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Taco Pasta

This simple one-pot Taco Pasta recipe is the perfect comfort food with a little Mexican flare. It has hearty ground beef, cheesy pasta, and is seasoned with taco seasoning. Plus, it’s ready in 30 minutes!

Easy One-Pot Taco Pasta Recipe

Don’t you love when you come across a recipe like this one? It hits all the spots – easy, quick, delicious, kid-friendly, and you only need one pot to make it! This Taco Pasta is a family favorite and it will soon be one of yours, too.

The ingredients are simple. This recipe is one way that we love to use up any ground beef that we have in the refrigerator. And the rest of the ingredients are probably laying around the kitchen already. Chicken broth, canned tomatoes, taco seasoning, and pasta shells are all shelf-stable ingredients that you can easily stock up on.

We also always have onions and garlic around, too…which provide tons of authentic and fresh flavor to the dish. You might look at this dish and think that it looks like Hamburger Helper. And you’re right! But this is our DIY and taco-flavored version of the popular family-friendly meal. (We think you’ll like this one better, too!)

a wooden spoon in a pot with taco pasta made with shells, ground beef, and tomatoes

Why You’ll Love This Cheesy Taco Pasta

We know you’re going to love this pasta dish as much as we do. Here’s why it’s a hit in our kitchen.

  • It’s a one-pot meal. There is no need for multiple pots and pans here. And clean-up is a breeze!
  • It’s affordable. This meal will not break the bank at all.
  • This dish is very kid friendly. The kids in our family devour this meal without any fuss. It’s always a hit among the entire family.
  • It’s ready in under 30 minutes. Need a last-minute dinner idea? This is it! It’s so quick and easy.
ingredients in small bowls on a kitchen counter including cheese, pasta shells, salsa, onions, ground beef, and garlic

What You’ll Need

Here is what you need to make this Taco Pasta recipe. Remember, the recipe card below will have the exact amounts that you need for each ingredient.

  • Olive Oil: Any other cooking oil will work, too.
  • Onion: We like to use white or yellow onion for this recipe.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic all the way! And you can use more if you’d like. Use a little bit less if you need to substitute with dried garlic like garlic powder or granulated garlic.
  • Ground Beef: Alternatively, you can also use ground turkey for this recipe.
  • Taco Seasoning: We highly recommend making your own Taco Seasoning! It’s way healthier and more natural than the store-bought packages.
  • Diced Tomatoes: We used mild Rotel Diced Tomatoes so that it’s kid friendly. If you want it to be spicy you can use HOT Rotel tomatoes.
  • Chicken Broth: You can also use beef or vegetable broth.
  • Pasta Shells: You could use another small pasta shape like Rotini or Fusilli.
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: Mexican-blend cheese would also be delicious!
close up of a taco pasta dish with shells, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese

Topping Ideas

We treat this dish a little bit like chili in the sense that we get to add a bunch of toppings! It’s fun for the kids and it adds depth to the flavor of the dish. Here are some of our favorite topping ideas.

  • Shredded Cheese: You can use more cheddar, pepper jack, or Mexican blend.
  • Sour Cream: Plain Greek yogurt will also work.
  • Green Onions: Or you can use fresh sliced chives.
  • Cilantro: If cilantro isn’t your thing, stick with green onions or chives. You can also try parsley.

How to Make Taco Pasta

This recipe is quick and easy! Here are the simple steps that you need to follow:

  • First, cook the onion and the garlic. You’ll want to cook them until they start to become tender and fragrant.
  • Then add the ground meat. Cook the ground meat for about 10 minutes or until it’s no longer pink.
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, and taco seasoning. Stir to combine everything.
  • Next, add the dried pasta. Stir and then let the skillet come to a low boil. Loosely cover the pot and let the pasta cook for about 12-15 minutes.
  • Finally, add the cheese. Mix everything again and then divide into portions. And don’t forget to add your favorite toppings!
plated pasta dish with ground beef, shells, cheese, green onions, and tomatoes

Tips & Variation Ideas

Here are a few different ways to mix this recipe up and some tips to help you along the way.

  • Use ground turkey instead of ground beef. It’s an easy healthy swap!
  • Taco Pasta can be made dairy-free. You simply just need to omit the cheese. The rest of the ingredients are dairy-free.
  • Add some beans or vegetables. You can add black beans, pinto beans, or corn, for added vegetables!
  • Be sure to cover your skillet. Cover the skillet after you add the pasta to help the pasta cook quickly. We leave the lid on slightly offset.
multiple plated pasta dishes with ground beef, shells, cheese, green onions, and tomatoes

What Goes Well With One Pot Taco Pasta?

Here are a few of our favorite ways to serve this recipe. It’s great on his own but there are also a few fun dishes to try with it!

  • Chips and Salsa: We love to serve a side of chips and salsa with this Taco Pasta. Pulled Pork Nachos also work well and you can also use the topping for the pasta on the nachos!
  • Veggie Tacos: Because there’s already meat in the pasta dish, you can pair it with some veggie-focused tacos like our Air Fried Avocado Tacos.
  • Cornbread: Because this recipe is so simple to put together, you shouldn’t have trouble finding the time to put together a quick batch of cornbread. We love the Krusteaz or Jiffy boxed brands. Or you can make spicy cornbread with jalapenos.
  • Crescent Rolls: This Air Fryer Crescent Rolls recipe is seriously good!
close up of a taco pasta dish with shells, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese

How to Store & Reheat Leftovers

This dish is best served fresh, but you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

You can reheat leftover Taco Pasta in the microwave or a use a skillet again. Keep in mind that you may need to add a little water or broth if you use a skillet to add some moisture.

close up of a taco pasta dish with shells, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese

Can I Freeze This?

We don’t recommend freezing this dish because the pasta tends to get mushy when you freeze it. But this recipe comes together very quickly, so there’s really no need to make it a freezer meal.

More Easy Pasta Dinner Ideas

Yield: 4 servings

Taco Pasta

close up of a taco pasta dish with shells, tomato sauce, ground beef, and cheese

This Taco Pasta is comfort food made with cheesy pasta, hearty ground beef, and seasoned with taco seasoning. It's a one-pot meal that's ready in 30 minutes.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound ground beef, or ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 can (10 oz) Rotel diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 oz pasta shells
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, more for serving

Optional Toppings

  • Shredded Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Green Onions
  • Cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic and sauté 1 more minute. 
  2. Add the ground meat, breaking apart the meat as it cooks, for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in the taco seasoning, Rotel and chicken broth, stirring until combined. Add the pasta shells and stir to combine. 
  4. Turn the heat to HIGH and bring everything to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium-low, loosely cover the pot, and simmer until the pasta is cooked through (about 12-15 minutes). Stir frequently to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If needed, add a little extra broth till pasta is cooked. 
  5. Stir in shredded cheese and serve immediately!

Notes

Storage:

  • Best served fresh! However, you can store leftovers, in an airtight contianer, in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 789Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 191mgSodium: 1364mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 56g

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3 comments on “Taco Pasta”

  1. Pasta does not cook in 12-15 minutes on medium low. Currently working on 20 minutes in medium-high. If I make it again, I’ll cook the pasta separately and then mix…will go a lot faster.

    1. Hi Jennifer! Did you bring it to a boil to start when you added the pasta? If you brought it to a boil and then lowered the heat, the noodles (if using the small or medium sized pasta shells) should definitely cook in 15 minutes or less. They cook at a rolling boil in 8 minutes. I’m sorry you had issues, but glad you still enjoyed it!

  2. Pingback: Shrimp Alfredo – Recipes For Your Granny

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