Cheesy Taco Pasta

Cheesy Taco Pasta is loaded with cheese, ground beef, taco seasoning, and salsa. It is Tex-Mex comfort food ready in less than 30 minutes.

This One-Pot dinner is super easy to prepare and equally delicious. If you are looking for more Mexican flavors, then check out my Nacho Cheese Sauce, Mango Salsa, and Rotisserie Chicken Tacos.

taco pasta

One-Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe

This Cheesy Taco Pasta recipe is the perfect family dinner choice. Made with only 6 ingredients and ready in about 20 minutes, this one-pan meal is definitely a keeper!

It is very similar to the popular hamburger helper with which we all grew up. The flavors are tense, and the Taco seasoning is the central ingredient here. It really goes well with the pasta, ground beef, and shredded cheeses.

Also, you can easily modify it by adding tortilla chips, ground sausage, or other veggies.

To make it quick and easy, I use store-bought salsa. However, you can use fresh vegetables to the mix instead of salsa, or even fresh mango salsa. Feel free to use your favorite cheeses as well. Whatever you have on hand can be used here. It is truly one of the easiest dinners you can make at home. 

taco pasta in a skillet

Cheesy Taco Pasta Ingredients:

You will need the following ingredients:

  • Pasta – I like using Rotini here because it soaks the ingredients really well. Alternatively, you can go with your preferred pasta.
  • Ground Beef – Good quality lean ground beef.
  • Taco Seasoning – You can easily find it in the local grocery store or online.
  • SalsaHomemade salsa is obviously the best way to go. However, to save time, use canned salsa. Feel free to use your favorite brand. Also, for a spicier kick go with a spicier type.
  • Shredded Mexican Cheese – This is what brings everything together, giving this dish a creamy and gooey texture!

How to Make the Best Cheesy Taco Pasta from scratch?

For the exact measures and steps, please see the recipe card below. But the general steps are as follows:

  1. Cook the pasta: First, cook the rotini pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside. It is best not to overcook it. Keep it al-Dante because you will be cooking it later with other ingredients.
  2. Brown the ground beef: In a skillet, over medium heat brown the ground beef for a few minutes.
  3. Mix in the ingredients: Next, add the taco seasoning along with some water to the beef, and stir gently until the water is evaporated. Then, add the cooked pasta, and half of the shredded cheese and mix well.
  4. Serve: Remove the skillet from heat, and the remaining cheese on top and let it melt. Enjoy warm.

rotini pasta with beef

Taco Pasta Variations and Substitutions:

  • Meat: Swap the ground beef with ground turkey, pork, sausage, or chicken.
  • Pasta: Use different pasta types such as elbow macaroni or large pasta shells. Everything will work here.
  • Veggies: Feel free to add more fresh veggies to the mix, such as spinach, mushroom, or fresh tomatoes.
  • Tofu: For a vegetarian take, substitute the meat with tofu.
  • Spicier: Add some sliced chopped jalapenos or chili peppers.
  • Bacon: If you love bacon, then garnish it with some bacon crumbs.
  • Onion and minced garlic: Both are great here and adds quite a lot of flavor.
  • Oven-Baked: Want to make it into a casserole? Then, arrange the ingredients into a casserole dish, and pop it into the oven at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
  • Dairy-Free Taco Pasta: Skip the cheese altogether, and use some dairy-free cheese, or guacamole instead! Yummy!

How to make homemade taco seasoning?

I highly recommend making the seasoning at home, since it is very easy, cheap and you can control the ingredients. Also, it stores well for months.

Simply combine these ingredients in a bowl:

  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/3 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ ground black pepper

What goes with Cheesy Taco Pasta?

This is a full meal on its own. However, you can pair it with the following:

Air Fryer Asparagus

Cabbage Salad

Broccoli Salad

Avocado Corn Salad

How to store leftovers?

This is a great make-ahead taco dish. To store leftovers, simply use an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes prior to serving.

More Tex-Mex dishes to try:

cheesy rotini pasta

Recipe Tips:

  • Swap up the ground beef with ground sausage, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • To garnish, use some freshly chopped parsley or green onion.
  • Also, if you like it extra-cheesy and creamy, then add more cheese at the end.
  • For more proteins, mix in some black beans.
  • In addition, if you are looking for a gluten-free version, then use gluten-free pasta.
  • For more toppings, I suggest incorporating leafy greens, diced tomatoes, sour cream, mango salsa, cilantro.
5 from 6 votes
taco pasta
Cheesy Taco Pasta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Cheesy Taco Pasta is loaded with cheese, ground beef, taco seasoning, and salsa. It is Tex-Mex comfort food ready in less than 30 minutes.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: Cheesy Taco Pasta, Taco Pasta
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 631 kcal
Author: Catalina Castravet
  • 8 oz Rotini pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning store-bought
  • 1 ½ cups salsa
  • 2 cups shredded mexican cheese
  1. Cook the rotini pasta to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat cook the ground beef, breaking it with a wooden spoon, until fully cooked,, abou 7 minutes. Drain fat.
  3. Add taco seasoning and broth, stir and cook until water is gone.
  4. Add cooked pasta and salsa to the pan and mix well.
  5. Add 1 ½ cup cheese and mix until melted.
  6. Remove pot from heat and add remaining cheese on top and allow to melt.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Cheesy Taco Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 631 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Fat 40g62%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 134mg45%
Sodium 1365mg59%
Potassium 782mg22%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 42g84%
Vitamin A 955IU19%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 432mg43%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

easy cheesy taco pasta pin


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