Taco Pasta is half taco, half pasta! This mouth-watering, one-pot Mexican pasta is made for the Instant Pot or stove. Juicy beef, black beans, and shell pasta are taco-seasoned, cheese-covered, and ready to devour in 30 minutes! It’s another in my line of easy dinner recipes to help you crush weeknight dinners, just like my Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl.

Taco pasta is a family favorite and always makes me feel like a big kid when I eat it. It reminds me of those boxed meals I loved growing up, only it’s made with real ingredients!

This Tex-Mex Mexican pasta is so delicious, we barely have leftovers every time we make it. This frugal recipe is a great way to stretch out inexpensive pantry ingredients, ground beef, and cheddar cheese. It’s a time-saver too as it’s ready in 30 minutes, just like my Instant Pot Chicken Burrito Bowl.

TACO PASTA INGREDIENT LIST

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  • olive oil (or any cooking oil)
  • onion (white, red, or yellow)
  • ground beef (or ground turkey or ground chicken)
  • canned diced tomatoes (or packaged salsa or diced tomatoes with green chilis)
  • black beans (canned or pressure cooked)
  • pasta shells
  • taco seasoning
  • chicken broth (or beef broth)
  • cheddar cheese (or any cheese combo)
  • salt

HOW TO MAKE TACO PASTA IN THE INSTANT POT

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Step 1: Saute onions and beef in the Instant Pot on ‘saute’ setting (I use the 6 quart Duo)

Step 2: Stir in all other ingredients (except the cheese) and make sure pasta is under the liquid. It’s ok to stir everything together like a soup.

Step 3: Select MANUAL or PRESSURE COOK on high pressure for 1 minute followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release.

Step 4: Stir in cheddar cheese, add salt if needed, and devour!

cheesy taco pasta in the Instant Pot on blue table with garnish and colorful napkin

HOW TO MAKE TACO PASTA ON THE STOVE

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Step 1: Saute onions and beef in a soup pot on med-high heat.

Step 2: Add all other ingredients (except the cheese) and increase heat to bring everything to a boil for a few minutes.

Step 3: Reduce heat to simmer all ingredients until pasta is cooked through.

Step 4: Stir in cheddar cheese, salt to taste, and devour!

Keep this taco pasta recipe close and make it often! It quite literally solves ALL the problems of weeknight cooking and makes the whole family happy!

WHAT’S THE BEST PASTA FOR TACO PASTA?

The best pasta to use for this Mexican pasta recipe includes your basic, everyday varieties like shells, rotini, penne, bowtie, and macaroni. These pasta varieties are budget-friendly and available everywhere.

TACO PASTA RECIPE TIPS & SUBSTITUTIONS

Taco seasoning – Reader feedback says that 1 packet makes is kid-friendly and 2 packets makes grown-ups happy. You get to pick 🤩

Add frozen or fresh corn to this recipe. YUM! You can add it before it pressure cooks, or after. Your choice. It’s SO delish with corn.

Want it cheesier? Double the cheddar cheese (you might need a splash of broth to help smooth it out).

Add salt to taste. If you use reduced-sodium ingredients (tomatoes, beans, chicken broth), there’s a strong chance you’ll need to add salt to this recipe.

You can use ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the beef.

We like to substitute the cheese with sour cream…or for a healthier twist…plain yogurt.

You can use pinto beans in place of black beans…or no beans, if you prefer.

Feel free to add a can of diced chiles to this to spice things up!

RECOMMENDED TOOLS

  • chef’s knife
  • cutting board
  • 6 quart Duo Instant Pot or 4-quart saucepot
  • Chopstir meat chopping and stirring utensil
  • stirring utensil
  • can opener
  • air-tight storage containers (to store leftovers)

Taco Pasta [Instant Pot or Stove]

Taco Pasta is half taco, half pasta! This mouth-watering, one-pot Mexican pasta is made for the Instant Pot or stove. Juicy beef, black beans, and shell pasta are taco-seasoned, cheese-covered, and ready to devour in 30 minutes!

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Pressure Cook Time: 1 minute Total Time: 30 minutes Yield: 9 1 cup servings Author: Traci – TheKitchenGirl.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil or other oil
  • 1/2 Onion diced
  • 1 lb. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1 15 oz can Diced Tomatoes (keep juice) or 1 cup packaged salsa
  • 1 15 oz can Black Beans drained
  • 8 oz Uncooked Shell Pasta about 4 cups
  • 2 Tbsp Taco Seasoning same as 1-oz packet * See footnote
  • 2 1/4 cups Chicken Broth add more for stove version as needed
  • 8 oz Cheddar Cheese 2 cups shredded
  • Salt to taste

RECIPE VIDEO

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS

Taco Pasta for Instant Pot 6 qt Duo

  • Select “Sauté” on the Instant Pot and heat the OIL.
  • When the display reads “Hot”, add ONION and GROUND BEEF; sauté until cooked through, stirring as needed.
  • Press “Cancel” on the Instant Pot. Drain excess fat from the beef, if preferred.
  • Add DICED TOMATOES (with their juice), BLACK BEANS (drained), PASTA SHELLS, TACO SEASONING, and CHICKEN BROTH.Press pasta under the liquid to submerge it.
  • Secure the lid, turn pressure release valve to “Sealing” position.Select the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button; adjust cooker to “High pressure” for 1 minute. (Yes, you read that right … 1 minute) 😉Note: Use 2 minutes pressure cook time for thicker pasta (penne, rotini, macaroni, etc)
  • When pressure cook cycle completes, leave the cooker undisturbed for a 10-minute (NPR) natural pressure release. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP … the pasta is still cooking.
  • Carefully turn the pressure release valve to “Venting” position to release any remaining steam.
  • Remove the lid. Stir in the CHEDDAR CHEESE and add SALT to taste.Note: If you see excess liquid at first, don’t worry, it helps prevent cheese clumping and the pasta will soak up the excess in about 10 minutes.

Taco Pasta (Stove Instructions)

  • Heat a 3.5 quart soup pot over medium-high heat; add ONIONS, sautéing until tender, stirring as needed.
  • Add GROUND BEEF and sauté until beef is cooked through, stirring as needed.
  • Stir in DICED TOMATOES (with their juice), BLACK BEANS, PASTA SHELLS, TACO SEASONING, and CHICKEN BROTH.
  • Turn heat to HIGH and bring to a boil.
  • Turn heat to medium low and simmer until pasta is cooked through (about 10 minutes). Add a splash of water during the process if it needs it.
  • Stir in the CHEDDAR CHEESE and serve. Add SALT to taste.

Taco Pasta Serving and Storage Instructions

  • Serve taco pasta warm with your choice of toppings: cilantro, lime, jalapeño, cheese, or sour cream.
  • Store in an airtight container up to 5 days in the refrigerator or up to 90 days in the freezer.

RECIPE NOTES

Pasta – Feel free to substitute your favorite pasta. If using a thicker pasta like rotini, penne, or macaroni, pressure cook 2 minutes instead of 1 minute, followed be a 10-minute natural pressure release.Taco seasoning – Reader feedback says that 1 packet makes is kid-friendly and 2 packets makes grown-ups happy. You get to pick 🤩Add frozen or fresh corn to this recipe. YUM! You can add it before it pressure cooks, or after. Your choice. It’s SO delish with corn.Want it cheesier? Add more cheddar cheese (you might need a splash of broth to help smooth it out).Add salt to taste. If you use reduced-sodium ingredients (tomatoes, beans, chicken broth), there’s a strong chance you’ll need to add salt to this recipe. Even if you use full-salt ingredients, you might still need to add it.You can use ground turkey or ground chicken in place of the beef.We like to substitute the cheese with sour cream…or for a healthier twist…plain yogurt.You can use pinto beans in place of black beans…or no beans, if you prefer.Feel free to add a can of diced chiles to spice it up!

TOOLS NEEDED

  • chef’s knife
  • cutting board
  • Instant Pot or 3.5 quart saucepot
  • Chop stir meat chopping and stirring utensil
  • slotted spoon
  • can opener
  • air-tight storage containers (to store leftovers)

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 299kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 526mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 198mg | Iron: 2mg

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