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Taco Pasta

This amazing one-pot taco pasta combines two of my favorite dishes. It’s full of flavor, and my family devours it.

The best part is how easy it is to make. Brown some ground beef with onions and garlic, then added taco seasoning for that classic taco flavor.

It’s the perfect combo of pasta night and Taco Tuesday. Your whole family will love it. 

Taco pasta tossed in skillet pan on a with wooden ladle.
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Why You’ll Love This Taco Pasta

One-Pot: This taco pasta is a complete meal made in just one pot. It’ll save you a ton of time and effort on cleanup.

Flavor Fiesta: Taco seasoning, salsa, diced tomatoes, and melty cheeses create an explosion of Mexican-inspired flavors. Plus, the cheese and pasta add some Italian elements. 

Quick & Easy: Ready in about 30 minutes, this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights.

Taco pasta tossed in skillet pan with a wooden ladle.

Ingredients

  • Lean Ground Beef: Beef is the star protein that brings a meaty flavor and satisfying texture to every bite. Look for at least a 93/7 ratio of lean to fat.
  • Medium Pasta Shells: You can get creative with the type of pasta you use. However, I like medium-sized shells best. Their pockets are perfect for capturing all the cheese and zesty flavors. 
  • Taco Seasoning Mix: Pick up a store-bought packet or make your own. Either way, its blend of spices will infuse the pasta with an authentic Mexican flair. 
  • Veggies: Use the ultimate trio: onions, garlic, and red bell pepper. They add color, flavor, and crunch. Plus, they make the dish smell amazing. 
  • Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies: Use fire-roasted tomatoes with a kick of green chilies for a lively burst of flavor. 
  • Salsa: What kind of Mexican meal doesn’t include salsa?! Again, use your favorite brand or make one of these 25 homemade salsa recipes.
  • Low-Sodium Beef Broth: This savory liquid will cook the pasta and infuse it with even more flavor. 
  • Heavy Cream: Believe it or not, this secret ingredient brings everything together. It’ll transform the sauce into something lusciously creamy and comforting. 
  • Cheeses: I use a blend of sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack. They melt perfectly for a gooey, cheesy finish. 
  • Salt & Pepper: The essential seasoning duo. 
  • Optional Toppings: You can go as wild as you like with your toppings. I recommend cilantro, jalapenos, sour cream, and diced avocado, but you can use whatever you want.
Saucy taco pasta served in a bowl with sour cream and fork.

How to Make Taco Pasta

Don’t worry! The steps for making taco pasta aren’t nearly as long as the ingredient list. 

1. Brown the beef. Brown the beef over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Break it into smaller chunks, and drain any excess fat. 

2. Cook the veggies. Add the diced onion and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. Then, stir in the taco seasoning and garlic and cook for another minute. 

3. Add the liquids. Pour in the diced tomatoes with chilies, salsa, beef broth, and heavy cream. Stir the mixture well and bring it to a boil. 

4. Cook the pasta. Add the uncooked pasta shells and stir to submerge them in the liquid. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Then, cover and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

5. Add the cheese. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the shredded cheeses until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

6. Add toppings and serve. Serve the pasta hot, garnished with any desired toppings. Enjoy!

Serving of Taco pasta with sour cream in a white plate.

Tips for the Best Taco Pasta

When making taco pasta, be sure to remember the following: 

  • Ditch the fat. The easiest way to do this is by purchasing lean (or extra lean) ground beef. You should also drain excess grease and fat after cooking it.
  • Don’t drain! For this recipe, dump the entire can of tomatoes with chilies into the pot. The extra liquid will help cook the pasta. 
  • Put in some elbow grease. Be sure to stir often while the pasta is cooking. Doing so will prevent it from sticking and ensure even cooking. 
  • Switch up the cheeses. If sharp cheddar and Monterey Jack aren’t your thing, that’s okay! Use whatever cheeses you like best. I sometimes substitute pepper jack for a bit of extra heat. 
  • Pick your perfect protein. This recipe tastes just as heavenly with ground turkey or chicken. You can even leave out the meat entirely and substitute black beans. 
  • Play with the pasta. I don’t mean this literally, of course. But feel free to experiment with different types of pasta to see which ones you like best. 
Serving of taco pasta with sour cream on top.

How to Store

Depending on the size of your family, you may end up with leftovers. After all, this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dish is incredibly filling and goes a long way. 

To Store: Place the cooled pasta in an air-tight container and refrigerate it for 3 to 5 days. 

To Freeze: Transfer the cooled pasta to freezer-safe bags or containers. Freeze it for up to 3 months. 

To Reheat: Let the pasta thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating it. Then, reheat individual servings in the microwave until heated through.

Reheat the entire pot of leftovers on the stove over medium heat. You may need to add a splash of broth or water to loosen them up.

More Tex-Mex Dinners You’ll Love

Fajita Pasta
Mexican Rice Casserole
Chicken Fajitas
Rotel Pasta

Taco Pasta

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

5

minutes
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

659

kcal

Transform Taco Tuesday with this incredible taco pasta! Packed with ground beef, salsa, veggies, shells, and cheese, everyone will devour it!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (93% lean or higher)

  • 1 packet taco seasoning mix

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

  • 1 cup salsa

  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells

  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • optional toppings: chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeños, sour cream, diced avocado

Instructions

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, brown the ground beef over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Drain excess fat if needed.
  • Add the diced onion and bell pepper. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the taco seasoning and garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
  • Pour in the diced tomatoes with green chilies, salsa, beef broth, and heavy cream. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the uncooked pasta shells and stir to submerge in the liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 12-15 minutes, until pasta is al dente, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses until melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot, garnished with desired toppings like chopped cilantro, sliced jalapeños, a dollop of sour cream, or diced avocado. Enjoy!

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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