The Cozy Cook

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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.
  • This recipe is in The Cozy Cookbook on page 160!

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!)

4.95 from 163 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.
  • This recipe is in The Cozy Cookbook on page 160!

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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447 comments on “Taco Pasta – One Pot!”

  1. Can you use oat milk instead of whole milk?

  2. Very good! Do you think this could be done in a crockpot?

    • I’m so glad that you loved it Nicole!! I don’t typically recommend pasta recipes for the crock pot as the pasta can get kind of gummy. It needs to boil to develop the right texture. ❤️

  3. This turned out great! Even my picky eaters loved it !

  4. Great taste and very filling. Everyone loved it. I had to make more so they can take for lunch next day. Better than hamburger helper. 

  5. Made it for our family Cinco de Mayo dinner.   Very yummy and was a hit.  Forgot to buy the small shells so I used rigatoni- bigger but we’re a pasta loving family.  Didn’t add the cheese at the end; put cheese out in bowls and let folk add as they wanted.  Thanks for this one.   😊

  6. I want to make for Bunco x 2, one with chicken and one with beef.  I want to make ahead of time and reheat in a foil casserole pan in the oven.  Any recommendations?

    • Hi Tina, I would undercook the pasta a little to make sure that it doesn’t become mushy. ❤️❤️❤️ Sternos are a great way to heat and serve pasta that’s been prepared ahead of time.

  7. Spot on! Was not spicy, which you can always add. Family loved it, thanks for sharing!

  8. Huge hit with the family!  So easy to fix on a busy sports night. This is going in our pasta night rotation for sure. 

    • Excellent! I’m so happy that you loved it Michelle- I agree, such a perfect recipe for busy nights when you have a lot going on and need to get everyone fed! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

  9. This looks yummy!!! If I add canned corn and beans, at what point in cooking should I put those in?

  10. This looks so yummy, I’m planning to make this tonight! I forgot the whole milk though – what do you recommend as a sub? I have 2% but also have whipping cream.

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