Raise your hand if you grew up on Hamburger Helper. 🖐 Yeah, me too. :) This Beef Taco Pasta is like a homemade version of your favorite childhood dinner in a box with a southwest spin. It has ground beef, a cheesy tomato sauce, green chiles, pasta, a healthy dose of taco seasoning, and tons of delicious comfort all in one bowl. Plus, it all cooks in one pot, which makes dinner time so fast and easy. #WIN
What Kind of Pasta to Use
I used small pasta shells this time around because that’s what I had on hand, but I originally made this recipe with egg noodles. You can use other short pasta shapes as well, keeping in mind that you may need to simmer slightly longer or for less time depending on the type of pasta used. Rotini and penne are also good options.
What Else Can I Add to Taco Pasta?
This is my favorite part of any recipe. I love rummaging through my fridge or pantry looking for leftovers that can be added to whatever I’m cooking to make sure nothing I buy goes to waste. Here are some other ingredients that you can add to your Beef Taco Pasta that would also taste great with this flavor profile:
- Jalapeños (fresh or pickled)
- Sour cream
- Black olives
- Black beans
- Pickled red onions
Swap Out the Meat
This recipe is super flexible, so if you want to use a different type of ground meat, like ground turkey or ground chicken, that would work just as well. Likewise, you could use a vegetarian ground beef alternative, or just skip the ground beef altogether and replace it with a can of black beans. So many options!
One Pot Beef Taco Pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil ($0.16)
- 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 1/2 lb. ground beef ($3.00)
- 1 packet taco seasoning* ($0.67)
- 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes ($0.79)
- 1 4oz. can diced green chiles ($0.67)
- 1/2 lb. small pasta shells ($0.50)
- 2 cups beef broth ($0.26)
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese ($1.15)
- 2 green onions, sliced ($0.20)
- Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the onion, garlic, and olive oil to a deep skillet or wide-bottomed pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
- Add the ground beef and taco seasoning and continue to cook and stir until the ground beef is cooked through.
- Add the diced tomatoes (with juices) and diced green chiles (with juices) to the beef and stir to combine.
- Finally, add the pasta and beef broth and stir to combine once again. It's okay if the pasta is not fully submerged under the broth.
- Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the broth to come up to a full boil. Once boiling, give the pasta a stir, place the lid back on top, and turn the heat down to medium-low.
- Let the pasta continue to simmer, stirring every few minutes and always replacing the lid, for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender. There should be some thick saucy liquid left in the pot once the pasta is cooked.
- Add the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until it has melted into the sauce. Top with sliced green onions and serve!
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
How to Make Beef Taco Pasta – Step by Step Photos
Dice one yellow onion and mince two cloves of garlic. Add them to a deep skillet or wide-bottomed pot with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft.
Next, add ½ lb. ground beef and one packet of taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning). Continue to cook over medium until the ground beef is cooked through.
Add one 15oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices) and one 4oz. can diced green chiles (with juices).
Add ½ lb. pasta shells (uncooked) and 2 cups of beef broth. Stir everything to combine. It’s okay if the pasta is not fully submerged in the broth.
Place a lid on the skillet or pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the broth to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, give the pasta a stir (put the lid back in place), turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the pasta continue to simmer, stirring once every few minutes and always replacing the lid, for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender.
Once the pasta is tender there should still be some thick saucy liquid left in the skillet.
Add 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese to the pasta and stir until it has melted into the thick tomato sauce.
Top the cheesy taco pasta with sliced green onions and serve!
I know that every budgetbytes recipe is really good, but this one really blew me away. It’s SO good and so easy. I added a can of black beans in addition to the meat, as well as some frozen corn and a poblano pepper. This one’s definitely going into the rotation!
Made this vegetarian with a can of pinto beans, instead of hamburger, and it was so delicious!!
Everyone in my house said it was delicious. All I had for taco seasoning was mild so I amped it up with chili powder and cumin. Also put in a (very) few pickled jalapeno peppers. For cheese did half cheddar and half monterrey jack.
For anyone that has made this, is a half pound of meat and a half pound of shells really enough to feed six people? Would love to try this, but I don’t want to short-change my teenagers; nor do I want a metric ton left over!
The full recipe makes around 8 cups of finished pasta. (1.3 cups per serving.) Only you know if that’s enough to feed your family, but I’d suggest, since you typically buy ground beef and pasta in 1 lb. quantities, it would be very easy to double the ingredients. You could also freeze any leftovers! — Marion:)
You’ll definitely want to at least double the recipe.
Kids request it weekly…love it !!
I love this recipe, it’s been a staple of mine for years now!
I do prefer following the old version though, just for having the spices listed out in the same recipe–is there a chance I could have it emailed to me?
Of course! What is the best email to send it to? XOXO -Monti
Hi, I entered my email address when commenting, but just in case that doesn’t show up: imas(dot)lisa(at)gmail(dot)com
(Please delete this comment once the recipe’s been sent too, thanks!)
Do you mean the ingredients for your own taco seasoning?
For some reason, the ratings don’t seem to be sticking with the new site, so I am trying to rate with stars again.
For some reason, the star ratings don’t seem to be sticking on the new site, so this is the rating with my review.
Very soothing comfort food – like an upscale Hamburger Helper. I used the BB recipe for taco seasoning, and it was plenty flavorful.
This was awesome. I subbed the beef for ground chicken, chicken broth for veggie, and used Violife mozzarella cheese (vegan) and it turned out soooo good! My bf had some the first night we made it, but then I ended up eating the rest for leftovers. :P I did use both small and medium sized shell pasta (using up old stuff in the pantry), and I think the medium ones worked just as good as the small if anyone is worried about that. Love this recipe, thanks Beth!
Perfect meal for a college student! All in one pot and it’s very quick. Makes plenty to store for later. I love this recipe and make it when I have company over!