This easy taco pasta recipe is made with ground beef, cheddar cheese, Ro-tel tomatoes, cream, and all your favorite taco flavorings! It's quick and perfect for busy weeknights.
This cheesy taco pasta is sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. It's very comforting and particularly good for the back-to-school crowd. It's filling, tasty, and it'll provide plenty of energy for those after-school activities.
As far as the pasta goes, choose whatever shape you feel like using or have on-hand. I used penne, but macaroni would be a good choice too in my opinion.
How to make beef taco pasta (summary):
Cook the pasta. Meanwhile, make the sauce by browning the beef, adding the red pepper, and then adding the tomatoes, cheese, and cream. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Garnish and enjoy! (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Pro tip: I like using Ro-tel in this recipe because they're not just diced tomatoes - they have the green chilies in there. Feel free to use mild or spicy. If you can't find Ro-tel, use diced tomatoes and buy one of those little cans of green chilies separately. The chilies give this dish a great pop of flavor. I used the mild Ro-tel tomatoes and this dish wasn't spicy at all. If you want to make this pasta extra spicy, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
What kind of beef to use?
I use extra-lean (96% lean) ground beef (and it's rare I buy anything fattier) since you can then skip the step where you need to drain it, and it's healthier overall.
What kind of cheese to use?
I used sharp cheddar and prefer to grate it myself vs. using the bagged shredded kind, but if you're in a pinch, that's ok too.
Taco pasta garnish ideas
Feel free to serve it as-is, but I like a pop of freshness and color. I used scallions and some chopped cilantro, but you can easily go all-out and add a dollop of sour cream and some fresh chopped tomatoes too... anything you'd garnish a taco with would be a fun addition to this pasta dish. 🙂
More ground beef recipes you may like:
- Easy Beef Bowls
- Easy Hamburger Soup
- Beef Taco Skillet
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Sloppy Joes (slow cooker)
- Easy Beef Taco Salad
- Quick Chili Recipe
Let me know if you've made this cheesy taco pasta recipe! Questions? Leave me a comment below.
Easy Cheesy Taco Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
- 1 (10 fluid ounce) can Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chilies with juices
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese I used sharp cheddar
- 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Optional garnish: chopped scallions and cilantro
- Boil a salted pot of water for your pasta. Cook pasta al dente according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, prep your other ingredients and start browning the beef with the spices over medium-high heat in a skillet (approx. 8-10 minutes). Add the red pepper once the meat is broken up a bit and starts to brown.
- If you didn't use very lean ground beef, drain most of the excess fat. Add the Rotel tomatoes, cheese, and the cream. Cook for a few more minutes.
- Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Season with salt & pepper and garnish as desired.
- You can use pre-made taco seasoning instead of the individual spices I suggest if you wish.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.