Pasta recipes, like our amazing taco pasta, are delicious and so easy to make. Homemade pasta dishes are budget-friendly but taste like a million bucks.
Our taco pasta takes a simple weeknight meal and makes it a hit with the whole family.
Let’s dive in!
Taco pasta combines two all-time favorites into one easy meal. You don’t have to choose between pasta or tacos – this dish covers all the bases. I love that taco pasta:
- Comes together in less than half an hour
- Uses several pantry ingredients I already have
- Sneaks in lots of veggies!
Taco pasta is the ultimate mash-up of two favorites: pasta and tacos. The noodles absorb the zesty seasoning and create a meal that’s perfect for the whole family.
Meat: We make taco pasta with ground beef, but ground turkey will be just as delicious. You can even make a vegetarian version that will be packed with flavor.
Tomatoes: If you have fresh tomatoes on hand, feel free to use them here. Based on average sizes, you will need about 3 medium or 2 large fresh tomatoes. Be sure to save all those flavorful juices!
Taco seasoning: Many taco seasoning mixes have salt as one of the main ingredients. To better control the sodium content of your taco pasta, choose a spice blend that is labeled as low-sodium. Or make your own mixture with spices like onion powder, garlic powder, and dried pepper powder, such as ancho or chipotle.
Cilantro: As much as 14 percent of the population dislikes the taste of cilantro. This is due to a genetic variation that can make cilantro taste soapy to some people. If your family really doesn’t like this herb, leave it out of the taco pasta. Try fresh parsley and a pinch of cumin to add a bright flavor instead.
Green chilies: Our recipe calls for mild chilies to add a little zest without much heat. If you prefer more spice, substitute an equivalent amount of fresh jalapeno or poblano pepper.
If you have leftovers of taco pasta, they are best stored in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid or a resealable plastic bag.
Can You Freeze This?
Sour cream and cream cheese tend to separate in the freezer. Noodles can get mushy when frozen, thawed, and reheated. We don’t recommend freezing the finished dish, but you can make the meat sauce (steps 2 and 3) in advance and freeze it.
Make Ahead Tips
To prep taco pasta in advance, make the meat sauce as outlined in steps 2 and 3. It can be kept for a day or two in the fridge, or frozen if you wish.
For the best flavor and freshness, add in the noodles, sour cream, cream cheese, etc. (steps 4-6) the day you plan to eat the taco pasta.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
You didn’t eat it all in one sitting?! That’s okay, cooked leftovers of noodle-based dishes have a shelf-life of 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
Just like traditional tacos in a shell, taco pasta is endlessly adaptable. Feeling spicy? Use ground chorizo sausage instead of beef.
Love lots of cheese? Sprinkle a handful of your favorite shredded blend into the sauce with the cream cheese. You can’t go wrong with this easy recipe.
Can I Make This Into Taco Stuffed Shells?
What Other Beefy Pasta Recipes I Can Try?
Can This Recipe Be Turned In A Taco Pasta Casserole?
Baking a pasta casserole in the oven allows the noodles to soak up even more delicious, saucy flavor. Baking also creates a yummy, crunchy layer on top. Because this recipe is written for a stovetop version, the ratio of sauce to pasta wouldn’t work well bake.
Can I Use Large Pasta In This Recipe?
I like this dish best with the smaller shells. However, rigatoni is also a good choice, as the sauce gets inside the tubes and flavors the pasta from the inside out. For a variation on stuffed shells, cannelloni makes a great substitute.
Can I Use A Different Shape Pasta?
Taco pasta is very versatile. Use whatever smaller noodles you have on hand. Do you love to twirl long noodles around your fork? Fettuccine will work well in this recipe. Mostaccioli, and its cousin penne are also well suited for taco pasta.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 16 ounces dried medium shell pasta
- 1 cup yellow onion chopped
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 (14 ounces) can petite diced tomatoes including juice
- 1 (7 ounces) can mild diced green chilies including juice
- 1 packet Taco Seasoning
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of pasta water. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion, over medium-high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add in the diced tomatoes, diced chilies, and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream, and reserved pasta water, and continue stirring until the cream cheese is melted and the sauce is well blended.
- Season generously with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over medium-low heat 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce a bit if it is still too thin.
- Toss in the cilantro right before serving for some fresh color and flavor.
If your family loves everything made with noodles, check out our other tasty homemade pasta dishes:
- Cacio e Pepe
- Cajun Pasta
- Pizza Pasta
- Pasta Primavera
Change up Taco Tuesday by making this fun variation on classic tacos. Taco pasta can easily be customized to please everyone at your dinner table. Full of meat, noodles, and zesty sauce, taco pasta is your new favorite dinner!
Did you make this recipe? Tell us about it in the Comments section below.