The whole family will love this easy, one-pan Taco Macaroni Skillet. Healthier than boxed options yet just as quick to get on table at the end of a busy day.
If you grew up loving Hamburger Helper (as I did), but want a less-processed version to serve to your family today, you will love this recipe.
Taco Macaroni Skillet is made in one pan and takes just 30 minutes to get on the table. That’s perfect for busy days.
Plus, there are so many options for customizing this dish. You can truly make it your own, or mix it up each time you make and no one will complain about eating the same thing over and over again.
How do I make Taco Macaroni Skillet?
As I mentioned, this is a super easy recipe.
It starts with cooking some ground beef and diced onion together in a large skillet. Make sure you use a big enough skillet so that you’ll be able to add all of the other ingredients with overloading it.
Then, the beef and onions are seasoned with familiar taco spices before adding the main ingredients:
- uncooked macaroni noodles
- beef stock
- tomato sauce
- crushed tomatoes
Next, you bring the liquids to a boil and then cover and simmer until the noodles are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
This step is the key, and what makes this dish one-pan. It might seem like a lot of liquid, but if you think about those aforementioned Hamburger Helper meals, they use exactly the same process.
After that you stir in some frozen corn until heated through, and then top with shredded cheese before serving.
See? It really couldn’t get much easier. Serve with chips and salsa or a tossed salad on the side and you’ve got an amazing dinner the whole family will love!
How can I customize this recipe?
There are so many things you can do to make Taco Macaroni Skillet your own.
Here are just a few of my favorite tried-and-tested options:
- Stir in some queso or cheese dip after adding the corn
- Dollop some sour cream and salsa on top before serving
- Replace the can of tomato sauce with a can of red enchilada sauce for an Enchilada Macaroni Skillet
- Replace the ground beef with black beans or kidney beans for a vegetarian option
- Top with shredded lettuce and fresh tomato and avocado slices
What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment and let me know!
Can I make this recipe ahead of time?
Yes, this recipe does really well made earlier in the day and then reheated on the stove before serving.
If you want to prep it a few days in advance, I recommend adding 1/2 cup water, tomato sauce, or beef stock/broth when you reheat it so that it isn’t too dry.
Can I freeze this recipe?
You technically can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve found that the texture of the noodle changes just enough after freezing and reheating that they just aren’t as good.
However, what you can do is cook the ground beef and onions and then cool. Stir in the spices and liquids (including tomatoes) and freeze in a plastic bag.
Then, when you are ready to serve, thaw the mixture and a pour into a large skillet. Add the macaroni noodles and continue as directed.
Can I use different noodles in Taco Macaroni Skillet?
Absolutely! You can use any noodles you like, but you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Can I double this recipe?
You can, and you probably should if you’re serving some big eaters! I do all of the time. Plus, leftovers make a nice lunch the next day.
Taco Macaroni Skillet
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1/2 Onion (diced)
- 1 tablespoon Chili powder
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 2 tablespoons Garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 1/2 pound Elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 cup Beef stock or broth
- 1 8 ounce Can tomato sauce
- 1 14 ounce Can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups Frozen corn
- 1 cup Shredded cheese
- Brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Stir in seasonings.
- Add noodles, stock, tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Cover skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, until noodles are tender, about 15 – 20 minutes.
- Stir in corn until heated through. Top with cheese and serve.
- Customize the recipe to make Taco Macaroni Skillet your own – stir in some queso, replace the tomato sauce with red enchilada sauce, top with your favorite taco toppings, etc.
- If you use a different type of noodle, be aware that you may need to adjust the cooking time so that you don’t over or under-cook noodles.
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