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This Cheesy Taco Pasta is so easy to make! It only needs one pot and 30 minutes. Ground beef and shells are simmered in a taco seasoned sauce, and topped with lots of cheese for a delicious family dinner recipe.

Bowl of taco pasta served.


 

This easy to make, one pot, 30 minute, taco pasta is perfect for a family dinner! Made with real ingredients and a homemade taco seasoning. This pasta dish is loaded with juicy ground beef, tender noodles, and melty cheese! Control the spice and seasoning to meet your family’s needs and tastes. 

Taco Pasta Ingredients & Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make taco pasta.
  • Ground Beef: I use ground beef to make this recipe, you can of course substitute with a lean ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes are the go-to in our home, they have a wonderful texture that blends into dishes. You can use tomato sauce instead or diced tomatoes.
  • Cheese: Always shred your own fresh cheese, it melts so much better. Substitute the cheddar cheese for a Monterey Jack or a Pepper Jack for a different flavoring.
  • Pasta: This taco pasta can be made with shells or elbow macaroni. Keep the noodle choice smaller and with all those nook and crannies to collect the sauce with!

Find the complete recipe card below with measurements and full instructions.

How to make Cheesy Taco Pasta

First, cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking up the meat while it cooks. 

Once the meat is mostly browned, add in the diced onion and continue to cook until the meat is fully browned and the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. 

Ground beef being cooked in a skillet with taco seasonings.

Next, add the chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. Stir to coat the meat in the taco seasoning blend. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, beef broth and pasta shells. Stir to combine and ensure the noodles are pressed down into the liquid. 

Skillet with ground beef, sauce and shell noodles.

Bring this to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let this cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to simmer to reduce the sauce until the sauce is thickened and the noodles are softened. Pour in the cream and stir. 

Finally, add the cheese and stir in while the cheese melts.

Skillet of taco pasta.

Cooking Tips

  • Additions: Use this opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into the family. Add some diced bell peppers, fresh corn, black beans or pinto beans.
  • Spice: Want to increase the heat level? You can add some diced green chiles or jalapeños.
  • Cream: Pouring in the cream at the end when the heat is lower helps us make sure there are no issues with curdling. I do recommend using cream and not regular milk due to the possibility of curdling at higher heat. If needed you can do a half and half mixture.
Up close of taco pasta.

Serving

Serve the taco pasta with extra grated cheese on top and fresh cilantro. You could also add a dollop of sour cream, a drizzle of crema, or a spoonful of salsa for some heat.

What to Serve with Taco Pasta

Served taco pasta in bowl.

Storing Leftovers

  • Refrigerator: Store your leftovers in a sealed container for 5-6 days. Reheat in a skillet or in the microwave. If needed add a splash of chicken broth to loosen it back up, the noodles will soak up the sauce when stored.
  • Freezer: Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Seal and store for 3-4 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a skillet. 

One Pot Taco Pasta

4.88 from 8 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Serene
This Cheesy Taco Pasta is so easy to make! It only needs one pot and 30 minutes. Ground beef and shells are simmered in a taco seasoned sauce, and topped with lots of cheese for a delicious family dinner recipe.
Homemade taco pasta in skillet.

Ingredients  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ½ pound pasta noodles shells
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese grated
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions 

  • Cook the ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat, breaking up the meat while it cooks. 
  • Once the meat is mostly browned, add in the onion and continue to cook until the meat is fully browned and the onion is softened. 
  • Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. 
  • Drain any excess grease, then return the skillet to the stovetop. 
  • Add the chili powder, salt, cumin, oregano, garlic and onion powders. Stir to coat the meat in the seasoning mix. 
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, beef broth and pasta shells. Stir to combine and ensure the noodles are pressed down into the liquid. 
  • Bring this to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let this cook for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to simmer to reduce the sauce until the sauce is thickened and the noodles are softened. 
  • Pour in the cream and stir. 
  • Add the cheese and stir in while the cheese melts. 
  • Serve topped with fresh cilantro and extra grated cheese as desired. 

Notes

  • Ground Beef: I use ground beef to make this recipe, you can of course substitute with a lean ground turkey or ground chicken.
  • Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes are the go-to in our home, they have a wonderful texture that blends into dishes. You can use tomato sauce instead or diced tomatoes.
  • Cheese: Always shred your own fresh cheese, it melts so much better. Substitute the cheddar cheese for a Monterey Jack or a Pepper Jack for a different flavoring.
  • Pasta: This taco pasta can be made with shells or elbow macaroni. Keep the noodle choice smaller and with all those nook and crannies to collect the sauce with!
  • Refrigerator: Store your leftovers in a sealed container for 5-6 days. Reheat in a skillet or in the microwave. If needed add a splash of chicken broth to loosen it back up, the noodles will soak up the sauce when stored.
  • Freezer: Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a freezer-safe container. Seal and store for 3-4 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat in a skillet. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1016mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 811IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 333mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe first published on March 13, 2018. Republished on January 24, 2020 and again on January 31, 2024.


Welcome to my kitchen!

Welcome to the House of Yumm!! My name is Serene. I’m the food photographer, recipe developer, and official taste tester around these parts.

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6 Comments

    1. This was an amazing recipe it was easy and fast I’m 14 and made a double batch of this for our family of 5 and it fed all of us and we had left overs and it had amazing flavor and we give this a 5 star

  1. I would suggest adding some diced tomatoes and maybe some peppers. It needed something chunky other than just the elbow pasta