Spanish Mac & Cheese

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Spanish Mac & Cheese

This Spanish mac n cheese recipe was inspired by a recent trip to New York. I had to make a mac n cheese, and two other chefs were preparing empanadas. One of the chefs took some of her empanada fillings and placed on top of my mac n cheese, and that triggered an idea to do a Spanish hamburger helper.

Spanish Mac n Cheese

Spanish Mac n Cheese Cooking Tips:

Make sure to under cook your pasta. The pasta will continue to cook when you add it to the sauce.

Can you make ahead?

Fridge: Mac n cheese can be made a day or two in advance. After it cools off, place in an airtight container in the fridge for 7 days max.

Reheating: Pop in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

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Substitution Options:

You can use 90/10 ground beef or ground turkey to make this a healthier dish.

You can find achiote at your local Latin grocery store. It adds a deeper red color. If you cannot find it just use an equal amount of paprika.

what to serve with Spanish Mac n Cheese?

Meal Ideas:


Spanish Mac n Cheese

Spanish Mac & Cheese

On a recent trip to New York I had to make a Mac n cheese and one of the other chefs was preparing some empanadas. Sometimes in the kitchens cultures blend and meet each other. She took some of her empanada filling and placed on top of my southern mac n cheese and that triggered an idea to do a Spanish hamburger helper style dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Spanish
Servings 6


Spanish Ground Beef

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 lbs. 80/20 ground chuck
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce chopped
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • ¾ cup sliced green olives
  • ½ cup red currants or raisins
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 2 teaspoons achiote
  • ½ bunch cilantro chopped, garnish

Mac n Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 ½ cups half and half
  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 cups manchego cheese shredded
  • 8 oz. elbow macaroni cooked
  • 2 cups gruyere cheese shredded


  • To make Spanish ground beef:
  • Heat a heavy bottom skillet over medium heat, add oil and ground beef cook for 5 minutes until water evaporates. Add onion and bell pepper cook for 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for cilantro. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  • To make mac n cheese:
  • Heat a pot over medium heat add butter once melted add flour and make blonde roux. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, dry mustard.
  • Add half and half in thirds. Add cream cheese and 2 cups manchego cheese. Stir until sauce thickens about 2 minutes. Stir in elbow macaroni. Stir in half of the beef mixture and place the remaining on top. Top with gruyere and pop in oven until cheese melts. Garnish with cilantro, serve hot.


Preheat broiler on hi


Serving: 0gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 0gFat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0gMonounsaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgPotassium: 0mgFiber: 0gSugar: 0gVitamin A: 0IUVitamin C: 0mgCalcium: 0mgIron: 0mg
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