Get a delicious, family-friendly dinner on the table with this one pot taco pasta. The pasta simmers to al dente in the sauce, infusing it with all of the taco flavors from the salsa, taco seasoning, black beans, and ground beef.
Taco Tuesday isn't just on Tuesdays around here. (Every night could be taco night!) This pasta dish makes it easy to feed the whole family a hearty and delicious meal any night of the week. This one has become a family favorite for us and so many, so I hope you enjoy it too!
One reader, Kristen, commented: "I’ve made this recipe 10 times in the last 6 months and shared it with everyone! It has the best flavor and texture - even my 18 month old loves it. The ground beef gets so tender, it’s easy for him to eat too! ★★★★★"
Reasons to Love Taco Pasta
You know I’m obsessed with tacos if you're a regular around here. Just take a look at these pork tenderloin tacos, chorizo tacos, or carne asada tacos and you'll see why. We love getting creative with our Mexican-inspired meals and this Taco Pasta recipe hits the mark in flavor and function. Here are a few reasons you'll love this recipe too.
- Great for busy weeknights. We have this taco pasta recipe on a weekly rotation. It's a guaranteed delicious dinner with so much flavor.
- An easy recipe and the ingredients are simple.
- Simple one-pot meal, which means only one pot to clean!
- It takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish.
- The entire family loves it. Our toddler absolutely loves this dish and it makes great leftovers for lunch.
- If you love hamburger helper, you will love this easy dinner.
Need another weeknight staple? Kids and adults go crazy over these healthy sloppy joes too. This Instant Pot Taco Soup is another great recipe for the next time you're craving a simple taco recipe that isn't tacos.
Ingredients You'll Need
Here are the simple ingredients for this easy taco pasta. Most are pantry staples, easy, and affordable to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Pasta: Shortcut pasta, like rotini, pasta shells, and fussili is best for this recipe. The swirls and grooves in the pasta catch all the sauce and meat! We opt for brown rice pasta to keep it gluten-free. Our favorite brand is Jovial! Note the cooking time may vary depending on the type of pasta you use—so check the directions on the box. (We prefer cooking pasta al dente.)
- Onion and garlic: Grab a yellow onion and a few cloves of garlic and saute it to build the flavor.
- Ground beef: Opt for lean ground beef, closer to 93% fat. I like to buy my beef locally when possible. I love to use this beef directory to go straight from the source to get our beef. We also love using Butcher Box to get high-quality ground beef shipped to our door.
- Taco seasoning: This makes the recipe even easier, so we love using Siete's taco seasoning because it's clean and gluten-free. However, you can use a mix of your own taco seasoning if you have the ingredients on hand. I'll include the measurements in the recipe card below!
- Mild salsa: I'm not a huge fan of spice, so we use mild, but opt for medium or spicy if that's your style!
- Black beans: A can of black beans adds lots of fiber and texture!
- Water or broth: You can use beef broth, chicken broth, or water to help cook the pasta in the dish.
- Canned corn: I love the crunch and color this adds to the taco meat, plus it's affordable and we usually have it on hand in the pantry.
- Toppings: Cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, lime juice, shredded cheddar cheese, or sour cream.
How to Make Taco Pasta
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This taco pasta is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Brown the beef. Heat a large pot, large skillet, or dutch oven with olive oil over medium-high heat. Once it's hot, add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
Place the beef in the pan with the onion and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat for about 3 minutes, until completely browned and no pink remains.
Add the taco seasoning. Sprinkle the packet of taco seasoning on top of the ground meat, then pour ½ cup water on top and stir well until thickened and combined.
Pour in the rest of the water and mild salsa and stir.
Boil the pasta. Turn the stove up to high heat to bring it to a boil, then add the rotini and store. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 12-15 minutes. Check the cook time on your box of pasta and adjust cook time accordingly. Stir the pasta halfway through to avoid burning on the bottom.
Mix and serve. Add the black beans, corn, and cherry tomatoes when the pasta is done and cooked to al dente. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings like avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. Taste and add salt as needed.
Video: Watch How to Make Taco Pasta
Taco Pasta Toppings
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime juice
- Sour cream
- Black olives
- Shredded Cheese
- Tortilla chips
- Diced green onions
Recipe Modifications and Variations
- Gluten-free: Use a gluten-free noodle like brown rice or chickpea pasta. Double-check the cook times and adjust accordingly because chickpea pasta can become mushy if overcooked. In addition, double-check the ingredients in your taco seasoning.
- Dairy-free: This recipe is naturally dairy free, so need to make adjustments!
- Cheesy taco pasta: Top the pasta after it's cooked with shredded Mexican cheese then close the lid and melt for a minute or two. (Monterey Jack cheese is always a good one for tacos.) For a creamy taco pasta recipe, stir in some cream cheese at the end.
- Different protein: Swap the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken if that's what you have on hand.
- More veggies: Dice bell pepper and cook with the onion. (Use our tips for how to cut a bell pepper.) You could also add green chiles with the beans and corn.
Taco Pasta FAQs
Add lean beef to your diet and your heart will thank you! Research shows that enjoying lean beef as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower cholesterol and reduce heart disease risk. Not to mention, a 3-oz serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein (!!) and 10 essential nutrients.
This one pot taco pasta is naturally dairy free and it's filled with fiber and whole food ingredients.
You can freeze taco pasta in an air tight container for up to 3 months.
Make-Ahead, Storage and Freezing
Make-ahead: Chop the onion, garlic, and toppings and store in the fridge. You can also drain and measure out the corn and beans so it's less prep when you're ready to make it. You can also make it from start to finish and store in the fridge or freezer. (See below.)
To-store: Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
To freeze: Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat on the stove until completely heated through.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More One Pot Pasta Recipes
If you need another easy weeknight dinner, we have plenty of delicious recipes. There's an easy pasta recipe for almost any occasion.
Love chicken? Try our One Pot Buffalo Chicken Pasta (Dairy Free), Spicy Chicken Chipotle Pasta, or one pot creamy Cajun chicken pasta. And if you don't love chicken, we have a one pot creamy Cajun shrimp pasta recipe as well.
Looking for a hearty meal that will impress your guests? lemon garlic chicken and asparagus pasta that will have you licking the bottom of the pot.
Easy One Pot Taco Pasta
- 12 ounces shortcut pasta (Rotini, shell pasta, etc.) we used Jovial gluten-free Rotini
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef we used 90% lean beef
- 1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning (Note 1)
- 2 ½ cups water or beef broth
- 1 cup mild salsa
- 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 cup canned corn drained
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
- Toppings: fresh chopped cilantro, lime juice, red onion, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, black olives, avocado
- Large skillet
- Drizzle the olive oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Once it's hot and shimmering, add the onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute, until fragrant.
- Place the beef in the pan with the onion and garlic and cook, breaking up the meat for about 3 minutes, until completely browned and no pink remains.
- Sprinkle the packet of taco seasoning on top then pour ½ cup water on top and stir well until thickened and combined. Pour in the rest of the water and mild salsa and stir.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Once it's boiling, stir in the pasta, turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Check the cooking time on your box of pasta and adjust the cooking time accordingly. Stir the pasta halfway through to avoid burning on the bottom.
- When the pasta is done, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the black beans, corn, and cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with your favorite toppings like avocado, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. If you want cheese pasta, top it with shredded cheese, and close the lid for a few minutes to melt it on top. Taste and add salt as needed.
- Cheesy taco pasta: top the pasta after it's cooked with shredded Mexican cheese then close the lid and melt for a minute or two.
- Different protein: swap the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken if that's what you have on hand.
- More veggies: dice bell peppers and cook with the onion.