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Taco Pasta – One Pot!

This Creamy Taco Pasta Recipe is a 30 minute meal that you can make in one pot! Pasta shells are smothered in cheesy taco sauce with ground beef and tomatoes.

Be sure to try my Taco Lasagna and Taco Stuffed Shells recipes next!

A wooden spoon scooping up taco pasta from a pot.

Taco Pasta

This is one incredibly quick and easy one pot pasta recipe that I love making for my family! I even make it for guests because it’s always such a hit. (And a great way to make use of ground beef.)

It’s like a taco version of hamburger helper, but so much better than what you’d get from a box. And literally just as fast.

I kid you not when I say that this is truly a 30 minute meal, and the fact that you only need ONE POT is just a major bonus.

How to Make it

See recipe card below for ingredient quantities and full instructions.

Brown the ground beef over medium-high heat. Drain. Add butter and garlic, cook for one minute.

Add all remaining ingredients except Cheese and Pasta. Bring to a gentle boil.

A pot with ground beef next to a pot with sauce to make Taco Pasta.

Add the pasta shells and submerge in the liquid.

Cover & Cook until al dente, as indicated on package instructions.

A pot with uncooked pasta shells in sauce in sauce next to a pot with cooked pasta shells in sauce.

Reduce the heat to low. Add the cheese and stir until combined.

Yup. That’s it. Taco Pasta is Served.

Cheese being added and stirred into a pot of taco pasta.

Pro Tips

  • This recipe makes a lot of sauce, (which I love), feel free to use a little more than 1/2 lb. of pasta.
  • All chicken broth or all beef broth can be used instead of a combination if preferred.
  • The cheese options are very flexible. Monterey Jack and Mozzarella are great choices. Shred them from a block at home for the creamiest consistency.
  • Other types of pasta may also be used, refer to the box for cooking times. Examples include rotini,  penne, and bow tie pasta.
  • Diced or shredded chicken can also be used instead of ground beef. Mix it in at the end of cooking, boiling it with the pasta can make it tough.
  • Optional ingredient additions: Corn, bell peppers, black beans, jalapenos.

Storage

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Taco Pasta with shells on a white plate in a creamy red sauce with tomatoes.

Tools For This Recipe

(Amazon affiliate links)- Check out all of my kitchen essentials here.

  • 4-Quart Dutch Oven– this is the perfect size for this soup. This one is high quality and you’ll have it forever. (I use one almost every time I cook!)
  • Box Cheese Grater– Shredding from a block tastes and melts much better than packaged cheese.
  • Pasta Shells– I used Colavita brand for this recipe, (I like the shape)!
  • Garlic Twister– it’s much more flavorful to mince fresh garlic. This twister does it in seconds and is easy to clean and store.

Try These Next

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A pot full of Taco Pasta with pasta shells in a creamy taco sauce.

Taco Pasta - (One Pot!)

4.90 from 57 ratings
This Creamy Taco Pasta Recipe is a 30 minute meal that you can make in one pot! Pasta shells are smothered in cheesy taco sauce with ground beef and tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut into cubes (equal to 1/3 cup)* can sub with ¾ cup shredded cheese
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef, 85% lean
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 oz. packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Beef broth
  • 1 cup Chicken broth
  • 1 cup Whole milk, at room temp
  • 1 (10 oz.) can Rotel Tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • ½ lb. Medium pasta shells, see notes

Instructions

  • Shred the cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese from a block and set aside. It should be near room temperature when added to the pasta sauce.
  • Cook and crumble the ground beef over medium-high heat in a high-walled pot or dutch oven. Drain grease.
  • Melt the butter in the same pot and add and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese and pasta. Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a gentle boil. Add the pasta and submerge it in the liquid. Cover and cook according to package instructions. Slide a silicone spatula along the bottom of the pot halfway through to lift any ingredients that may be settling to the bottom.
  • Remove cover and ensure the pasta is sufficiently cooked. Taste-test a noodle for doneness before proceeding If needed, cover and cook longer, until your desired doneness is obtained.
  • Turn heat to low. Gradually stir in cheese until melted.
  • There will be plenty of sauce but it will thicken upon standing and the pasta will continue to absorb it.
  • Serve once desired consistency is obtained.

Notes

Pro Tips
  • This recipe makes a lot of sauce, (which I love), feel free to use a little more than 1/2 lb. of pasta.
  • All chicken broth or all beef broth can be used instead of a combination if preferred.
  • The cheese options are very flexible. Shred them from a block for the creamiest consistency. Bagged shredded cheese doesn't melt as well.
  • Other types of pasta may also be used, refer to the box for cooking times. Examples include rotini,  penne, and bow tie pasta.
  • Diced or shredded chicken can also be used instead of ground beef. Mix it in at the end of cooking, boiling it with the pasta can make it tough.
  • Optional ingredient additions: Corn, bell peppers, black beans, jalapenos.

The nutritional facts are an estimate and are per serving. There are 6 servings in this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 503kcal, Carbohydrates: 39g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 100mg, Sodium: 1352mg, Potassium: 722mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1226IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 472mg, Iron: 4mg
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162 comments on “Taco Pasta – One Pot!”

  1. I made this recipe tonight it really is delicious and very saucy.  Building on next time we are going to add some corn and black beans.   Love it

  2. This is an excellent one pot dish, thick and creamy it is quick and easy to make in a pinch

  3. Do you think this would freeze well? I made it for my picky eating family recently and they LOVED it and I would love to include it in my next round of pre-baby freezer meals.

  4. Does whole milk work best or could I substitute with whatever milk works best for my family? 

    • The recipe calls for whole milk because it does work best. ☺️ What alternative that works best for your family were you thinking? Some milk alternatives comes with a sweet taste. (Soy for example I wouldn’t recommend.)

  5. Loved this one-pot recipe! Easy clean up and delicious! Thank you for this, I will be adding this meal to my menu 

  6. If I need to feed 18 instead of 6 people should I triple all the ingredients? That send like a ton on liquid if I do that.

    • Hi Callie, I wouldn’t be able to confirm for sure without trying it. You need enough liquid to submerge the pasta completely, I would imagine you would need to triple it but you may have to use make a few judgement calls along the way as well.

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