Make dinner easy tonight with this One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta! It comes together in a single pot (even the pasta cooks right in the sauce!) for super speedy cleanup.
It’s been a while since I shared a one pot pasta recipe, so I figured it was finally overdue!
I love one pot pastas, because they are SO easy to make and cleanup is a breeze.
There are nights I simply do NOT want to handle more than one pot. You know, when the kids are running riot and the baby is being extra fussy.
(Baby #3, and I’m still surprised there always seems to be a next-level fussiness…)
This One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta is a favorite around here – filled with protein-rich lean ground beef, healthy vegetables and lots of flavor!
How to Make One Pot Taco Pasta:
Can you really cook everything in one pot?
Yes! One pot pasta is an absolute busy weeknight game changer.
Please do not cook the pasta before adding it in this recipe. I always get complaints on one pot pasta recipes about the sauce being watery, and usually it turns out the pasta was pre-cooked.
But no! The pasta can go in dry, uncooked, straight from the box!
What pasta shape can I use?
Any short pasta shape is fine.
And in fact, any long pasta shape is fine, too! Make it with spaghetti and you’ll have Mexican spaghetti and meat sauce 😉
Although if you have very young kids, friendly PSA, spaghetti is the absolute worst.
It’s a rare occasion that I serve up spaghetti (the kiddos love it…), but it’s always messy and stressful and you are 100% allowed to skip that kind of dinner stress!
Can I freeze this cheesy taco pasta?
I often get asked about freezing one pot pastas, because they’re so easy to make when you’re pregnant and want to stock a few dinners in the freezer.
But please, don’t. The pasta gets really, awfully mushy when you freeze, defrost and reheat a one pot pasta.
What do I do with leftovers?
Leftovers are a little weird here, too, but they work as a pasta casserole.
Simply place the leftovers in a casserole dish, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Evenly sprinkle with cheese and bake until piping hot and bubbly in a 400°F oven.
With 3 kids under five, this has definitely become my go-to meal lately.
Prep is easy, cleanup is easy, the ingredients are wholesome, the kids LOVE it… What else does a mom want 😉
One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 3 cups water or more, depending on your pasta (some kinds need more liquid, but you can add more as it cooks)
- 1 cup salsa
- 12 oz small pasta shapes regular, high fiber or whole wheat all work – though higher fiber pastas may need more liquid than regular
- 1 red pepper chopped
- 1/2 cup sweetcorn
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese or more to taste
- Toppings: chopped tomatoes sour cream, cilantro, avocado, lime…
- Brown meat: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Stir in the onion and celery and cook for 1 more minute. Stir in the taco seasoning.
- Add remaining ingredients: Pour water and salsa over the meat mixture. Add the pasta, red pepper, corn, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until sauce has thickened and pasta is done (about 10-15 minutes, depending on your pasta). Depending on the thickness of your pasta, you may need to add up to 1 extra cup of water during cooking if it's looking dry.
- Finish: Once pasta is done, take the skillet off the heat. Check for seasoning and add more salt and pepper as needed. Stir in the cheese and let the pasta sit for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.