One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
on Sep 25, 2020, Updated Apr 10, 2022
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
This is total comfort food; a one dish recipe, with even the pasta cooking in the same skillet.
Ground Beef Skillet Recipes
A one skillet recipe is a dinnertime life-saver, I think we can all agree on that. This ground beef and pasta recipe is very possibly the least sophisticated recipe in The Mom 100 Cookbook, and very possibly the one that my husband in particular eats as though he will be fasting for the following week. His eyes get kind of teary whenever I made this. He’ll show up for dinner early.
It’s nothing new under the sun (macaroni and cheese and beef; rocket science this ain’t), but once you try it you will understand the deepest meaning of the word crowd-pleaser. And (hold onto to the edge of the table) – IT ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET. Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce! I know, I know! It’s the little things.
Skillet for One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Get a huge pan, a 12 or 13-incher (best pan in the world if you cook for a group regularly), make a vat of this, keep it in the fridge. If you don’t have this huge honking pan, cut the recipe in half. If you have bigger kids who are constantly running in and out of the house with their friends, all of them starving and in need of fuel before or after soccer practice, then you, you my friend, may never again be without a batch of this One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni awaiting reheating and inhalation.
In some parts of the country this is known as goulash or American Goulash. I did not even know this was a thing until I started researching American Goulash recipes, and realized that this recipe was (accidentally!) the very definition of that dish. American Goulash is a tomato based ground beef meal or sorts with the pasta baked right into the mix. There is usually peppers (check), elbow macaroni (check) and cheese (check) involved.
This Cheesy Beef and Macaroni ALL COOKS IN ONE SKILLET. Even the pasta, which cooks right into sauce! I know, I know! It’s the little things.Tweet This
Beef Mac and Cheese
We actually just call this ground beef pasta dish “cheesy beefy” for short, and some of the kids friends refer to it as hamburger mac and cheese. My sister-in-law Lisa with her three large boys and revolving cast of visiting teenagers swears by this. It is reminiscent of something that rhymes with Flamberger Felper, but it’s better and it’s yours.
Substitutions for Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Not to be a broken record, but please, please feel free to experiment with this pretty flexible ground beef skillet recipe. The chili powder, for instance, changes the flavor from a more Italian-American vibe to slightly Mexican, but in no way crosses over into overly exotic. Use ground turkey or chicken. Add shallots. Use cumin, or maybe curry powder. Try Monterey Jack. Wear stilettos to the PTA, spit into the wind, take up rock climbing, learn to sing opera (see what happened there? Now using cumin sounds like a very reasonable experiment, as compared to singing an aria; remember, it’s just ground meat.)
Green pepper is often called for in dishes like this, and it’s fine, but red (or orange or yellow) bell peppers are sweeter, and usually more kid-friendly, but this is not anything other than subjective opinion, and you shall do as you please.
How to Make One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
Brown the beef in a very large deep skillet, then wipe out the skillet, and saute the peppers, carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef back to the skillet.
Then add the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder if using.
Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer.
Add the pasta and stir to combine.
Lower the heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season again if needed.
Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole then cover for just 1 more minute until the cheese is melty, and serve.
Serve this right out of the pan.
The Best One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni: This is total comfort food; a one dish recipe, with even the pasta cooking in the same skillet.Tweet This
Reheating Leftover Beefy Mac and Cheese
Leftovers can be reheated on the stovetop over medium low heat (you may want to add a bit of water if it seems like it’s drying out), or in a preheated 350°F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the cheese at the very end, otherwise it has a way of dissolving right into the casserole, not staying on top in that appealing melty way.
If you are serving half of it, and saving half, just sprinkle half the cheese over half the pan, leaving the rest naked for another day.
Other Ground Beef and Cheese Recipes:
- Cheesy Beef and Hash Brown Casserole
- Cheesy Mashed Potato Topped Shepherd’s Pie
- Simple Baked Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
- Instant Pot Ziti “Lasagna” with Bolognese Sauce
- Cheesy Ground Beef Quesadillas
- Easy Ground Beef Enchiladas
Other Macaroni and Cheese Recipes:
- Sheetpan Macaroni and Cheese Squares
- Stovetop Macaroni and Four Cheeses
- Ultimate Creamy Baked Wisconsin Macaroni and Cheese
- Macaroni and Cheese
Pin this now to find it laterPin It
One-Skillet Cheesy Beef and Macaroni
- 2 pounds lean ground beef 85/15%
- 1 tablespoon vegetable or olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red, yellow, orange, or green bell pepper
- 1 cup chopped peeled carrots
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder optional but recommended
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- ¾ pound dried elbow macaroni
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (8 ounces)
- Heat a very large skillet (for this full recipe, it should be a deep 12-inch pan) over medium high heat and brown the beef, stirring until no pink remains, about 5 minutes. Drain the beef and set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet, add the oil, and heat it over medium heat. Add the peppers, carrots, onion and garlic and sauté until almost tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef back to the skillet, as well as the basil, oregano, tomatoes with their juice, water, Worcestershire sauce, and chili powder if using. Season with salt and pepper, turn the heat to high, and bring to a simmer. Add the pasta, stir and cover. Lower the heat to medium and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8 to 10 minutes. Taste and season again if needed.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the casserole then cover for just 1 more minute until the cheese is melty, and serve. Serve this right out of the pan.