Cheesy Taco Pasta

5 from 11 votes

This post may contain affiliate sales links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Cheesy Taco Pasta is a delicious step up from boxed dinners! This quick and easy dinner is made with cheddar cheese, ground beef, taco seasoning, your favorite salsa and tossed with noodles. Dinner is ready in just 15 minutes and its full of flavor the whole family will love. Serve along side my Cowboy Caviar or Classic Guacamole and tortilla chips.

cheesy taco pasta in skillet

A Few Notes About the Ingredients I Used

Easy, fast, and delicious with a capital D! Cheesy southwest goodness on your fork. Yes, please! You can totally tweak this recipe to your liking. Here is what I prefer to use:

  • 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.
  • 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.
taco pasta on a serving spoon

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 the sauce and top with cheese and cream. SO GOOD! For full details see the recipe card below.

Cook Pasta

Bring water to a boil then cook the pasta until al dente (look at the packaging for cook times).

Make the Meat Sauce

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.

Drain Pasta + Combine with Sauce

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 in a serving bowl

Topping Ideas

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

Leftovers + Storage

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

Can I freeze Cheesy Taco Pasta?

Yes! Not only is this meal delicious and kid-friendly, but it also freezes like a dream! Be sure to allow to cool completely to room temperature before placing it in the freezer. Store in an airtight freezer safe container. Taco Pasta will stay fresh in the freezer for 2-3 months.

scooping out cheesy taco pasta from skillet

Love Cheesy Taco Pasta? 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. Enjoy, friends!:)

cheesy taco pasta in skillet
PrintPrint Pin ItPin It
5 from 11 votes

Cheesy Taco Pasta

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 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 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
5 from 11 votes (2 ratings without comment)

Share a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating

38 Responses
  1. Cheryl

    5 stars
    I absolutely LOVE this recipe. It is so easy and tasty, and has become a favorite in my family. I’ve followed the directions exactly at first, and then added my own touches. I add diced onions and sweet peppers to the ground beef as it browns, and also a small can of diced green chilies when everything is mixed together at the end. Delicious!!

  2. 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 […]

  3. 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…

  4. 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!

  5. 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. 🙂

  6. 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!!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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…

  13. 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!

  14. 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 🙂