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
- 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!
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
- Instant Pot Hamburger Mac and Cheese
- 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.