This ground beef pasta recipe tastes like it's been cooked low and slow, but it's ready in about 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights.
I think your family will also enjoy this Easy Meat Sauce for pasta or my Beef and Noodles.
If you've tried and enjoyed my Creamy Beef and Shells or my Homemade Hamburger Helper, there's a good chance you will enjoy this ground beef pasta. This recipe is sorta like a quick bolognese sauce. Ground beef, onions, garlic, and a creamy tomato sauce make one comforting dinner. As a kid, spaghetti with meat sauce was always one of my favorite comfort foods, and as an adult I've always keep some variation of this sauce in my freezer. I'm excited to introduce this version to my website!
I chose penne for the photos, but this recipe will work with whatever your favorite pasta shape is/what you've got on hand. It's the perfect quick family meal!
How to make pasta with ground beef
This recipe is easy! You start by sautéing the onion for a few minutes, and then you add in the beef & garlic and break it up with your spoon, cooking it until it's browned. You then add in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, Dijon mustard (optional but recommended for building layers of flavor), and Italian seasoning. Let it cook down for a few minutes, then stir in the cream and let it cook a little longer. Toss with the pasta and serve. I like to grate on some parm cheese. Obviously. So easy and so good. (Full ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below).
Recipe notes & tips:
- This recipe freezes well. You can always make a batch of sauce ahead of time (even double it), and it's easy to pull an individual portion out of the freezer for a quick dinner.
- I like to use the leanest ground beef I can find. It saves you from having to drain out the fat.
- As with any cream-based recipe (especially with an acidic tomato sauce), subbing the cream with something else can lead to curdling, so keep that in mind.
- I know some people don't like chunks/pieces of tomatoes, so feel free to swap the diced tomatoes with tomato sauce if you wish. Or use petite diced toms.
- Try stirring in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese if you want this dish to be cheesy.
- I found this to have plenty of sauce, but if you want to add more, go up to a full cup of cream.
- Fresh basil would be a great addition to this pasta sauce (add it in right at the end) if you happen to have some.
More tasty ground beef recipes to try:
- Simple Ground Beef Casserole
- Easy Ground Beef Stroganoff
- Easy Cheesy Baked Ravioli
- Cheesy Beef Stuffed Shells
- Shepherd's Pie
Will you give this creamy ground beef pasta a try? Questions? Let me know in the comments below.
Easy Creamy Ground Beef Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 (14 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard see note
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3/4 cup heavy/whipping cream
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese optional, to taste
- Boil a salted pot of water for the pasta and cook it al dente according to package directions.
- Add the onion and olive oil to a large skillet (or small pot/Dutch oven) and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium-high heat.
- Add in the ground beef and garlic and continue cooking for another 8 minutes or so until the beef has browned (break the meat up with your spoon as you go along). Spoon out excess fat if there's a lot of it.
- Stir in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, and Italian seasoning. Simmer for 4-5 minutes or until the sauce has reduced somewhat.
- Stir in the cream and cook for another 3-5 minutes (it'll warm through and reduce a bit).
- Season with salt & pepper as needed and toss with the drained pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.
- The Dijon mustard isn't totally necessary (you don't have to buy a jar just for this recipe), but it's great for building flavor in sauces like this one, so I always keep some in my fridge.
- You can use a can of tomato sauce instead of the diced tomatoes if you don't like pieces of tomatoes (or try petite diced tomatoes).
- 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.
I loved how easy this was! I doubled the recipe because I had 1lb ground beef and 1lb hot Italian sausage. Added basil, oregano, crushed red pepper, garlic powder and fennel. I like spices. 🤣😉
Thank you so much! Love those additions!!
This one was super easy and extremely delicious. We all loved it. The heavy cream, dijon, and tomato paste make for a really tasty sauce.
Thank you so much!
Brooke Holder says
Great recipe ive made it several times. Its like homemade hamburger helper. Always a crowd pleaser.
I'm so happy you enjoy it, Brooke!! Thanks for your review!
I see mention of beef broth, but don't see that in the list of ingredients. When do I add that?
Hi Steph! I don't add beef broth to this recipe. Are you referring to the comments section where someone mentioned it? You could add a splash if you wanted to thin the sauce/make a bit more of it if you feel it needs it at the end, but I don't add it as written. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
R. O’Neill says
Made as directed. Yummy, quick and easy! Will make this again. Whole family loved it.
Tastes exactly like the Hamburger Helper I remember! I love that I can make it MSG free - which gives me stomach issues.
The only difference is that I cooked down 1 1 lb 12 oz can of tomatoes by 75% and added less water in my broth so I could add more veggies.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!!
My family loved this! I did change things up a bit though. I used gluten-free pasta, Beyond meat (instead of ground beef) and used full fat coconut milk. I also added some crushed red peppers. So yummy 😋
I'm so glad you were able to adapt it!
I thought this was delicious! I am not good at gauging salt so I definitely needed to add more. I thing next time I will add a bit more garlic and maybe a little more Italian seasoning.
Thank you for sharing… it was so good! Reminds me of the Big Rig pasta at Oregano’s restaurants in Arizona. 😊
Hi Lisa! Thanks for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm going to have to try that place when I'm in AZ. Yup, you can definitely tweak the ingredients next time, and the more you cook, the easier it will be to gauge salt. I find creamy recipes need more than others in general.
i make this recipe weekly. it’s so delicious, easy, and fast. Thank you immensely for sharing!!!!!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're very welcome, Earl! Thank YOU for the kind review!
I really liked it. Tweaked it just a bit by adding some red pepper flakes and a squeeze of anchovy paste. I'm usually not a pasta fan, but my husband is, and I will definitely make this again!!
I'm so happy it was a hit! Love those additions!
I got halfway through a recipe, realized I was missing a major ingredient, googled the ingredients I did have and came here.
Dinner was delicious and despite the last minute pivot, wasn’t even late. So thank you.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Aw we're so happy dinner was saved, Rae! Thank you for the kind comment! 🙂
Was that ingredient beef broth? Because if so, big same! lol
Excellent! Thanks for your review, Sarah! 🙂
Recipe is easy to follow and doesn’t require many ingredients. Definitely needed salt.
Yes... that's why I put "salt & pepper to taste".
Amazing recipe! The whole family loved it. My only complaint is it took me probably 5 minutes of exiting ads and scrolling to get to this recipe.
Hi! Glad you liked it, Kaitlin. You can always hit the "jump to recipe" button to get to the recipe faster. Keep in mind this website supports two full-time jobs... ads pay for the free recipes that take a lot of time and love to research, test, develop, photograph, promote, etc. I am not sure if you were joking about the "5 minutes" part - it takes me about 3 seconds to scroll through on my phone lol. And even faster on my laptop.
This is a family favorite. It’s quick, easy and tasty.
Awesome!! 🙂 I'm glad to hear that!
Had such high hopes as other dishes have been delicious. This really lacked flavour so added extra Italian herbs, and tonnes of parmisan and sun dried tomatoes.
Has the potential to be amazing and l think with tweaking is easily done.
about to make this
I'm about to try this recipe.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
We hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Stacey Mohan says
It's been a long time since I made a meal this bad. I will eat anything and even this I couldn't eat. We all decided hamburger helper would have been better. The mustard doesn't work and we love Dijon. Other than that, flavorless.
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
Sorry to hear that, Stacey! It sounds like something went wrong in your kitchen given the other great reviews.
your cooking sucks. lol
Brenda Morales says
This is my first time making a pasta with cream....or even making my own meat sauce at all. I used a whole cup of cream because I added about 3 cups of spinach to wilt. I added 1 cup of sharp cheddar only because I felt that I couldn't taste the cheese. I then added about a quarter cup of chopped basil (great recommendation). I then tossed in whole wheat pasta and topped it with a pit of parmesean. Four servings was enough for my family of 4. Overall, I thought this recipe was very hearty and filling. I do think there was a bit of flavor missing though. I found myself adding more and more salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and still was not able to find the flavor I was looking for. Will definitely try this again with a bit more garlic and onion! Thank you so much for the inspiration.
Hi! Glad you enjoyed it. Yup, you can certainly play with it in the future to tweak it more to your tastes. 🙂 Thanks for your review, Brenda.
This recipe was so easy and delicious! It was my first time using one of your recipes (also a beginner) and first time using my new Dutch oven. Thank you so much!
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
You're welcome, Stephanie! So happy to hear it worked out!
I came across this recipe w/ a Google search 'Ground Beef recipes'. So happy I did. I had dinner ready in 30 mins even w/ frozen meat.
I use 1/2&1/2 instead of heavy wc. Plus dry mustard. I used what I had on hand. I also add a whole onion and more garlic. It turned out really good. Thank you so much.
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Melissa!! 🙂 Thanks for your review!
Made this tonight, so yummy! Subbed with ground turkey. I also added cheese and mushrooms. Will add to my rotation 🙂 thanks!
Wonderful! You're welcome, Andrea! 🙂
Thank you for the recipe. I accidentally put the whole 6oz can of tomato paste in b/c I didn't read directions correctly! Plus I'm used to adding the whole can when I make chili. It's hard to believe that there are over 8 tablespoons in that little can! So I've obviously way over shot the 2 tablespoon mark. I tried adding a dash more cream but I think that only made it thicker. It definitely tastes pasty : (
Any suggestions or thoughts?
Hi Trisha! Adding more cream would have been my first suggestion as well. Maybe a bit more beef broth could help mellow it out a bit? You could even perhaps throw in a can of diced tomatoes or some cooked carrots (I'd boil them and then chop them finely) to add more bulk and that could make the tomato paste texture and flavor a bit less prominent. Maybe a splash of wine along with that? I'm thinking along the lines of turning it into a makeshift bolognese. With all that said, I understand if you don't want to potentially waste more ingredients, so you could always just chalk it up to a cooking oopsie and try with the 2 tbsp next time.
Vince O says
I think many people aren't sure what a solid starting point for the salt and or pepper is. Many of them are flying blind, standing there with a shaker going "Hmmm, do I add more, or will that ruin it?"
My father was a cook in the Navy and a Chef at a bed and breakfast afterwards. I once was making chili from a recipe I already modified quite a bit, but I hadn't played with the salt much. The recipe called for a teaspoon of salt. Dad tasted it and said "I would add another two teaspoons of salt... it'll be perfect." That sounded like a ton of salt to me, but I trust him... lo and behold, he was right.
So, maybe "to taste" might require a bit of guidance. Just a suggestion from someone with zero formal training, but plenty of background.
Great recipe. I doubled the recipe (feeding hockey players), added a tablespoon of crushed red pepper (we like a lil kick), a teaspoon of dried basil leaves, and about a teaspoon of salt during the "salt and pepper to taste" phase.
I added a lot more crushed red pepper once it was on my plate, and some fresh grated parm. Cheers.
Hi Vince!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yup, talking about salt in recipes is definitely a bit of a conundrum. I have listed quantities before, and I do in some recipes where I just know people will under-season it (like ones with large quantities of pasta or potatoes), but also there are lots of people on lower sodium diets or who have a lower salt tolerance than others, so it's a bit of a slippery slope. If I include a quantity, many people will think it's too much, and others will think it's too little. And then the people using regular table salt are more likely to over-season it (I use sea salt personally, but kosher salt is also great for cooking). I wish there was an easy solution to this, and I also wish more people knew that they're probably adding too little salt to things.
I tried it tonight, although I realized how many ingredients weren't available once I started it. I didn't have the olive oil, onions, or cream available, so if it's not a hit I won't hold it against ya. I also grabbed a can of crushed tomatoes instead of diced, which ironically the diced tomatoes was the entire reason I chose this recipe to try. Haha. Looking very forward to my trip trip to the store so I can try to get it right. 😀
Haha oh no... I guess it's just one of those days!! I hope you can try it with the proper ingredients soon lol.
Super delicious and so easy and quick to make! I added parmesan cheese while it was still hot in the pot and it was amazing. Thank you! I've already made it twice in the last 2 weeks!
Thank you!! I'm so pleased it's a new hit in your home! 🙂
Jessica Lopez says
Hi Natasha, thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
I usually don't leave comments on recipes but this is an amazing and easy dish! I have tried it with ground turkey and I now know I prefer it with beef. I don't have heavy cream at the moment and I want to make it for dinner tonight. I'm going to add cream cheese instead of the cream and I hope it turns out ok. I'll let you know the results.
I'm so pleased you like this recipe, Jessica! I think cream cheese would for sure work... it'll just be a little more tangy and possibly a bit thicker of a sauce. I hope you like it! I look forward to hearing how it went. 🙂
Jessica Lopez says
It was delicious! And yes, a bit tangy but still really good! I'm eating leftovers as I type. Thank you again for sharing this delicious recipe!
Ok. This is so yummy!!! Definitely a keeper. My husband and kids loved it too
Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says
That's wonderful the whole family enjoyed it!
Al Jay says
Added 3 slices of Kraft American cheese and 1/4 of milk. They used the garlic toast to wipe the plates clean. Good is meal.
Dan Altano says
Amazing sauce. This recipe was so perfect. Can’t say enough about it. Made it over spaghetti with milk/butter because I didn’t have the heavy cream. Loved every bite. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Aww that's great to hear, Dan!! 🙂 So glad you liked it!
This is amazing. I'm a 14-year-old kid hoping to be a chef when I grow up and this is one of the best meals I've ever made. It really brings out the flavor of the beef and my family loves it. If you haven't tried this recipe, I am jealous of you because you haven't had the thrill of eating that creamy pasta.
Thanks so much, William!! That's awesome that you tried this recipe and want to become a chef. Keep it up and you will definitely make your dreams come true. 😀
A nice alternative to bolognaise!
D you bake this like a pasta casserole? If so how would you change up the recipe to do it this way?
Hi Lynn, I haven't tried this sauce baked, but you could use it in another one of my baked pasta recipes such as this one: https://bit.ly/3b1LdQV
If using this in the ground beef recipe and planning on baking it, would you need to add more liquid?
Hi Lynn! I can't say for sure since I haven't tested baking this one, but it might be a good idea to add another splash of cream.
Aaron j gonzalez says
Is the nutritional value for 4 serving? or is it for 1 serving?
Andrea Mendoza says
Could I substitute the heavy cream for evaporated milk?
Thanks for any help or tips you can give me.
Hi! I think that could work, but I don't cook with evaporated milk often at all. I'd start with the same amount as cream and then add more if needed. Let me know how it goes!
Anita Gregory says
Really tasty!! Tried on Saturday, just love this receipt too! thats 3 receipes tried now we just love. The mustard adds such a depth of flavour to this dish, my Husband and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very comforting dish too, thank you! 🙂
I'm so pleased to hear that!! 🙂 Thank you, Anita!
A great meal for a weeknight - easy prep, flavorful, and enjoyed by all. I added the cheddar cheese to please the teenagers. Have tried so many of your recipes and each one has been a hit!
I'm so glad you like it, Diane! Adding the cheddar cheese definitely sounds great for teenagers. Thanks for your sweet comment!
Wow just made this tonight. Super easy, flavorful, and loved by all! We did add a can of rotel with chiles (drained). Very good and already have requests to make again! Thank you so much for a tasty and easy weeknight dinner. 👏
So happy you enjoyed it! 🙂
Made this today. Yummy! 👍🏾 I did mix in some spinach for a little extra veg.
Wonderful! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Thanks for taking the time to review my recipe. 🙂
I made this tonight for supper and it was fabulous! Oddly I bought heavy cream last week and when I got home I had bought an extra container. It was meant to be! Thank you
Excellent!! 🙂 I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, Sarah!
This was delish and pretty easy. Instead of the can of tomatoes I used a cup of the pasta water. Would def make again.
Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Bland and flavorless. Needs seasoning.
So add some seasoning, then. If you don't salt a recipe properly, it won't taste good. The recipe even says to salt it.
I think bland is frequently very subjective. I like my food highly seasoned, so I automatically adjust. I find that in recipes that call for cream, if I season the cream with pepper, onion powder and salt, it's really a game changer. I also cooked the ground meat, drained off the fat and seasoned the pasta water with that and salt. Try the recipe again with a few tweaks and I bet you'll love it!
DAVE ANSEL says
Just made this last night. Best I've had.. I added the mustard ,cream and 1 tablespoon of butter.
Fantastic! Thank you!
I made this tonight and it was excellent! I used 14oz of crushed tomatoes instead of diced, and I used the tomato paste that the recipe called for. I added crushed red pepper for alittle spiciness when I added the tomatoes. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Fantastic!!!
Great!! Thanks so much for commenting, Karen! 🙂
I fixed this recipe for dinner tonight. It was delicious. The pasta was a bit firmer than i prefer, but I can always experiment. I am also going to add a little milk right near the end of cooking time, as the recipe was a little dense, and the milk will take care of that. I give the recipe five stars out of five, though. It's east, quick, takes stuff that I have (YESSS! no shopping before I fix it) It tastes even better than I was hoping for.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jean!
Would love to hear if anyone has tried a dairy free cream. Thinking of using ground turkey as well instead of beef. Have you tried or heard of anyone doing that?
Try Silk dairy-free whipping cream 🙂 Turkey will be a bit drier but should be good!