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Cheesy Taco Pasta

5 from 8 votes

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This Cheesy Taco Pasta is a delicious step up from boxed dinners, using 7 basic ingredients, try this easy dinner out tonight!

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta Recipe

Need a quick 15-minute dinner that everyone will love? What you need is Taco Pasta. This recipe was inspired by those boxes of Hamburger Helper I saw at the store the other day. I see why they appeal to so many families. It’s fast, easy and you don’t really have to think too much about it. Well, I took the ease of that meal, took out all the preservatives and made it healthier!

Main Ingredients Needed

Easy, fast, and delicious with a capital D! Cheesy southwest goodness on your fork. Yes, please! Here’s everything you need to make this cheesy taco pasta recipe:

  • Ground Beef – I used 80/20. If you’d like to make this recipe even healthier, opt for ground turkey instead of ground beef!
  • Taco Seasoning – either use store-bought or use homemade taco seasoning.
  • Southwest Salsa – use whatever brand you like best. Also if you like things spicy, get a spicier salsa! Don’t be afraid to change this pasta recipe to your liking.
  • Water – this is used to fill out and simmer the rest of the sauce.
  • Pasta – I used a corkscrew pasta but feel free to use what you have on hand (pasta, bowtie, macaroni). I wouldn’t recommend spaghetti or fettucini noodles though!
  • Cheddar Cheese – freshly grate your cheese for best results! Feel free to use less or more cheese as well!
  • Cream – this can be whole milk, heavy cream, or half & half.
  • Salt and Pepper – don’t forget to season as you go and to taste!

How to Make Taco Pasta

Cheesy Taco Pasta is incredibly easy to make which only adds to its charm! Simply cook your pasta and while the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce! Once the pasta is finished throw together then top with cheese and cream. SO GOOD! For full details see the recipe card below.

  1. Bring water to a boil then cook the pasta until al dente (look at the packaging for cook times).
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet cook ground beef. Once cooked, drain the meat in a colander and run under hot water to get rid of extra fat. Replace the beef into the wiped out pan with taco seasoning, salsa, and water. Simmer until the pasta is done.
  3. Drain pasta and add to the ground beef mixture. Toss to coat, then top with cheese, cream, salt, and pepper. Stir to melt cheese, then serve immediately.

Taco Pasta Toppings

Here are a couple of great ideas to top your taco pasta with (totally optional):

  • sour cream
  • sliced avocado
  • diced tomatoes
  • cilantro
  • tortilla strip chips
  • sliced jalapenos


Any leftover Taco Pasta you have can be enjoyed for up to 5 days! Be sure to store in the fridge in an airtight container.

More Taco Recipes to Try!

Be sure to check out all my other taco recipes. Here are a couple of highlights:

You all are going to love this Taco Pasta Recipe! Printable recipe card is below! 🙂

5 from 8 votes

Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe

This Cheesy Taco Pasta is a delicious step up from boxed dinners, using 7 basic ingredients try this easy dinner out tonight!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins


  • 1 lb ground beef I used 80/20
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 1/2 cups southwest salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lb pasta I used rotini
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Bring water to boil to cook the pasta. Salt it and cook pasta until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a large skillet, cook ground beef, breaking apart as you go. Once thoroughly cooked, drain meat and run under hot water to remove any fat. Wipe out pan with paper towel and place back on heat. Pour cooked beef into hot pan with taco seasoning, salsa and water. Simmer until pasta is finished cooking.
  • Once pasta is cooked, drain well and pour into skillet. Top with cheese, cream, salt and pepper. Stir until cheese melts and noodles are coated in sauce. Serve immediately.


Calories: 822kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 160mg | Sodium: 1830mg | Potassium: 777mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 2075IU | Vitamin C: 5.8mg | Calcium: 479mg | Iron: 4.3mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: taco pasta

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Recipe Rating

37 Responses
  1. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite

    I used to love hamburger helper as a kid! Thanks for sharing this grown up version, I can’t wait to try it! Perfect for the husband too 🙂

  2. Nickie

    I think I’ll make this for dinner tonight. Just a quick question. When you say cream do you mean whipping cream? I’m still learing in the kitchen.

    1. Samantha

      I wanted to make this for dinner and I somehow missed the cream when I made my grocery list! I can’t go back out now. Can you make it without, or is there something I can substitute? Milk or sour cream perhaps? Novice in the kitchen, help!

  3. emily

    ummm… YUM! thinking about doing this tonight! but my husband was born with an aversion to red meat so i am thinking shredded chicken and sour cream maybe???

    to do easy easy shredded chicken i throw it in the crock pot with a little stock, seasoning (will use taco today) onion, garlic etc… let it cook all day until it falls apart! perfect for tacos, burritos, casseroles 🙂 i’ve also done this with italian dressing in place of the taco seasoning AWESOME…

  4. Michelle

    Thanks so much…my family has been taco’d out so I decided to try this last night and it was fantastic! Using what I had on hand I used Sour Cream instead of cream and Smoked Cheddar instead of regular and it will now be a standby recipe. So easy too, thanks again!

  5. Katie

    5 stars
    I made this Tuesday night for dinner – it was so quick and easy. This will definitely be saved in my normal dinner rotation!

  6. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker

    This looks fabulous! recipes like this give lazy people like myself no excuse not to cook up something new n yummy every night 🙂 definitely plan on giving it a go!

  7. Christine

    I love homemade versions of meals like this. Ever since I switched to hardly any processed foods like Hamburger Helper, I can TOTALLY taste the chemically stuff if by chance I do have to eat it. Even eating at restaurants is becoming hard because it’s just too salty or just plain icky. My only thing with this recipe is I would use homemade taco seasoning, as the packets you buy typically also have MSG in them, amongst other things.

  8. Kate

    5 stars
    Like woah…this was great, sooo easy and a cinch to put together with pantry ingredients. I eyeballed 4 tbsps of Penzey’s taco seasoning, it is sold in bulk, not packets. Good job!

  9. Family Fun Mom

    5 stars
    I made this tonight for my family and I have to tell you, IT WAS GREAT! My eight year old even asked for seconds, which she Never does. I will be making this again for sure, (and sharing on my blog! Linking back to you of course!). Thanks so much!!!

  10. Jordan

    5 stars
    I made this last night and it was a huge hit! I made it with homemade tostadas. For the pasts I used Mexican velveeta and sour cream and it was just a bit too spicy but this is definitely one I’ll be making again!
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  11. Heather

    Oh my heck you have saved me! My husband is obsessed with hamburger helper and I hate it so I never let him buy it- he will LOVE this! This is going on our menu for this week! Can’t wait to try it!

  12. Winnie

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it. I tried Hamburger Helper once after 25 years of not having it and it was like eating a box of salt. I had to toss it. I felt bad wasting the meat. I will give this a shot! Thank you…

  13. Cheesy Taco Pasta » Emily Bites

    […] Oh. My. Goodness. I was pretty optimistic about this recipe to begin with but it still managed to exceed my expectations. To me, this dish is the perfect comfort food: cheesy, beefy pasta with taco flavoring and juicy salsa vegetables. It tastes like a guilty pleasure but you don’t even have to feel guilty after! If you’ve been following my blog for a while you may know that I love my cheddar cheese as sharp as possible, so I decided to go half and half with the 2% and full fat shredded cheeses to maximize the flavor while still keeping it P+ friendly. I am happy to report that it resulted in a perfectly decadent cheesy flavor. This recipe is extremely simple with virtually no prep time and I can’t say enough about how warm, cheesy, comforting and indulgent it tastes. Drop what you’re doing and make this right now! You won’t be disappointed. Cheesy Taco PastaSource: Adapted from Lauren’s Latest […]