20 Minute One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta is the best comfort food: delicious taco flavors in a homemade meat sauce with shell pasta. And it’s ready in under 20 minutes for a quick and easy weeknight dinner that’s so much better than hamburger helper. Plus video tutorial!
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 One Pot 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 doing it 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, and it’s best to make your own homemade taco seasoning. If you prefer to buy taco seasoning at store, you can find it in packets or jars for larger quantities. It’s better to use lower sodium seasoning with mild flavor, and add more salt or spice as needed while cooking.
Once everything is in the pan, just let it cook for 5-10 minutes until your pasta is al dente… 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 stored in the fridge for several days and the flavor even intensifies. Just be sure to reheat thoroughly.
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.
Watch How to Make One Pot Taco Pasta:
Easy One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta (with video)
- 3 cups small shell pasta
- 1 pound ground beef, lean or extra lean
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional
- 1/4 cup taco seasoning
- 2 cups 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!
- 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
Looking for more taco recipes ideas?
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