Use leftover pulled pork in this baked Mexican Mac and Cheese for a super easy and delicious comfort food meal that everyone loves!
Using leftovers from one meal in other meals can help a family stretch a budget and reduce food waste! Much like our recipe for Chicken Enchiladas, this recipe uses up any leftover shredded or pulled meat. Pork, chicken, beef… whatever!
This recipe is one of our favorite uses for leftover pulled pork. You only need a couple of cups, although more is good too (I have used up to 4 in this recipe with no arguments from anyone!).
Baked mac & cheese is a go to comfort food for us so this Pulled Pork Mexican Mac & Cheese gets made A LOT in this house. It is a super easy and delicious way to transform leftovers into another family friendly meal.
About the Ingredients
- Pasta – You can use any kind of short or tube shaped pasta you like. The little shell pasta (Conchigliette) is great in this recipe, as are elbow macaroni, Fusilli pasta, or Penne.
- Butter – We use plain salted butter. You can use unsalted butter but be sure that you season the sauce to taste.
- Flour – All purpose, white flour or whole wheat flour are the best choices when making the sauce.
- Half & half – Honestly, most of the time I don’t have half & half in the house. Regular milk can be substituted in this recipe but for best results add it into the flour and butter slowly (a half cup at a time works well), allowing the mixture to thicken before adding more.
- Cayenne pepper – This spice provides a nice background heat to the mac & cheese but if spice isn’t your thing, feel free to leave it out or use chili powder instead for the flavor without the kick.
- Shredded cheese – Any blend of shredded cheese will work for this mac & cheese. Some that we have tried include Mexican blend shredded cheese, Colby Jack, Mozzarella, and any Cheddar blend.
- Mexican style diced tomatoes – Mexican style diced tomatoes typically include green chilies in the can with the tomatoes. They are usually pretty mild. If you don’t like green chilies or are worried about the spice, substitute plain undrained diced tomatoes. If you can’t find or don’t have Mexican diced tomatoes, use a can of green chilies AND add a small can of diced green chilies.
- Pulled pork – We have substituted leftover Carne Asada, leftover shredded chicken and leftover rotisserie chicken with great results!
- Bread crumbs – The bread crumbs make up a traditional topping on the mac & cheese before baking. It keeps the pasta on the top from drying out and getting crunchy. Panko is the Japanese version of bread crumbs, a little coarser and a little crunchier. Either can be used.
How to make Pulled Pork Mexican Mac & Cheese
Leftover pulled pork becomes an ingredient in this delicious baked meal. This recipe is versatile and will work with pulled pork, shredded chicken, or even Carne Asada.
The sauce, pasta, meat and cheese come together in a delicious combination that is then baked in the oven, making it an awesome way to use up those leftovers in a satisfying meal that your family will love!
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, melt 1 1/2 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until it forms a paste.
Slowly add half and half (or milk) 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until the sauce thickens, and allowing it to thicken before adding more liquid.
Add cayenne, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese to the saucepan, stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is combined. Remove from heat.
At this point, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F so it is ready when you are.
In a large bowl (or the pasta pot you already used – one less dish to wash!), combine the pasta, pulled pork, diced tomatoes, cheese sauce and remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Stir and transfer to a baking dish.
Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter and combine with bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the mac & cheese.
Bake for 45 minutes in 375 degree F oven until edges are bubbly.
Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Other Easy Meal Ideas You May Enjoy:
Big Mac Salad Bowl (Keto) – All the deliciousness of a Big Mac in a Keto friendly dinner salad!
Crockpot Sweet and Sour Ribs – Pork ribs in a sticky sweet and sour sauce – fall off the bone delicious!
Easy Instant Pot Mongolian Beef – This is a delicious take on traditional Mongolian Beef that takes a fraction of the time and has delicious results!
Penne Pasta with Vodka Sauce – A made-from-scratch simple sauce with just a couple of extra ingredients takes pasta to a whole new level.
Weeknight Chili – Quick, easy and delicious!
Pulled Pork Mexican Mac & Cheese
- 2 cups pasta cooked to al dente
- 2 tbsp butter divided
- 1 1/2 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 cups half & half or milk
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 1/2 cups shredded cheese divided
- 1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes 10 oz
- 2 cups pulled pork
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs or panko
- Bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, melt 1 1/2 tbsp of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Whisk in flour and then slowly add half and half 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly until thickened.
- Add cayenne, salt and pepper and 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheese, stirring until cheese is melted and sauce is combined. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, pulled pork, diced tomatoes, cheese sauce and remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir and transfer to a baking dish.
- Melt remaining 1/2 tablespoon of butter and combine with bread crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the mac & cheese.
- Bake for 45 minutes in 375 degree F oven until edges are bubbly. Serve immediately. Enjoy!