Crunchy Tortilla Salsa Mac and Cheese recipe with step by step photos. All American comfort food packed with Mexican flavors!
On Thanksgiving, you just gotta have mac and cheese as one of your sides. This cheesy Mexican Mac and Cheese dish is packed with those spicy Mexican flavors. I made this dish with 2% reduced-fat milk instead of cream, half n half, or whole milk. Yes, it's still creamy. I finished this dish with crunchy tortilla on top instead of using breadcrumbs. It's so good! Hope this makes your Thanksgiving menu.
crunchy tortilla salsa mac and cheese recipe is:
Rich & Creamy
American Mexican fusion
Gluten-Free option (use GF pasta)
Perfect Thanksgiving Side
Classic Mac and Cheese with a Twist
How to make crunchy tortilla salsa mac and cheese recipe step by step?
1. Start by heating a pot of water for the pasta.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
3. Heat a pot on low heat and add 2 tablespoon of butter.
4. Once melted, add flour.
5. Whisk for about 2 minutes until the flour is cooked.
6. SLOWLY add the milk and whisk at the same time. You don't want to add the milk too fast else it will curdle. Whisk until well blended. Increase the heat to medium and allow the milk to heat up.
7. In the meantime, grate some cheese, roughly 3 cups. I just used my food processor to save time.
8. Once the milk is heated thru (not boiling) and little bubbles form above, add the spices… salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and taco seasoning (Trader Joe's).
9. Whisk and this is what you should have.
10. Add cheese. Lower heat to very low. Whisk.
11. Check on the pasta water which should be boiling. Season with salt to flavor the pasta. Add the pasta.
12. Back to the sauce, SLOWLY add a jar of salsa. Whisk at the same time to avoid curdling.
13. Whisk. Reduce the heat to very low.
14. Grab a handful of tortilla chips and put them in a Ziploc bag.
15. Crush the chips using your hands.
16. Check on the pasta. Once it is cooked thru, drain it.
17. Add the pasta to the sauce.
18. Mix well. Turn off the stove.
19. Transfer to a baking dish that has been buttered.
20. Top with crushed tortilla chips.
21. Top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.
22. Bake for 30 minutes, 35 max.
23. Out of the oven. Enjoy!
Crunchy Tortilla Salsa Mac and CheeseVegetarian, Lightened Up, Whole-Wheat, Gluten-Free option
- 1 pound whole-wheat medium shells
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose white flour
- 2 ½ cups organic 2% reduced-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoon taco seasoning, I love Trader Joe's brand
- 3 cups medium cheddar cheese, grated, 1 cup for the sauce + 2 cups for the top
- 1 (16 ounce jar) medium salsa, I love organic Whole Foods brand
- 1 handful lightly salted tortilla chips, crushed in a ziploc bag
- Start by heating a pot of water for the pasta.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Heat a pot on low heat and add 2 tablespoon of butter.
- Once melted, add flour.
- Whisk for about 2 minute until the flour is cooked.
- Add milk. Whisk until well blended. Increase the heat to medium and allow the milk to heat up.
- In the meantime, grate some cheese, roughly 3 cups. I just used my food processor to save time.
- Once the milk is heated thru and little bubbles form above, add the spices… salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and taco seasoning.
- Whisk and this is what you should have.
- Add cheese. Whisk.
- Check on the pasta water which should be boiling. Season with salt to flavor the pasta. Add the pasta.
- Back to the sauce, add a jar of salsa.
- Whisk. Reduce the heat to very low.
- Grab a handful of tortilla chips and put them in a Ziploc bag.
- Crush the chips using your hands.
- Check on the pasta. Once it is cooked thru, drain it.
- Add the pasta to the sauce.
- Mix well. Turn off the stove.
- Transfer to a baking dish that has been buttered.
- Top with crushed tortilla chips.
- Top with the remaining 2 cups of cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, 35 max.
- Out of the oven. Enjoy!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Girl. All the cheese. Oh.
Yummy salsa.. Will try out def...
Event: Dish name starts with S till May 30th and a giveaway
I never understood this tax day thing in US. Thankfully we don't have this in UK! Although there have been times when I have had to sit and go through my paychecks and fill out forms to get tax refunds which have always been helpful! Salsa mac and cheese need to be made in home soon! Funnily enough I made Mexican lasagne on Friday- seems like we really like our latin/mexican cuisine! Have a good week!
Oh lawd I love mac & cheese in general but throw in salsa and tortilla chips and I'm in heaven- YUM :)! Your hubby sure is one lucky guy! Along with the whole tax issue and taking care of it for works, the US government also need to sort out their pricing system...and add in the tax so that the tag lits the MRP PLUS tax! I can't be the only one with that rant ;)!
@Khushboo - YUP, my hubby is one lucky guy, he better read this. LOL. He actually isn't a fan of mac and cheese since it is made with white sauce, but I fooled him by adding salsa and he devoured it. I wasn't aware of the MRP plus tax. This whole tax thing is so ridiculous, they need to tax by state, not by how much you make. Obviously your money goes a long way in Texas, not in the Tri-State.
@DiaryofAnIndianMum - You are so lucky you don't have that in the UK, it's just such a dumb concept, the government should take care of it. I know, we really are into Latin American cuisine.. I can't get enough of Mex food!
Amelia Grace says
I really like the way you start your posts, it's always so catchy because it's not related to the photo of the food you post 😉
Love mac and cheese..its a classic, am feeling like something other than Indian food, need a break !!
SO CHEESY! I've never made a Mexican mac n' cheese before. I did have the best "regular" kind this past weekend. It was seriously the best I've ever had! Will be blogging about the restaurant soon. 🙂
And don't even get me started on taxes and the IRS...
@Parita - Thanks.. I loaded up on cheese, hey, it has calcium and protein. 🙂 I justify it. Can't wait to see your review. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who has issues with taxes. I don't know what crazy changes were made this year.. ridiculous!
@Amelia - Awww... that's so nice of you to say. I try with my opening line. I loveeeeeeeeeee mac and cheese.. I can't eat Indian food back to back, need a break after 2 days. I hear ya! 🙂
Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking says
Oh my goodness, this looks outrageously good! A must-try on my menu for sure!
Natalie G says
Drooooool. This is so appetizing right now especially that it's lunch time and my salad in the fridge looks mighty boring compared to this dish! Looks like an easy enough meal though so I would love to try it, makes for good leftovers!
Tax and IRS are things I choose not to discuss- it just makes me MAD and I share same emotion as you Nisha.
Anyways, whats conforting is this food right in front of me which is potentially my dinner, perfect for meatless monday 🙂
@Dixya - I know, I hear ya. I hope you make this, it is so good. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂
@Natalie - Thanks! You're being so healthy, it was hard to resist my pasta today since I worked from home. Makes awesome leftovers, I've already had 2 servings with it, and I still have like 3 more left.
@Georgia - Thanks girl! Coming from you, that means a LOT! 🙂
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies says
Whoa, Salsa Mac & Cheese--I need to make this immediately! 😀 I have such a weakness for mac & cheese.
@Kiersten - I know.. hope you do. Mac and cheese is a huge weakness of mine too, I'm always thinking of different concoctions.
Ankush Narula says
Looks great! 🙂 - 2 questions though - 1) doesn't the extra liquid from salsa water down the cheese sauce? - 2) how come the acidity of the tomatoes/lime/jalapeños in the salsa doesn't curdle the cheese sauce?
@Ankush - haha.. only you would ask me such scientific questions, I'm just a foodie, not Alton Brown. lol.
1. The salsa is pretty chunky, so it doesn't water down the sauce. Also, I initially thickened up the sauce with white flour and butter.
2. Refer to image #13, it looks like the sauce does get slightly curdled, however I believe the cheese sauce wasn't super hot, hence why the sauce probably didn't curdle. The salsa was at room temperature. Also, once I added the salsa, I whisked it into the cheese sauce immediately.
Hope that helps! 🙂
Ankush Narula says
Sona - Quick Picks says
hi there! first time here..nice posts and the dish luks delish!
I made something very similar to this dish coz i didnt have all the ingredients. It was more like enchilada/lasagna 🙂 thanks for the inspiration
Wonderful looking salsa mac and cheese, with reduced fat??? who doesn't want to try this..
@Deepti - Aside from the cheddar cheese, the dish is relatively reduced fat, definitely NOT low-fat. Hope you try it. 🙂
@Dixya - I've made Enchilada Mac & cheese too.. with beans. That was really good. I love any combination of mex food.
@Sona - Welcome! Thanks.. appreciate it.
That looks such a comforting dish, and for taxes... there're never fair no matter where you live...
Alexis @ Hummusapien says
This looks too good to be true!! I am obsessed with the idea of using tortilla chips as the topping 🙂
Looks so yummy!
@Emily - Thanks, hope you give this a try.
@Alexis - I know right! It is true, and it's so good! I loved adding tortilla chips on top, a little bit goes a long way.
@Gourmantine - Thanks.. I know, taxes suck! Never fair!
Hahah LOVE your narration in this post! And I've been craving Mexican dip or Mac 'n Cheese. This is a perfect combo of the 2! 🙂
Stick to cooking and avoid politics! The U.S. government DOES require that taxes be withheld from every paycheck. If you fine-tune your W-4 correctly, you end up not owing anything at the end of the year. And as far as child tax credits, it is WAY more expensive to raise a child than the $1,000 reduction in taxes you get for each one. No one with any sense would have children just for the tax credit!!!!
@Anonymous - you are entitled to your opinion, but I do believe there are lots of individuals who milk the system by having kids. Take a look at families witih 5 or 6 kids, most of the time these are families who can't even afford to have a kid in the first place. And the child exemption is $3900, per child. And if we don't end up owing anything at the end of the year (you said it), what is the point of doing your taxes in the first place? Exactly my point!
Seema Chauhan says
U r my favourite chef... i am gonna try this recipe
Thank you, Seema. Means a lot. xoxo