Taco Mac and Cheese

The perfect taco mac and cheese recipe: A creamy three cheese macaroni and cheese featuring seasoned shredded chicken and your favorite taco toppings.

Taco Mac and Cheese Recipe from bakedbyrachel.com

You know when you’re so tired that you’re nodding off and are doing all that you can to will your body to stay awake for a little bit longer? That was totally me on Friday night and probably at the super late hour of 9pm. OMG I know. I’m super exciting. Getting up early has it’s downfalls. But no…seriously, this was brutal. We were having a movie night watching ‘Now you see me’ (have you seen it? It was actually pretty good. Definitely recommend it.). I was doing great until the halfway point and then it all started going downhill. And by downhill I mean I was fighting and straining so hard to keep my eyes open. The weird thing is that if I closed my eyes, it’s like that was enough to chill out my super tired self and I could sit and listen to the movie. Weird. But it helped me get through it. And no, I didn’t watch the last half with my eyes closed… well obviously but it was just off and on. Do you ever have those moments?

I know we could have just turned it off and finished the next day but I’m super weird about making sure our movies are back in the mail by Saturday because otherwise if there is a new movie being released on Tuesday, we have zero chance at getting it. So in the mail Saturday or we wait weeks. The problem with relying on Netflix for movies. It’s all a game.

Taco Mac and Cheese Recipe from bakedbyrachel.com

This taco mac and cheese, on the other hand, is totally not a game. It’s the real deal. The absolute best and only taco mac and cheese recipe you will ever need. I’ve been thinking about making this since sometime over the summer and finally got around to making it a few weeks ago. Hands down our favorite mac and cheese to date, which is saying a lot because we’ve tried a lot of different mac and cheese recipes!

Our typical taco night is with ground meat, but I wanted big chunks of shredded chicken breast in this dish. It makes all the difference!

Change things up on your next taco night with this creamy three cheese macaroni. It features seasoned shredded chicken and (any and all!) of your favorite taco toppings, from jalapeños to sour cream, tomatoes, green onions, avocado and so much more. Trust me, you’ll love it!

Yield: Serves 8+

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Taco Mac and Cheese

A creamy three cheese macaroni and cheese featuring seasoned shredded chicken and your favorite taco toppings.


2C shredded chicken (or slightly less than 1lb)
1pkg taco seasoning (or 1 batch homemade taco seasoning)
1/2C water
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 and 1/2C milk
1 and 1/2C heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2-3oz mild cheddar cheese, shredded
8oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
3/4lb large elbow noodles

1C Panko breadcrumbs
4oz Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Chopped scallions
Sour cream
Cherry tomatoes, sliced


Cook 1lb of chicken breast using desired method, shred. Add to a medium skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and water. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken has absorbed the seasoning and the mixture is no longer sitting in liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Cook pasta for 10-11 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler over simmering water, melt butter. Add flour, whisking well to combine. Slowly add milk and heavy cream, stirring gently. When liquid is warm, begin adding cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir frequently until cheese is fully melted.

Drain pasta. Add to an un-greased 3qt baking dish. Spread shredded seasoned chicken throughout, stir and toss to distribute throughout. Pour cheese sauce over pasta and chicken, gently stirring to coat well.

In a small bowl, combine melted butter, Panko breadcrumbs and cheese. Sprinkle over pasta. Lightly spray with olive oil.

Bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Baked by Rachel original

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45 Responses to “Taco Mac and Cheese”

  1. #
    Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker — October 7, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Loving this idea and all the variety of cheeses. I would put tacos on top for an added crunch

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 7:18 am

      That’d be a fantastic addition :)

  2. #
    Tieghan — October 7, 2013 at 8:03 am

    This mac and cheese is crazy awesome! I mean tacos? Whats better than that? Not much…but mac and cheese! So combining them was genius!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

      lol Thanks Tieghan :)

  3. #
    Carrian — October 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

    This is like a combination of the two best foods in the world, tacos and mac and cheese! I can’t wait to try this. It looks delicious!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

      Thanks Carrian! You’ll love it :)

  4. #
    Ali @ Inspiralized — October 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

    SO creative, I’m loving this!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

      Thanks so much :)

  5. #
    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — October 7, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Two of my favorite things are now one! Love!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

      Thanks Laurie! Mine too! :)

  6. #
    Karly — October 7, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Yep. This is totally my kind of dinner. Tacos + pasta + cheese = LOVE.

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

      Yay! Cheese is always a win :)

  7. #
    Marie @ Little Kitchie — October 7, 2013 at 11:10 am

    You just combined two of my favorite foods in the world! Looks amazing!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:14 pm

      Thanks Marie :)

  8. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — October 7, 2013 at 11:13 am

    First off I love anything having to do with Mexican Food. Once you paired it was macaroni I was SOLD a second time.

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

      Well that clearly means you have to make it ;)

  9. #
    Beth @ bethcakes — October 7, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    I am so obsessed with tacos and this is incredible. Wish I had a big bowl of it for lunch today! :)

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

      Now you’ll have to make it so you can enjoy the leftovers ;)

  10. #
    Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch — October 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    What an awesome and tasty combo of flavors!!! Want!!!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

      Thanks Robyn! :)

  11. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — October 7, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    Omigosh YES to this! Talk about delicious and satisfying on every level!!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

      Haha Thanks Meagan!

  12. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — October 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I know what you mean by nodding off..I was nodding off this morning while driving! Haha ok, just kidding, but yeah, watching tv/movies when I’m dead exhausted basically means it’s time for bed even if I’m fighting it! If you stuck this plate in my face, I bet you I wouldn’t be very tired anymore – I’d go into a food coma afterwards though. This is comfort food heaven!

    • Rachel — October 7th, 2013 @ 6:16 pm

      No nodding off while driving ;) Seriously, you need a giant plate of this to munch on while watching fnl lol

  13. #
    Marcie — October 7, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    This could be Mac and cheese nachos! Oh this looks so delicious. What a great idea adding shredded chicken and all this fixings.

    • Rachel — October 8th, 2013 @ 8:33 am

      Thanks Marcie!

  14. #
    Tracey — October 7, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Haha, I’m totally the same way. I’ve fallen asleep during movie night the past 3 weeks. I need to start getting to bed at a more reasonable hour during the week!

    This recipe sounds awesome, two of my comfort food favorites in one!!

    • Rachel — October 8th, 2013 @ 8:33 am

      Thanks Tracey! :)

  15. #
    Linda | The Urban Mrs — October 8, 2013 at 11:21 am

    I love Now You See Me, though people say the tricks are real obvious, but it’s still pretty entertaining. Same thing like this taco mac-n-cheese, yummm, especially with panko breadcrumbs.

    • Rachel — October 8th, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

      Entertaining is usually all that matters for me :)

  16. #
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — October 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Love that you combined two comfort foods into one! So good!

    • Rachel — October 8th, 2013 @ 3:59 pm

      Thanks Jessica!

  17. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — October 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    You are kidding me right now! I need a big bowl of this in my life, STAT. Pure comfort food!

    • Rachel — October 8th, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

      You REALLY do! :) You’ll love it!

  18. #
    Gaby — October 8, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    This looks like the best dinner! Everything I love in one bowl!

    • Rachel — October 9th, 2013 @ 7:10 am

      Thanks Gaby!

  19. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — October 8, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    YES! Netflix totally is a game–you couldn’t be more right. That is my one gripe with it, its all about when you return things (which when I had it, would often forget to do).

    This mac and cheese looks SO good Rachel!!!!!

    • Rachel — October 9th, 2013 @ 7:10 am

      It’s so frustrating but I’m just trying to play the game when I can lol

  20. #
    Jocelyn @ BruCrew Life — October 8, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I love that you used chicken in this mac and cheese!! My family would die over your version, so it’s definitely going to be happening very soon! ;)

    • Rachel — October 9th, 2013 @ 7:11 am

      I hope everyone enjoys it! :)

  21. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — October 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    This has my name all over it!! I am dying to get a taste of this :)

  22. #
    Mary @ Funcookiesgalore — October 9, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Delicious! I can’t wait to make this. I love anything Mexican! You are very creative.

    • Rachel — October 10th, 2013 @ 7:20 am

      Enjoy! :)

  23. #
    Alex — January 11, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    I tried Mac and Cheese for the very first time, and it was super delicious. Thank you for this great recipe!

    • Rachel — January 12th, 2014 @ 8:29 am

      I’m glad you enjoyed it :)

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