Cheesy taco pasta is comfort food at its best: delicious taco flavors combined with pasta. And it’s ready in under 20 minutes…
Taco pasta is one of our go-to weeknight dinner options, and it’s also a serious crowd-pleaser for a parties for game day or kids birthdays. Best of all, it’s a foolproof recipe that’s quick to make.
The whole family loves it including the kids, who are absolute taco pasta fanatics. Meaty, cheesy flavors and a soft, oozy texture keep everyone coming back for more…
Don’t forget that taco pasta is basically homemade hamburger helper, those boxes of ground beef pasta. But why settle for packaged food when it’s so easy to make.
How to Make Cheesy Taco Pasta
This cheesy taco pasta is a one pot recipe, meaning the pasta cooks together with the other ingredients. You can cook the pasta separately if you prefer, but it’s definitely easiest all together.
The first step is frying ground beef, onions and garlic (optional) in a large skillet. You want to brown the beef a bit to build some flavor…
Once the beef has some color, add in the rest of the ingredients: tomato sauce, taco seasoning, water and pasta.
The key ingredient is the taco seasoning, which comes in packets like this or jars like this if you’re going make it often. We usually look for lower sodium seasoning with mild flavor, and add more salt or spice as needed while cooking. Alternatively you can make your own using the recipe below.
Once everything is in the pan, just let it cook for 5-10 minutes until your pasta is al dente… This is the easy part!
When you’re ready to serve, remove from the heat and stir in cheese and optional cilantro. We like to serve it straight from the pan!
If you want to make it in advance, it can be be stored in the fridge for several days and the flavor even intensifies. Just be sure to reheat thoroughly.
Watch our video tutorial to see how to make it:
Here are some great taco pasta variations when you’re ready to experiment:
- Substitute minced chicken meat for ground beef
- Use a different pasta such as elbow macaroni or spiral
- Bake it in the skillet with the cheese on top (10 min at 375F)
- Spice it up with some red pepper flakes or hot sauce
To make taco pasta healthier, use extra-lean ground beef, low sodium taco seasoning, reduced fat cheese and whole wheat pasta. Even with these modifications, it’s still a super-delicious meal. Enjoy!
Easy One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta (with video)
One-pot Cheesy Taco Pasta is one of the easiest quick dinner recipes, loaded with ground beef and cheddar cheese. This tasty recipe comes together in less than 20 minutes.
- 3 cups small shells pasta
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 cup onions chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced, optional
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheese cheddar or mozzarella
- fresh cilantro chopped, optional
Place a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
Add ground beef and stir until it is no longer pink. Drain fat from the pan.
Add onions and optional garlic to the beef. Fry for 2-3 minutes until onions are translucent.
Stir in the tomato sauce, taco seasoning, water and pasta.
Loosely cover the pan, reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the pasta is done, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and stir in cheese and optional fresh cilantro. Serve and enjoy!
To make your own taco seasoning, combine these ingredients in a small bowl:
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp salt
Also try our Honey Garlic Shrimp recipe