Sloppy Joe Mac and Cheese

It’s a beautiful thing when two great dishes become one delicious meal! This sloppy joe recipe is packed with bell peppers, onion, and garlic and makes a delicious sandwich on its own…but throw it with some gooey cheesy pinwheel pasta and you’ve got comfort food heaven! I LOVE a good mac and cheese, and I also love that you can really add any kind of cheese you like. The secret to a good no roux base is Velveeta! As long as you use a little bit of that cheese mixed with other great melting cheeses, you’ll have a fool proof creamy mac and cheese every time. I threw in some pepper jack cheese, the spice works great with the sloppy joes.

I also topped it off with some smoky (smoked paprika), garlicky bread crumbs for that crispy crunchy topping! I used pinwheel pasta in my recipe, but any pasta shape works great, just be sure to under cook the pasta because it will continue to cook when mixed with the sloppy joes while baking.

Hope you love it, enjoy!

Sloppy Joe Mac and Cheese

Servings 6
Author Laura Doerr


For the sloppy joes

  • 1 lb ground beef lean, grass fed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with onion and garlic drained
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

For the mac and cheese

  • 16 oz pinwheel pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 10 oz Velveeta cheese cubed
  • 1 cup fontina cheese shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups pepper jack cheese shredded
  • salt and pepper

Panko pepper jack topping

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat add the olive oil, diced onions, diced bell peppers, and garlic. Cook for about 5-10 minutes or until soft. Add in the ground beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the diced tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and brown sugar. Simmer on low until ready to combine with mac and cheese.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package instructions EXCEPT reduce the time by 1-2 minutes to slightly undercook the pasta. It will finish cooking once combined with the other ingredients during baking.
  5. Once pasta is drained, return pasta to pot, and stir in milk, butter, and Velveeta cheese while over med-low heat. Once cheese begins to melt, slowly stir in fontina and pepper jack cheeses, small amounts at a time. If it becomes too thick, add more milk. Season with black pepper.

  6. Add the mac and cheese into the sloppy joe mixture (or vice versa whichever pot is easier to combine in) and stir together. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.
  7. In a small bowl combine all of the panko topping ingredients. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.

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