is very bland, even when using a medium salsa.
  • To make the dish spicier, start with the modified version and use a hot salsa and/or hot taco seasoning, or serve with hot salsa on the side.
  • The recipe uses original Velveeta cheese, but any version can be substituted such as Mexican, Queso Blanco, or 2% Milk.
  • The nutritional information chart is for the modified version. Nutritional information for the original version is provided below:
    • Calories: 392
    • Total Fat: 17.7g
      • Saturated Fat: 8.4g
    • Cholesterol: 94mg
    • Sodium: 720mg
    • Total Carbohydrate: 26.2g
      • Dietary Fiber: 1.1g
      • Total Sugars: 3.9g
    • Protein: 32g


Keywords: taco, cheese, beef, Velveeta, macaroni, mac and cheese
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