Mexican Mac and Cheese is a deliciously cheesy casserole filled with ground beef plus spicy Mexican flavors, pasta, and lots of cheese.
I originally shared this recipe in 2014. I've recently updated this post with additional information, including a recipe card complete with nutritional information, but the recipe itself as well as the photos, have remained unchanged.
**Please Note - The printable recipe card with detailed instructions, complete ingredient measurements, and nutritional information for making Mexican rigatoni with ground beef and cheese is available at the end of this post. OR you can hit the "jump to recipe" button (found above) to be taken directly to the recipe.
The ingredient list:
**Note - The following lists of ingredients plus kitchen tools and equipment contain affiliate links (highlighted in blue) for your consideration and shopping convenience. #CommissionsEarned
- dried pasta (your favorite variety)
- ground beef
- red onion
- fiesta (Mexican) canned corn
- canned black beans
- canned fire-roasted chiles
- Picante sauce
- chili powder
- roasted ground cumin or ground cumin
- ground coriander
- Mexican cheese or cheddar cheese (shredded)
- salt and pepper
- chopped scallions
Kitchen tools and equipment:
- large skillet
- pasta pot or large stockpot with a colander
- slotted spatula
- measuring cups and spoons
- can opener
- cheese grater
- cooking spray
- 9 x 13 casserole dish
- kitchen timer
How this recipe came to be:
What I wrote back in 2014:
I can never seem to follow a recipe without changing things up.
Usually a lot!
In fact, by the time I get through with all my additions and subtractions, most of the dishes I end up serving aren't anything like the recipe I started to make.
Take this Mexican Rigatoni for example...
But, as you can tell from all my cat scratching, I changed almost everything up...except the rigatoni. I love me some rigatoni! LOL!
Why this recipe works:
Mexican mac and cheese is loaded with big, bold Mexican flavors and some really nice textures.
The ingredients are probably some you already have in your freezer and pantry so it's easy to whip together on any given weeknight.
This Tex-Mex casserole feeds a big group, and/or it freezes beautifully should you have leftovers.
Don't you just love a recipe where you can get so much bang from your grocery store buck?!
What adjustments be made to this recipe?
If you're a regular visitor to my Kudos Kitchen then you know that I like to "cook big" because we enjoy the leftovers.
However, if you don't want or need to make enough Mexican pasta to feed a small army, simply cut all the ingredient quantities in half, and then carry on as the recipe states. Just make sure to use a smaller casserole dish.
Also, because this is a pantry-friendly recipe, feel free to swap out whatever kind of dried pasta you have on hand or that is your favorite.
If you're detail-oriented, you'll notice two different kinds of pasta in the photos for this recipe. Every time I make this recipe it seems I use a different pasta.
Trust me, this dish will taste delicious no matter what shape pasta you use.
Can this Mexican pasta casserole be made in advance?
By all means, if needed save time by preparing this casserole ahead of time, and store it in the refrigerator (covered) for up to 2 days before baking.
If refrigerating first, bake the casserole (covered) for 45-50 minutes at 350-degrees until hot.
How to freeze this Mexican casserole after baking:
Cool it completely before storing in an air-tight freezer container.
This Mexican mac and cheese can be frozen for up to 4 months.
To reheat after freezing, thaw completely, cover with foil, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 30 minutes.
OR reheat from frozen by covering with foil, and baking in a preheated 350-degree oven for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Add more shredded cheese and chopped scallions before serving, if desired.
Heating in a microwave can also be done. Cover the container with plastic wrap and heat on medium/high power (stirring occasionally) until hot. Add additional shredded cheese and chopped green onions before serving, if desired.
The step-by-step photo instructions:
- Add the drained beans, corn, and fire-roasted chiles to the browned ground beef and onions.
- Stir in the Picante sauce, pasta water, and seasonings.
- Pour the ground beef mixture over the cooked pasta and stir to combine.
- Spoon the Mexican macaroni and cheese into a 9 x 13 baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray, and sprinkle shredded cheese over the top.
- Bake in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes.
- Top with chopped green onions, and serve hot.
Dinner is served! Dig in 🙂
Additional Tex-Mex inspired recipes:
*Chili Mac with a Corn Bread Crust (shown below and featured in the video)
Chili Mac with cornbread crust is a quick and instant chili mac upgrade. It’s easy to make, budget-friendly, delicious, and freezes beautifully too!
*Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (not shown)
When you want to spice up your dinner options, but still want something healthy and quick, this recipe for Tex-Mex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Ground Beef & Beans may be just the thing you’re looking for!
*Lime Marinated Mexican Pork Tacos (shown below)
Taco Tuesday just got an upgrade! These Lime Marinated Mexican Pork Tenderloin Tacos don’t take much longer to make than a standard ground beef taco, but the flavor is far superior.
*Mexican Street Corn Risotto (not shown)
If you love Mexican street corn (and who doesn’t), it’s time to think outside the husk with this Mexican Street Corn Risotto.
*Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole (shown below) THIS IS THE PLACE!!
Below is the printable recipe card along with the exact ingredient measurements and nutritional information for making today's Mexican mac and cheese casserole with ground beef.
When you make this recipe, and I hope you do, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a moment to leave a star rating on the recipe card and briefly comment on why you rated it as you did. FYI - Google appreciates recipe ratings and, in turn, will share my recipes with more people. Thank you so much!!
Printable Recipe Card
Mexican Mac and Cheese Casserole
- 1 box (14-16 ounces) pasta cooked and drained (saving 1 cup cooking water)
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 medium red onion chopped
- 1 can (15 ounces) fiesta corn
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can (4 ounces) fire-roasted chiles
- 1 jar (16 ounces) Picante sauce
- 1 cup pasta cooking water
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons roasted cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
- -Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- -In a large stockpot or pasta pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions, but cook it 3 minutes less than the package directions because it will finish cooking in the oven. Drain and keep warm, but reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- -While the pasta is cooking, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium/high heat. While some of the ground beef is still pink, stir in the onion, salt, and pepper and continue cooking until all the meat is no longer pink and the onions are softened.
- -Add the fiesta corn, fire-roasted chiles, and black beans into the cooked beef mixture. Stir in the Picante sauce, pasta water, chili powder, cumin, and coriander.
- -Pour the ground beef mixture into the drained pasta and stir well to combine.
- -Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and layer half of the beef/pasta mixture into the dish.
- -Sprinkle 1 cup of the cheese over the beef/pasta mixture.
- -Add another layer of the beef and pasta mixture and another layer of the cheese to finish.
- -Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese melted.
I sincerely hope you've enjoyed today's Tex-Mex inspired mac and cheese casserole dish as much as I've enjoyed bringing it to you!