Taco pasta is a one-pot wonder. Made with beef, pasta shells, and plenty of cheese, it’s full of delicious Mexican-inspired flavour! Ready and on the table in less than 30 minutes, you won’t have to worry about tackling a pile of dishes when you’re done.
- Rich and bold in flavour thanks to the beef, taco seasoning, and cheese.
- The sour cream lends a slight tang and a luscious creamy texture.
- All made in one pot. One pot dinner winner!
- Easy to make and ready in under 30 minutes.
- Serve with a side salad for the perfect weeknight meal.
I was inspired by the flavour of tacos and my love of pasta to create easy Mexican pasta dish. The results were phenomenal, and this skillet taco pasta is now one of my favourite comforting dinners to serve up. It’s so easy to put together and cleanup is a breeze.
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Ingredients you’ll need
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Beef Mince: You may know it as ground beef or beef mince, it’s the base of the meaty sauce. You could swap this for part beef and part pork, or chicken mince (ground chicken) or even ground turkey.
- Brown Onion: I like using brown onions (yellow onions) best, but red onion will work too.
- Garlic: For added savoury flavour!
- Taco Seasoning: I prefer my homemade taco seasoning to store-bought or you can also use my fajita seasoning. If you like it spicier, add a bit of chili powder too.
- Tomato Paste: To add intense tomato flavour to the sauce.
- Beef Stock: You may know beef stock as beef broth.
- Taco Sauce: I typically buy pre-made taco sauce at the supermarket.
- Tinned Black Beans: To make this Mexican pasta even heartier. You could swap this for kidney beans or even for corn.
- Roasted Peppers: Smoky and sweet, roasted peppers are perfect for this dish. You can use fresh capsicum/bell peppers too. You could also swap this for a tin of diced tomatoes.
- Pasta: I’m using shells, but you could use your favourite shape. Rotini, fusili, penne, elbows and spirals all work.
- Sour Cream: To give you that luscious creaminess I mentioned but also a little tang to balance out the richness.
- Cheddar Cheese: This dish is full of cheese, but don’t overdo it and add more than recommended. The amount in this taco pasta shells recipe is enough to make it cheesy without the flavour overwhelming the whole dish.
You can use gluten-free pasta if you have one that you like. Feel free to add other things too like sliced black olives or green chiles.
How to make taco pasta (step-by-step)
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Sauté: Add the onion to a large fry pan and sauté until translucent. Use a large skillet (12-inch), Dutch oven, or large braising-style pan. Add the garlic and cook for another minute (photo 1).
- Cook: Introduce the beef mince to the pan and cook until browned (photo 2).
- Add some flavour: Add the taco seasoning, tomato paste, and stir (photo 3).
- Incorporate the other ingredients: Add the stock, taco sauce, diced roasted peppers, pasta, and salt to the pan and cook (photo 4).
- Bring to a boil: Once your one pot taco pasta has come to a boil, cover it with a lid and cook until the pasta is al dente (photo 5).
- Add the cheese: Stir in the sour cream and remove the pan from the stovetop. Then, add the cheddar cheese before serving (photo 6).
What to serve with this taco pasta recipe
Beef taco pasta would go great with a simple side salad like this asparagus, rocket, and parmesan cheese.
I also recommend loading up this one-pot meal with fresh coriander (cilantro) and fresh jalapenos (or pickled jalapenos) — both add some freshness to go along with the cosy and comforting flavours from the meat and cheese. This would also be amazing with my jalapeno relish.
Tips and tricks
- Al dente pasta: Cook the pasta only until it’s just al dente, or it will break up when you stir in the cheese and sour cream. As it is cooked in a sauce, it will continue to cook and soften even off the stove — and as you’re serving it up.
- Easy does it with the cheese: Don’t pack the cheese into the measuring cup too tightly or it may end up too cheesy. You may be thinking: that’s not even possible, I love cheese! Sadly yes, too much cheese will overpower the whole dish and make it a little gloopy. Add the amount mentioned, then taste and stir in a little more if you like.
- Try different meats: Cheesy taco pasta is great with pork too — or a mixture of pork and chicken mince.
- Make your own taco seasoning: Try my homemade recipe created from simple spices like paprika, cumin, oregano, chili powder, onion powder and garlic powder it’s so much better than store-bought.
My cheesy taco pasta recipe could be considered a Mexican pasta dish thanks to the ingredients. Beef mince, vegetables, and cheese (all typically found in tacos) come together to create a fun twist.
Traditional Mexican pasta dishes, called fideos secos, are made by cooking noodles in chipotle.
I like to brown the meat on its own before adding the taco sauce.
Many store-bought taco seasonings have thickeners. You can simply add a bit of water or stock if you like a looser sauce.
I’ve already mentioned that you can add some fresh herbs and spicy jalapenos to the top of your one pot taco pasta. You could also top it with avocado, hot sauce, crumbled cotija cheese, pickled red onions, pico de gallo or salsa.
You can! Leave out the beef mince and use extra black beans or even chickpeas instead. You may also consider adding tofu.
Yield and storage
This cheesy beef taco pasta will feed 6-8 people.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 3 days. It also freezes wonderfully and will last for up to 3 months when properly stored.
I suggest reheating leftovers in a pan over medium heat or in the microwave.
Did you try this recipe for taco pasta?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small brown onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 500 g beef mince (ground beef), 80-90% lean (1.1lb)
- ¼ cup taco seasoning
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (notes 1)
- 2 ½ cups beef stock (beef broth) (625ml)
- 1 cup taco sauce (250ml)
- ¾ cup tinned black beans
- 2 large roasted peppers, diced (1 cup chopped/210g)
- 250 g large dry pasta shells (about 1 inch long) (3 cups/8.8oz)
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup sour cream (light or full fat)
- 1 ½ cups not packed, shredded cheddar cheese (180g/6.3oz)
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Large skillet or braising pan
- Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring every so often until translucent – 4-5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Turn the heat up to medium high and add the beef mince. Cook until browned all over. Drain any excess fat then proceed.
- Add the taco seasoning and tomato paste. Mix thoroughly and cook for another minute.
- Add the stock, taco sauce, black beans, diced peppers, pasta and salt. Mix well.
- Bring to a boil then cover with a lid (with a vent or slightly ajar) and cook for 10-15 minutes or until al dente (the time will depend on the size of your pasta). Make sure to give it a stir every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Once the pasta is cooked, stir in the sour cream.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese. Some taco seasonings have thickeners added so you can add a little water or stock if you want a looser consistency.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's very appreciated and so helpful.
- Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
- Cheese: Shred your cheese yourself from a block. Pre-shredded cheeses often have coatings to stop it clumping but it can affect the way it melts and the texture.
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