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This ground beef pasta recipe tastes like it’s been cooked low and slow, but it’s ready in about 30 minutes! It’s perfect for busy weeknights and has simple ingredients.

I think your family will also enjoy this Easy Meat Sauce for pasta or my Beef and Noodles.

a skillet with creamy ground beef pasta and parmesan

Why you’ll love it

If you like my Creamy Beef and Shells or Homemade Hamburger Helper, there’s a good chance you will enjoy this easy ground beef pasta. It’s sorta like a quick Bolognese sauce. Ground beef, garlic, and a creamy tomato sauce make one comforting dinner!

When I was a kid, pasta with meat sauce was always one of my favorite comfort foods, and as an adult I’ve always kept some variation of this sauce in my freezer. It’s the perfect quick family meal! There’s more depth of flavor than you’d think for such a simple dish.

What you’ll need

  • Pasta – I chose fusilli, but this recipe will work with whatever pasta shape you’ve got on hand. Penne would be great.
  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Onion and garlic – I use sweet (Vidalia) onion
  • Ground beef – I like to use lean ground beef. It saves you from having to drain out the fat.
  • Canned tomatoes – diced tomatoes form the base of the sauce. They’re canned at peak ripeness.
  • Tomato paste – for more delicious concentrated tomato flavor
  • Dijon mustard – it’s a flavor enhancer and not overpowering
  • Italian seasoning – a convenient blend of dried herbs in a single jar
  • Heavy cream – it gives the sauce body and incredible taste. I found this to have plenty of sauce, but if you want to add more, go up to a full cup of cream.
ingredients for ground beef pasta in prep bowls

Pro tip

This sauce needs to be salted adequately to bring out all the flavors! There’s plenty of meat and cream, so a generous amount of salt is a must. You can also definitely adjust the seasonings to your personal taste preferences or jazz it up with red pepper flakes if that’s your thing. This sauce is very flexible.

How to make pasta with ground beef

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

sauteing ground beef and onions in a skillet and adding tomatoes and seasonings

Boil the pasta. In a skillet, sauté the onion in the olive oil until softened. Stir in the ground beef and garlic, and cook until browned. Spoon out any excess fat if needed. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, Dijon, and Italian seasoning.

adding cream to beef and tomato sauce in a skillet and tossing with pasta

Simmer until the sauce has reduced somewhat. Stir in the heavy cream, and let it warm through for a few minutes. Generously season the sauce with salt & pepper, then toss with the drained pasta. Top with fresh parmesan if desired.

Tools for this recipe

Check out Natasha’s favorite kitchen essentials, gadgets, and cookware!

  • This is the skillet I use to make the meat sauce.
  • A garlic press makes it effortless to mince garlic.
  • I use this cooking spoon since it doesn’t scratch cookware.

Substitutions and variations

  • Fresh basil would be a great addition to this pasta sauce (add it in right at the end) if you happen to have some.
  • Try stirring in 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese if you want this dish to be cheesy.
  • As with any cream-based recipe (especially with an acidic tomato sauce), subbing the cream with something else can lead to curdling.
  • 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 tomatoes.
closeup of a skillet with creamy ground beef and tomato pasta sauce and a serving spoon

What to serve with creamy beef pasta

Leftovers and storage

  • Store leftover ground beef pasta in the fridge for 3-4 days in a covered container. Reheat over a low heat until warmed through.
  • If you plan on freezing this recipe, I definitely recommend freezing the sauce separately in individual portions and boiling up a fresh batch of pasta when you’re ready to eat. The sauce freezes well.
a bowl with creamy ground beef pasta and a fork

Will you give this creamy ground beef pasta a try? Please leave a star rating and review in the comments below if you made it! Ask me any questions. I’m also on Instagram.

a skillet with creamy ground beef pasta and parmesan
4.72 from 70 votes

Easy Creamy Ground Beef Pasta

This ground beef pasta recipe tastes like it's been cooked low and slow, but it's ready in about 30 minutes! It's perfect for busy weeknights and has simple ingredients.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 8 ounces uncooked pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 (14 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

Instructions 

  • 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 generously with salt & pepper as needed and toss with the drained pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese if desired.

Notes

  • 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 always taste and add more if needed.
  • Feel free to up the Italian seasoning if you want a stronger herby flavor. I personally prefer just a hint in this recipe.
  • 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).

Nutrition

Calories: 584kcal, Carbohydrates: 51g, Protein: 34g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 131mg, Sodium: 176mg, Potassium: 849mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 894IU, Vitamin C: 13mg, Calcium: 92mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on October 24, 2020. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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150 Comments

  1. Kaylene says:

    Is half and half okay to sub for heavy cream? I just used the last of my heavy cream. I have diced tomatoes and pasta sauce, but not tomato paste or tomato sauce.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! You could try but there’s a chance it’ll curdle.

  2. PL says:

    4 stars
    Good recipe, but I was expecting more. Similar to what other people have said here, the dish lacked flavor. I even added extra tomatoe paste, Dijon and Italian seasoning, along with generous salt and pepper. Used Parmesan as well. It was just missing something. Thank you for posting.

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! Sorry you didn’t love it. It’s not meant to be a bold tasting recipe, but I understand if it just wasn’t your cup of tea.

  3. Danielle Mangnus says:

    This was very tasty. I will make this again!😋

    1. Natasha says:

      Glad to hear it! 😀

  4. Leigh Valdes says:

    5 stars
    Natasha! I could kiss you. This recipe is way too easy to be this delicious. It’s my new go to!!!!!

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww thank you!!! So happy you enjoyed it. You’re very welcome!! XO

  5. Marlene Nel says:

    Looks delicious very nice

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you! Hope you enjoy it!

  6. Bryce M says:

    5 stars
    I decided to go with the protein+ pasta and 1/2 cup whipping cream just to make it a little healthier, but the real genius was using fire-roasted diced tomatoes. Oh my goodness, sooo good. Thanks for sharing your recipe! 😁

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad it was a hit!!

  7. A says:

    5 stars
    hello, I just wanted to say that this recipe has become a staple in my house since moving out on my own with little support. it’s kept me and my best friend fed for the past 3 years in our weekly meal plans. it’s delicious, cheap, and easy. thank you so much!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s amazing!! Thank you for taking the time to let me know!!

    2. Courtney Accetta says:

      5 stars
      Delicious! Both kids (3 and 6) ate it and one even asked for seconds.
      I added extra Italian seasoning and didn’t use the Dijon, but only because I realized mine was expired! 🙂 Next time I’ll try with the mustard!!

      1. Natasha says:

        I’m so glad it was a hit and your kiddos enjoyed it! 😀

  8. Liz Burns says:

    4 stars
    Making this for the second time in two weeks. This was a big hit with my family- the Dijon mustard really does give it a little extra something. Great recipe for the family and makes enough to have lunch leftovers. This one’s a keeper!

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay! Thank you, Liz!

  9. GINA POLO says:

    What if I don’t have tomatoe paste but I have diced tomatoes and tomato sauce on hand??

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! You could use those and you may need to cook it down for a little longer. Enjoy!

  10. Debra Silsbee says:

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe! I will definitely make it again! The only change I made was just using only 1/2 cup of cream because that was all I had on hand. It was the perfect amount to me…

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it, Debra!