Cheeseburger Macaroni (My kids favorite meal!)

Forget Hamburger Helper - this made-from-scratch Cheeseburger Macaroni is my kids' favorite meal. This macaroni and cheese recipe is a fast dinner for those busy nights (and adults love it too).

how to make macaroni and cheese with beef

Kid-Approved Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Beef make for the perfect combination and filling meal. A kids classic turns into a culinary masterpiece that everybody is going to love.

Add a little kick and a little flavor to it and you have yourself the perfect dinner for the pickiest eaters.

I found this macaroni and cheese recipe over at Kevin & Amanda and it has quickly become one of our family’s favorite meals- mostly because my kids devour it. It is easy to prepare- only takes about 20 minutes- and tastes amazing.

How to Brown Ground Beef

When purchasing ground beef, it’s important to understand that a higher fat to meat ratio means the meat is going to shrink up a little more as it cooks.

The store sells the higher fat beef cheaper and this may seem like the more budget-friendly option, but you are also getting less beef out of it. Either way, you get what you pay for.

When browning ground beef, you will want to use a nonstick skillet or spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add the uncooked beef to the pan and cook over medium-high heat.

Use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to evenly break up the meat as it cooks. You could also use a spatula to break of the meat into small, evenly sized, pieces.

Cook until there is no pink left in the meat. Browning ground beef usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

How to tame the spice in this cheeseburger Macaroni 

Depending on the taco seasoning and the green chiles you buy, this could get a little spicy. We have found that to cool the spice, we mix in a little sour cream.

If you are looking for a healthier alternative, you could also use Greek yogurt.

adjusting this Macaroni and cheese recipe for Tomato haters

If you have a few family members that don’t particularly love tomatoes, you could blend them up or use a little tomato sauce. We recommend using sauce because it comes a little more flavored and salted than paste.

You could also use a little marinara sauce. However, changing up the ingredients might effect the consistency. We recommend adding extra noodles or meat when leaving out the tomatoes and using a tomato substitute.

What do you serve with Cheeseburger Macaroni:

Serves: 4

Cheeseburger Macaroni (My kids favorite meal!)
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  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 (1 oz) packet taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning)
  • 1 (10 oz) can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies (or petite diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cups beef broth (or water)
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • Now make the cheese sauce:
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Brown and drain ground beef. Stir in taco seasoning, Rotel, beef broth, and macaroni and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover pan. Simmer 12-14 minutes until macaroni is tender.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking for 4-5 minutes until it becomes fragrant and starts to turn a light brown color. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil. Whisk until smooth and mixture starts to thicken. Remove mixture from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar cheese until melted. Add the salt and pepper to the cheese sauce. Pour the cheese sauce over the hamburger mixture. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Serves 4.

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macaroni and cheese recipe "cheeseburger macaroni"
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43 Responses to “Cheeseburger Macaroni (My kids favorite meal!)”

  1. well looking for easy easy easy kid friendly, for a 2 and a 3 year old..they are picky... i have leftover taco meat..i think i am just gonna make some mac and cheese and add some...see how that goes over! thanks for the idea!
  2. I made this for dinner tonight. Unfortunately I couldn't find the mild Rotel so I used the original. It was very spicy. Luckily my kids are older so they were still able to eat it, but we all agreed it would have been much better without that extra spice.
  3. Rikki
    I made this tonight and it is very good. I thought the 1 c. of pasta sounded a bit low but I still went with it (especially because that is how much I ended up having leftover from a previous use). It did come out very soupy. I think I will go ahead and make it with at least 1.5 cups next time.
  4. I made this for dinner and it turned out great! It is definitely a keeper. It was quick and easy. I used one teaspoon Morton's seasoned salt instead of taco seasoning because I wasn't sure my kids would go for the taco seasoning. My 9 year old loved it but the 6 year old is super picky and claims she didnt like it (i think she spit it out before she even gave it a chance). I enjoyed it and was happy it was done in under an hour.
  5. Lavinia
    I made this for the first time tonight. I love it! Super easy! We prefer hot here so I used the Hot Rotel (tomatoes with jalepenos) and omitted the salt because the broth I used already had a lot. Definately, making this again. Thanks!
  6. Made this tonight with petite diced tomatoes with green chili's and it was spicy and yummy! If your family is not into a little hot, I would simply get the tomatoes without chili's. I used a 14 oz can of those and upped my pasta to 1 1/2 cup.
  7. We loved it! I used ground turkey and substituted Cajun seasoning and did need to add a little extra cooked macaroni in the end which wasn't a problem (more leftovers). Maybe I should've drained the tomatoes? Really yummy on a cold Spring day in Buffalo.
  8. melissa tilley
    I made this dish a few nights ago, my 5 children loved it and they are all picky. My husband who is ridiculously picky, raved about it and even took leftovers the next day for lunch and he hates leftovers! I changed the 1 cup of pasta, to 1.5 cups. I also doubled the whole recipe and it made a ton! I think next time I would make it and add another 1/2 batch. I have 7 people in my family. It does make good leftovers. The kids enjoyed it with tortillas chips. Thanks for a great recipe!
  9. Stephanie Hirsch
    This was great, I didn't know that I should buy mild rotel and we bought original...made the dish pretty spicy, so we called it taco macaroni, lol. We used some sour cream to ease out the spice, next time I'll try it with mild rotel, but it's a great meal that was fast and yummy. I think just the ground beef/rotel/cheese sauce mix would make a great taco dip!

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