Taco Pasta | Cookies and Cups

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Cheap taco pasta A super easy family dinner! Loaded with juicy ground beef, salsa, and plenty of Tex-Mex seasonings, this 30-minute recipe is perfect for weeknights.

This dinner idea combines two of our family’s favorites: tacos and creamy pasta. For another fun twist on Italy and Mexico, try this Cheesy Burrito Her Lasagna.

Top view of taco pasta in a white bowl with a fork.

Why you’ll love this taco pasta recipe

We love dinnertime mashups like taco pizza and taco burgers. This time, let’s make creamy, cheesy and satisfying taco pasta! This taco pasta is the perfect weeknight dinner (the whole family will love it). Here’s why:

  • Full of bold flavors. Taco pasta is a hearty, healthy meal that is very satisfying. It’s like a Tex-Mex version of my creamy beef pasta, packed full of southwestern flavor with a punch of cumin, cayenne, and chili powder.
  • (Almost) can be cooked in one frying pan. This pasta dinner combines tender rotini noodles, juicy ground beef, tomatoes, and other Tex-Mex staples like corn, black beans, salsa, and spices, all in the same skillet. Just boil the pasta separately.
  • Ready in 30 minutes. We’ve all felt the end of a busy weeknight. Pasta recipes are a staple for my family’s dinners. This taco pasta is easy to make and always hits the spot.

If you’re a fan of easy skillet dinners like my Skillet Taco Rice or Skillet Tamale Pie, this almost one-pan pasta is for you.

Taco pasta ingredients and text labels overlay each ingredient.

taco pasta ingredients

This recipe uses simple ingredients but packs a lot of big, bold flavors. You can also easily adjust the spices to make the dish milder for kids. Don’t forget to scroll down to the recipe card for the complete ingredient list and recipe details.

  • pasta – I use rotini noodles, but you can also make this recipe with any dried pasta you have on hand. Other recommended dishes include penne, rigatoni, shellfish, fusilli, and bowtie pasta. You can also use spaghetti!
  • Ground beef – This pasta can also be made with ground chicken or turkey.
  • tomato – Canned crushed tomatoes work perfectly here. You can also use diced tomatoes.
  • salsa – Choose a mild or spicy salsa from our store, depending on your preference.
  • seasoning – In addition to a pack of taco seasoning, you’ll need cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
  • corn and black beans – Types of canned food. Remember to drain and rinse first.
  • cheese – Grated cheddar cheese or another melty cheese such as Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, or Mexican Cheese Blend.

How to make taco pasta

Learn how to get warm taco pasta on the table in a few easy steps.

  • Brown the beef. First, fry the ground beef in an oven-safe frying pan. You can do this while you are cooking the pasta al dente in a separate pot.
  • combine. Once the beef is cooked, reduce the heat and stir in the crushed tomatoes, salsa, taco seasoning, and other spices. Finally add the corn and black beans.
  • Add pasta. Drain the boiled pasta noodles and add them to the sauce.
  • bake. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and transfer the pan to a 400°F oven. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and taco pasta is heated through.
Close-up overhead view of a large pot of taco pasta.

tips for success

Here are some tips for the best taco pasta.

  • Use an oven-safe skillet. This recipe can easily go from stovetop to oven with the right skillet. Make sure the pan you’re using is oven-safe, such as a cast iron or stainless steel skillet.
  • Use freshly grated cheese. Cheese freshly grated from the block has the best melting consistency.
  • Boil the pasta until al dente. in Italian, al dente This refers to pasta that is hard to chew. Follow the cooking instructions on the box and be careful not to overcook the pasta before combining it with the sauce (you don’t want the pasta to become mushy, especially since you’ll be baking it later).
  • If your taco pasta seems a little dry, Add a little water and stir as needed to soften the sauce.
Close-up of a wooden spoon stuck in a pot of cheese taco pasta.

easy variations

Looking for a fun way to change up this recipe? Just like traditional tacos, there are so many possibilities to make this pasta your own. Try these ideas:

  • Different protein. As mentioned earlier, you can also make this recipe with other types of meat, such as ground chicken or ground turkey, if you prefer. Leftover cooked shredded chicken or pork carnitas are also delicious options, just stir them in when you add the pasta.
  • More vegetables. Pump up this taco pasta recipe with chopped onions, bell peppers, or jalapenos.
  • vegetarian. For vegetarian taco pasta, omit the ground beef and add a can of black beans or another type of black bean, such as pinto beans. Cooked lentils or meatless mince also work well.
  • Creamy. To make creamy taco pasta, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in sour cream or heavy cream just before baking. Then top with cheese and bake as directed.
Taco pasta in a white bowl next to a fork, a glass of ice water and a frying pan with taco pasta in the background.

what to eat with taco pasta

We like to top our bowls of taco pasta with taco toppings like guacamole (or avocado salsa) and a little sour cream. A sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice brightens up the flavor of this dish even more. Start your meal with a Tex-Mex appetizer like Chicken Flautas or Chicken Nacho Dip, then pair this taco pasta with a crunchy Southwestern Cobb Salad. Of course, you can’t go wrong choosing a classic side of crispy French bread or garlic pulled bread to soak up the extra sauce.

Close-up of taco pasta in a white bowl with a fork.

Storing and reheating leftovers

  • refrigerator. Leftover taco pasta can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat, reheat pasta in a skillet on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Freezing. This pasta can be stored in a freezer-safe container and frozen for up to 2-3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

More easy pasta recipes


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This cheap taco pasta An easy (almost) one-pan dinner! Packed with juicy ground beef, salsa, and plenty of Tex-Mex flavor, his 30-minute recipe is perfect for weeknights.

  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground meat
  • 1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 1 Taco Seasoning (1 oz) Pack
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 whole corn corn (14 oz.) can, drained
  • 1 (14 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Boil the pasta according to package directions.
  3. While the pasta is browning, fry the ground beef in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Once the meat is cooked, remove excess fat from the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and add crushed tomatoes, salsa, taco seasoning, cumin, cayenne pepper, and chili powder. Stir the mixture to combine the seasonings, add the corn and black beans, and stir again to evenly incorporate the ingredients.
  4. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it well in a colander and carefully add it to the meat mixture. Stir this to make it homogeneous.
  5. Top the pasta mixture with grated cheese and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.
  6. Serve immediately.


Leftovers can be stored, airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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