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Taco Pasta Recipe

Taco Pasta Recipe is a delicious, filling and easy-to-make meal that will bring the whole family to the table. Packed with flavorful Mexican ingredients like ground beef, salsa, cheese, and aromatic spices, this savory dish is sure to please everyone’s palate. Whether you’re looking for an impressive weeknight dinner for taco night or a hearty lunch the next day, Taco Pasta Bake will become a family favorite in no time!

Made with just a few ingredients, it’s perfect for Taco Tuesday when you need something fast and easy.

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bowl of taco pasta

This Taco Pasta recipe is one of those great recipes with minimal work required, that is perfect for making a filling dinner without having to make a mess in the whole kitchen. If you loved Hamburger Helper growing up, then you’re going to love this recipe. It’s similar and slightly healthier than what you would get from the boxed meals.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Kids and adults will love this recipe
  • Super fast – dinner is on the table in 20 minutes, perfect for busy weeknights or when you need a break on the weekend
  • You only need a handful of ingredients to make this
  • Incredibly easy to make – just four simple steps to make this cheesy taco pasta recipe

Ingredients needed

Get more information on these ingredients in the recipe card below.

taco pasta recipe ingredients

  • medium shell pasta
  • lean ground beef
  • taco seasoning 
  • water
  • jarred salsa
  • shredded cheddar cheese

How to Make Taco Pasta

Just four simple steps is all you have to follow to make this easy meal.

Add water to a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil, add in the uncooked pasta and make the pasta according to the instructions on the box.

As the pasta cooks, brown the ground beef in a large skillet and drain the grease.

browning beef for taco pasta

Drain pasta and return to pot.

shell pasta

Add browned beef to the pasta. Season with taco seasoning, add water and cook on medium heat until the water is absorbed, stirring frequently to incorporate it all.

making taco pasta

Add salsa, cheese, and stir to combine. Once the cheese melts, serve and enjoy your ground beef taco pasta dish!

making taco pasta


Once leftovers have cooled down, transfer them to an airtight container and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can freeze leftovers in a freezer safe bag for up to 2-3 months.

Recipe Tips and Variations

  • Make this hamburger helper style dish extra creamy and cheesy by adding some cream cheese to the cheesy, creamy sauce mixture.
  • Add a dollop of sour cream on top to really set this meal up a level.
  • For even more flavor, swap the water out for beef broth or chicken broth.
  • Make this a little more nutritious by adding some vegetables like diced bell peppers, yellow onion, and broccoli.
  • Feel free to add in any of your favorite herbs and spices. Things like onion powder, chili powder, etc would go great.
  • You can make this dish go even further by adding some black beans or corn with it.
  • Top the taco bake with some broken up tortilla chips to really finish of the meal.
  • Adjust the intensity of the taco flavor of your easy taco pasta by using more or less taco seasoning mix.
  • Kick the heat up on this dish by using medium or hot salsa. Add even more flavor, spice, and heat by using some diced jalapenos.
  • You can always use your own homemade taco seasoning if you want to ditch the preservatives and additives commonly found in packages of taco seasoning from the local grocery store.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Absolutely! That’s one thing that’s so wonderful about this recipe. It’s completely customizable, you can use it as a base to work off of and create an even better, easy recipe. We used pasta shells, but you can use any small pasta. Feel free to try any of these ideas:

  • penne
  • rotini
  • elbow macaroni
  • rigatoni
  • etc

Whatever you have on hand will work in this easy pasta dish recipe, just keep in mind that different pasta types may require a different cook time.

Can I use other meat?

Certainly! Trade out the ground beef for ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken. This is a super easy way to make this dish with whatever you have on hand.

Can I use different cheese?

Yes! To keep this dish super simple, we used shredded cheddar cheese. However, you can trade it out and use any other shredded cheese option. We think shredded mozzarella cheese or shredded Monterey Jack cheese would both be great additions to this.

Yield: 8 servings

Taco Pasta Recipe

bowl of taco pasta

This taco pasta recipe is simple to make on a busy weeknight and a favorite of everyone.

Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound medium shell pasta
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup jarred salsa
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. In a medium pot, cook and drain pasta according to the instructions on the box.
  2. While cooking the pasta, brown the hamburger in a medium skillet. Drain the grease.
  3. Add the hamburger to the drained pasta.
  4. Add the taco seasoning and water and cook on medium heat until the water is absorbed. Make sure to stir frequently to incorporate the seasoning well.
  5. Add the salsa and cheese, stirring to combine. The cheese should melt pretty quickly.
  6. Serve immediately.


We love shell pasta, but feel free to use your favorite pasta shape!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 272Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 530mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 21g

Nutrition information is not always accurate, it is an estimate.

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More Delicious Recipes

All in all, this Taco Pasta recipe is a delicious and easy-to-make meal that is sure to please even the picky eater in your family. With its creamy cheese, Mexican flavors, and protein sources like lean ground beef, this creamy taco pasta recipe will be a hit for any family dinner or lunch. So don your apron and get cooking – you won’t regret it!

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