Cheesy Taco Pasta is bursting with flavor and texture and is ready in less than 30 minutes! Hearty meat, tomatoes, and pasta, smothered in a creamy taco spiced sauce, that’s topped off with melty cheese makes this a meal that the whole family will love!
If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
WHAT IS TACO PASTA?
Taco Pasta is a nod to the childhood favorite, Hamburger Helper Beef Taco, a classic that so many of us grew up on. But let me tell you, this homemade version is so much better!
This quick, 30 minute meal has all the ingredients of a perfect hearty main dish. Made with lean beef, spicy Tex-Mex flavors, filling pasta, and a creamy, cheesy sauce; you will smile with every bite!
The best part is you can pre-cook the pasta and use leftover taco meat to cut the cook time down to 15 minutes!
This dish is so easy and delicious that it will quickly become a favorite go-to recipe during those busy weeknights. Once you make it, it will quickly become a dish the whole family loves!
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my disclosure policy here.
TACO PASTA INGREDIENTS
- Rotini pasta
- white onions
- ground beef
- taco seasoning
- sour cream
Pasta – I like rotini or corkscrew shape for this recipe but use your favorite. Bowties work great too!
Ground Beef – I like a lean ground beef (93/7) for this but use what you have. Leaner beef might need a little oil in the pan when browning the meat.
Taco Seasoning – You can use a 1 ounce packet from the store (Old El Paso is great) or use a homemade taco seasoning. I have a mild version that is delicious!
Spices – I add additional garlic powder, salt, and pepper to this dish.
Sour Cream – Feel free to use a low fat or fat free version of your favorite brand.
Cheese – I like the flavor of Colby Jack with the taco seasoning but use your favorite or what you have on hand. Cheddar cheese or a Mexican blend taste great too!
Rotel – If you don’t have a can of this you can use a drained can of diced tomatoes and a small can of chopped green chilies.
Looking for more comfort food? Follow LTB on Pinterest!
HOW TO MAKE TACO PASTA
ONE: Cook pasta al dente according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
TWO: In a pan, over medium high heat, add oil and chopped onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the onions are softened. Add the ground beef and break it down into pieces.
THREE: Add the taco seasoning, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook the meat until there is no longer pink. Add the cooked pasta. Mix until the pasta is all covered with the meat mixture.
FOUR: Add the drained can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilies and mix. Add the sour cream and shredded cheese to the pasta and mix well until all ingredients are well blended. Serve and Enjoy!
For the full recipe and detailed baking instructions, please see the recipe card at the end of this post.
CAN I FREEZE IT?
You can store it in an air tight freezer safe container for up to 3 months. Next time you make it, double the recipe and freeze some for a busy weeknight meal.
HOW TO COOK PASTA AL DENTE
Cooking pasta al dente is easier than you think!
First, grab a pot that is large enough for the amount of pasta you cooking. Pasta needs room to cook!
Second, the water needs to at a FULL rolling boil prior to adding the pasta.
Third, stir every so often. When you add the pasta, the boil inevitably halts and you want the pasta to continue to move to ensure even cooking and to avoid sticking.
Finally, taste! This recipe calls for corkscrew pasta which is a thicker pasta and takes a little longer to cook. Start checking between 9 to 11 minutes.
A perfectly al dente noodle will have a good chew with a slightly undercooked center.
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVERS
You can store it in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
CAN I MAKE IT IN THE SLOW COOKER OR INSTANT POT?
For the Crock Pot, brown the ground beef and drain. Add the meat, onion, Rotel, taco season, spices, and 1 cup of water to a slow cooker or crock pot. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 4 hours.
Separately, cook the pasta according to the package. While pasta is cooking, add sour cream to the meat mixture in the slow cooker and stir until incorporated. Add pasta and cheese to crock pot and mix well. Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes and enjoy!
For Instant Pot, begin by turning the setting to sauté. Add in ground beef and onions. Crumble ground beef and allow to cook until browned. Drain any excess fat.
Turn pot off, and add water, scraping up all flavor bits from the beef and onion. Add tomatoes, taco seasoning, and spices. Mix well.
Add pasta and cover with water. Close and secure lid. Set on high for 4 minutes and do a quick release. Carefully remove lid and stir in sour cream and cheese until all is melted and everything is smothered in the sauce and enjoy!
TIPS FOR NO LEFTOVERS
- substitute ground turkey, ground pork, or even ground lamb instead of ground beef
- change the shape of the pasta to bow tie or your favorite shape. A short pasta noodle works best.
- add in some veggies like bell peppers for more color and texture.
- make it vegetarian by adding beans (black beans are great in this) instead of meat.
- homemade taco seasoning is best.
- shred your cheese at home from a block for better melting.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
This hearty and comforting one pot, 30 minute meal, is perfect for the whole family. Easy to make, it feeds a crowd with plenty of leftovers!
MORE EASY DINNER RECIPES
- Cock Pot Taco Meat
- Easy Ground Beef Recipes
- Frito Pie Casserole
- Homemade Italian Meat Sauce
- Healthy Ground Turkey Chili
- Instant Pot Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
@LeftoversThenBreakfast.com. Content and photographs are copyright protected. Sharing of this recipe is both encourages and appreciated. Copying and/or pasting full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited.