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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!)

4.94 from 88 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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261 comments on “Taco Pasta – One Pot!”

  1. This is recipe is good for winter dish, I think I would put cumin chili powder green chili peppers.I think I would leave the milk out of this recipe I think it will not keep as long it scares me I think it will sour if kept to long

  2. I was looking for something other than quesadillas to make with leftover taco meat. This was really good!
    I did have to make some substitutions because I’m determined not to go grocery shopping till after the New Year. But it still turned out fantastic. This is going in my meal planning spreadsheet for sure! Thank you.

    • You’re very welcome Autumn! I love your determination to not grocery shop until the new year. I make little goals like that for myself all the time. I’m so happy you enjoyed this and were able to use your leftover taco meat. Thanks so much for the great review!💖

  3. This was a hit! Easy to make and delicious. Recommend doubling the recipe.

  4. Amazing!!!! So easy to make. I made or three times on one week.  😂😂😂❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    • Wahooo! I’m so happy this is such a hit. When I get excited about a new recipe I make it a couple of times a week too lol. It happens a lot with soup😂 Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  5. Could you substitute 2% milk for whole milk? I never really have whole milk on my hand as my family prefers 2%.

    • That should be just fine Krysten! Just add it slowly and stir continuously as you add it. You may want to heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds before adding it 🙂 (Just to make sure it doesn’t curdle.)

  6. Next time I make it I’d try Mexican cheese instead of Monterey cheese. We really enjoyed it very tasty.

  7. This is absolutely delicious and easy! 

  8. So easy and so good! If I can make it, anyone can! 

  9. This was delicious, very easy to make, and has little cleanup. My husband, who doesn’t usually like pasta dishes like this, went for seconds. Thank you for the recipe.

  10. I love this recipe!! And better yet, my kids love it! Easy to make and I always have the ingredients on hand.

    • I am so happy that you love this recipe Danielle! I LOVE when it’s a hit with the kids too, my daughter goes nuts for this one as well. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review, I really appreciate it! -Stephanie

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