One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese

finished dish in gray bowl garnished with sour cream, salsa and cilantro

This One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese is warming, healthy and delicious! Spicy taco style beef, tons of veggies, cheese and pasta! One skillet meal goodness!

This recipe was originally published in January 2019 – I’ve since updated the photos and added some extra content! 

It’s no secret that I like, really love, one skillet meals. Why wouldn’t a person?! I mean, literally everything can be done in one skillet. Is there anyone out there who actually likes doing about one million dishes after cleaning each night? I know I don’t. So this meal concept was a no- brainer.

finished dish with melty cheese in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Not to mention, I do have several one skillet meals on my blog already that have provided wonderful inspiration such as this Sweet Potato Tater Tot Casserole, Healthy Turkey Homemade Sloppy Joes, Refried Bean Dip…and the list could go on!

But, I particularly love this Taco Chili Mac and Cheese! 

Why You’ll Love This Dish: 

Well, first off, like I said above – it’s made in ONE SKILLET. Say hello to barely washing any dishes and instead going to rewatch your favorite show for the 10th time (Hi, Psych!). 

Next, it’s loaded with a few of my favorite things: pasta, cheese and beans! 

I love how creamy this dish is. In a way, it reminded me of Hamburger Helper from when I was a kid…except a million times better. I love how the taco beef combines with the creaminess of the pasta. 

Everything works perfectly in this dish and each bite is balanced. Yes, the taco beef is slightly spicy due to the homemade spice blend you add BUT the addition of the starchy pasta balances it out.

straight on shot of wooden spoon full of cheesy finished dish

And speaking of pasta, the pasta just adds an extra “zing” to it. If it weren’t for the pasta, it would just be another normal taco chili. But adding it, really just amps it up, making the flavor extra delicious and adding nutrition to the dish itself!

It’s loaded with extra cheese and tons of different tomatoes and beans that you would find in chili. 

close up of cheesy garnished dish with wooden spoon inside the skillet.

And you get to garnish it however you want! I love adding chopped jalapenos, cilantro and lots of sour cream! 

So let’s get into exactly what you need for this meal.

Ingredients You Need: 

  • Ground beef 
  • Homemade taco seasoning 
  • Fresh garlic
  • Onion 
  • Bell pepper 
  • Jalapenos
  • Cheese
  • Beans
  • Fire Roasted Tomatoes + Rotel 
  • Pasta of your choice – although I really loved the corkscrew/cavatappi pasta! 

Best Tips for Making This Dish:

Get out a large saute pan. I used my Made In 4 quart one and it worked perfectly. Begin by doing the prep work to get it out of the way. I diced an entire yellow onion, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 bell pepper and deseeded and diced a jalapeno. Lots of veggies!

Next, I added some olive oil to the saute pan. Let it heat on medium heat until it gets hot. Add in your onion. Saute for 1-2 minutes and then add in your ground beef! Cook until completely cooked through (around 5-7 minutes) and then add in your garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno. Next, add in your homemade taco seasoning and mix to combine. Cook for 1-2 minutes, letting everything saute together.

cooked meat and veggies in the skillet with homemade taco seasoning.

Next, pop open and add your cans! Add two cans of fire roasted tomatoes, a can of kidney beans (or you could use black beans!), and a small can of rotel (aka tomatoes + green chiles). Do not drain any of these cans! Instead pour them (and all of their liquid) directly into the pan. Additionally, add one cup of water to the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning (add salt and pepper) if necessary.

Bring this to a boil. Then turn it down and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once finished simmering, add in your uncooked pasta and stir to combine until the pasta is submerged in the water. Let cook for about 5-7 additional minutes or until the pasta is al dente.

pasta un-cooked in skillet vs. pasta cooked

Once your pasta is done, add in ½ cup of cheese and stir it in. Next, top with another 1 cup of cheese. Place a lid on top of your skillet and let the cheese melt for about 3 minutes. Then you’re ready to serve! Delight in it’s taco chili mac and cheese goodness.

Recipe Variations: 

Feel free to use any type of bean. I think black beans would be amazing as well as pinto beans! I just used kidney because that’s what I had!

Omit the beef for a vegetarian dish! Still add the taco seasoning to the cooked veggies for the good flavor!

hand holding fork digging into the garnished bowl of finished dish.

Garnish with sour cream, cilantro, avocado or more jalapenos!

I hope y’all are a fan of one skillet meals as much as I am, specifically this One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese. It’s perfect for easy weeknights at home or to bring over to a friend’s for game night.

Did you enjoy this recipe? Here are a few others you might like: 

Easy Homemade Chili 

Chipotle Sweet Potato Chili 

Thank you so much for following along here, friends! Want to see more? Be sure to follow ourbalancedbowl on Instagram and tag me with your photo if you end up making a recipe! You can also post a photo of your recipe to the Our Balanced Bowl Facebook page! Like a recipe that you saw? Follow me on Pinterest here! I always love to see your re-creations! If you do make a recipe, it would make my whole day if you were to rate and comment so I can get your feedback! Lots of love! – Haylie

5 from 5 votes

One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese

This One Skillet Taco Chili Mac and Cheese is warming, healthy and delicious! Spicy taco style beef, tons of veggies, cheese and pasta! One skillet meal goodness!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword one skillet meal, taco chili, taco chili mac and cheese, taco mac and cheese
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Haylie


  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb grass fed ground beef
  • 1 jalapeno deseeded and diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 cups mexican shredded cheese
  • 1 8 oz. box cavatappi pasta (or similar)
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 15 oz. can light kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 10 oz. can of rotel, undrained

Homemade Taco Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika


  • sour cream, cilantro, jalapeno


  1. Begin by prepping your vegetables. Dice your onion, mince your garlic, dice your bell pepper, deseed and dice your jalapeno. Set aside. In a large 4 qt sauce pan, add a tbsp of olive oil. Let it heat on medium heat until it becomes hot. Once hot, add in your onions. 

  2. Cook your onions for 1-2 minutes and then add in your ground beef, breaking it up as you cook. Let cook for 5-7 minutes until fully cooked through. Once cooked, add in your garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno and mix to combine. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. While it's cooking, in a small bowl combine your spices to make your homemade taco seasoning. Spread the seasoning evenly over the meat/veggie mixture and mix to combine. 

  3. Now, add your UNDRAINED cans of tomatoes and beans directly to the pot, along with 1 cup of water. Stir together and taste to adjust for seasoning. Let this simmer on the stove, covered, for 10-15 minutes. 

  4. Once it has been simmering for a while, add in your uncooked pasta directly to the pot and make sure each noodle is pretty submerged. Let that cook for about 6-7 more minutes or until the pasta is al dente. 

  5. Once your pasta is done, add in 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix to melt the cheese. Next, top the rest of the skillet with the other 1 cup of cheese. Place a lid on the pan and let the cheese melt for about 3 or so minutes. Once it's melted, garnish with sour cream/cilantro/more jalapenos and eat up! Enjoy! 

12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. 5 stars
    Love me some one skillet pasta dishes! They are quite popular for hubby and I and the cheesier the better (and yours looks like it totally fits the bill). A big helping of this and a glass of vino and I’m one happy lady 🙂 Hope your week is going great, Haylie!

      1. 5 stars
        Just got done making a double batch. I did add more garlic, and mixed dark red beans and black beans (cause we are bougie like that). Regardless, it tastes Ah-mazing!!!!!!

  2. I am sorry to write that my family did not care for this at all. Responses ranged from , just make chili, to what’s this suppose to be. Hopefully your family will enjoy.

    1. Hi Patti – oh no! So sorry your family didn’t enjoy this recipe. It’s always a hit at our house – but totally understand that everyone has different preferences. I hope you give another of my recipes a shot. -Haylie

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.