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Mexican Macaroni and Cheese

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Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |


I’m finally doing it. I’m cracking open the dictionaries and the textbooks and the verb charts and starting to work on mi español again.

It’s been — ohh — about a decade.


But tickets for a June trip to El Salvador are being booked, I’m feeling the language bug after starting to do more ESL tutoring again, and to be honest — I just love speaking Spanish. I love the rhythm and cadence of it, I love rolling those rrrrr’s, I love conjugating verbs (ok, actually that part isn’t as fun). And more than anything, I love all of the associations and crazy memories that spring to mind of the cool places and people who were a part of teaching me those words way back in the day.

But ay ay ay. I have forgotten so much over the years. Like, a ridiculous amount. So it’s taking a swallow of the ol’ pride and some mega stamina to try and get my brain back in gear. And, you know, maybe some extra Mexican food and margaritas for inspiration. Especially this fusion of Mexi flavors with traditional American comfort food!

In English, I named it Mexican Macaroni and Cheese. But in Spanish, I like to call it perfecto.  ;)

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

I had been wanting to try a Mexi take on my favorite base mac and cheese recipe for awhile. (That — bonus! — is also considerably lighter than most mac and cheese recipes.)  So when we had an unexpectedly cloudy and rainy spring day this week, I grabbed an avocado and some Jack cheese and decided to make it happen.

Long story short, I’m pretty positive you should too.

Here’s how to make it!

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

We begin with pasta. You can use actual macaroni for this recipe, but I totally recommend trying shells or ziti or something that can help hold all of those tiny pieces of corn. I used my favorite whole wheat pasta from DeLallo, which I whole-wheat-heartedly recommend. Cook it al dente according to package instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, saute up an onion and jalepeno until cooked. Then add in some garlic, green chiles corn and black beans. And once the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the saute pan.

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

Pour in a mixture of evaporated milk, egg, and some seasonings, and stir to combined.

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

See? It’s already looking creamy!

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

And then say cheeeeese!

I used Monterrey Jack for this recipe, but Colby Jack, Pepper Jack or Mexi cheeses would work well for this recipe. (*Sidenote, though, I do not recommend buying pre-shredded cheese. Often those cheeses have an additive that keeps them from sticking together, which also prevents them from melting smoothly. So by a block and either shred it by hand or by using a shredding attachment on a food processor.)

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

Then once that cheese is added, remove the pan from the heat and give it a good stir until it is melted and ooey gooey delicious.

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

Top the mixture with some fresh avocado, cilantro and tortilla strips.

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

And serve it right up!!!

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

Ok, tiny food blogging pet peeve with photographing mac and cheese. If you don’t snap your camera within 2 minutes of stirring the stuff, somehow the cheese disappears from the photo. I promise it’s there!

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

AH. There I caught it.

Seriously, this recipe is the best of the Mexi and mac+cheese worlds combined. You’re gonna love it.

¡Pruébalo! Try it!

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

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Mexican Macaroni and Cheese

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  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: About 4-6 servings 1x


The best flavors of Mexican food meets macaroni and cheese in this savory and irresistible dish.


  • 12 oz. uncooked macaroni or other pasta
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (12-ounce) can 2% evaporated milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. (about 2 cups) shredded Monterrey Jack or Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 avocado, peeled pitted and diced
  • fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • tortilla chip strips (or crushed tortillas)


  1. Heat a large stockpot full of generously-salted water until it comes to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  2. At about the time that you actually add the pasta to the boiling water, heat oil in a (separate) large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and jalapeno (if using) and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onion is tender and translucent.
  3. While the onion is cooking, add the evaporated milk, egg, cumin, salt and pepper together in a small bowl or measuring cup, and whisk until combined. Set aside.
  4. Back to the saute pan. Once the onion is cooked, stir in the garlic and chopped green chiles and saute for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant. Then stir in the black beans and corn, and saute for an additional minute.
  5. Once the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta and add it to the veggie mixture in the saute pan. (Or you can do the reverse and add the veggies and pasta back to the stockpot and complete the recipe there.) Immediately stir in the evaporated milk mixture, and stir until the mixture is combined. Cook for 1 more minute until the milk mixture is heated through. Then add the shredded cheese and stir to combine.
  6. Serve immediately topped with diced avocado and chopped cilantro and tortilla chips.

Mexican Macaroni and Cheese |

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35 comments on “Mexican Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. I’m definitely going to be trying this soon. Looks absolutely delish!!!

  2. Mexican food is the best. This looks so good and I love that you are brushing up on your spanish for your trip! Very fun and exciting!

  3. Excited for you about your trip! Good luck with the Spanish lessons :) This mac n cheese looks delish!

  4. How exciting! Have a great trip. I love Mexican food and mac and cheese… Perfect combo in my book!

  5. LOVE Mac and Cheese!! Mexican style is the best! So excited for your upcoming travels!

  6. Boy does this ever look tasty, Ali! I’m going to have to try it soon!

  7. Mexi-mac! Two of my favorite things together – perfecta!

  8. So exciting that you have a South American trip to look forward to! I’d definitely start brushing up on my Spanish with a big bowl of this gorgeous Mexican mac beside me! It looks so delish.

  9. Yum!! I love the Mexican twist. I think I am going to try and make an adapted version that is vegan :)

  10. This looks so delicious. My kids were just asking for mac and cheese this morning. I will have to make this for them soon. Pinned!

  11. I hear ya there on the cheese disappearing…we gotta move quick! All while trying not to devour the dish at the same time! I love this idea as it fits my obsession with mexican right now that I have going on!

  12. This mac and cheese looks so freaking yummy! I love it!

  13. Wow. wow. wow. This dish looks amazing! I love macaroni and cheese, and this take on the dish definitely looks like it’s worth a try. Good luck on re-learning Spanish, your post really made me smile :)

  14. This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I might try adding some red bell pepper too. I am betting my husband and 17 month old son will both gobble this up!

  15. OMG! This looks delicious…i’m a new follower :)

  16. I had no idea that pre-shredded cheese had an additive that made it not stick together! I came for the mac-n-chz and I learned a fun fact :) I am definitely not buying pre-shredded anymore!

    Peace & Sunshine,
    Sammi at Sammi Sunshine- A Food Blog

  17. Beautiful piccies again, Ali! I especially love the bright green avocado … it just pops out of the photos! I learnt Spanish at uni but would love to pick it up again, too. You’re right that those words fly right out of your head when you don’t use them!

  18. I think the Spanish word Perfecto works for this recipe. What a wonderful variation of Mac and Cheese. I envy your trip to El Salvador. I agree with you in regard to Spanish. Same thing with its sister language, Italian. I can get all melty over the most innocuous words. I almost considered marrying a guy because his last name was Abinnanti. Going back to the recipe—-I like the bits
    and pieces of color in the dish and the shells for the pasta.

  19. Oh my goodness are you kidding me? This is perfection!

  20. You just combined all my favorite flavors–hooray! I mean, ole! ;)

  21. I love Mexican mac and cheese! This looks amazing!

  22. Made this tonight… last night I made your Salsa Chicken and had a little bit left over so added it to this mac n cheese. Perfect! is about the only site that I make things from regularly. Love the simpleness yet tastiness of everything! Thanks and keep it comin’!

  23. Very good! Made more than enough for me and my husband, and the leftovers were spicier from marinating – yum! Fresh and tasty and the evap milk made it very creamy for not having tons of cheese in it. Great recipe, thanks for sharing.

    • We’re so glad you enjoyed this, Abbey — thanks for giving it a try!

  24. This is a keeper! I made this for dinner this evening and it’s wonderful. The avocado is amazing on top. Even my husband, who feels that a meal isn’t complete without meat, loved it. Thanks for this wonderful recipe, and all the wonderful recipes you share with us! :)

    • Thanks Cindy, we’re glad you and your husband enjoyed this! And hank you for being a fan! :)