Cheesy Taco Pasta

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Cheesy Taco Pasta is easy to make and tastes like the Hamburger Helper you used to eat as a kid except better. Much better.

Cheesy Taco Pasta is easy to make and tastes like the Hamburger Helper you used to eat as a kid except better. Much better.Cheesy Taco Pasta is my nod to the hamburger helper I grew up eating as a kid. While this isn’t exactly the “crunchy taco hamburger helper” because I skipped adding the tortilla chips on top, the ooey gooey meat and cheese sauce is still the same and with just a few ingredients!

We LOVED this Cheesy Taco Pasta, just like the Hamburger Helper we grew up with!You can certainly add your own fresh vegetables to the mix instead of the salsa, but I used a good jarred salsa and it tasted fantastic. On occasion I’ve also used fresh salsa (I firmly believe that recipe is one of the best ever), but the higher water content of it makes the pasta more watery.

You can also make this Cheesy Taco Pasta as cheesy as you’d like. I added only a single cup of cheese, while some in my family will add additional piles of cheese to their plate. If you want your pasta to be really cheesy I suggest 2 cups of cheese. A giant bowl of Cheesy Taco Pasta is the perfect quick dinner with just five ingredients!

You can also freeze this pasta for a later date. I’d skip adding the cheese and when you defrost it, use a cup of chicken or beef stock. Then once warmed through add the cheese, mix and serve.

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Looking for more great cheesy pasta dishes? Look no further:

Just 5 ingredients in this Cheesy Taco Pasta! So delicious!

And yes, you can absolutely add crushed chips to the top! Then you’ll be re-living some awesome childhood hamburger helper memories. Or if you want something a bit different you can also make my Mexican Stuffed Peppers with all the taco flavors but none of the pasta!

Tools Used in the making of this Cheesy Taco Pasta:
Cast Iron Skillet: This is my most used pan in my kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.
Large Shells Pasta: I am linking to this because when I sent my husband to the store to get large shells he brought home the variety you stuff! So for reference here is the size you need!
Jarred Salsa: Cuts the prep time down to just a couple of minutes and the flavors are still outstanding.
Taco Seasoning: I use this to cut down on prep time but still keep quality high. You can use my Homemade Taco Seasoning recipe if you’d prefer not to use a packet.

Recipe

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Cheesy Taco Pasta

5 from 129 votes
  • Yield: 8 Servings
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American Fusion
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Cheesy Taco Pasta is easy to make and tastes like the Hamburger Helper you used to eat as a kid except better. Much better.

Ingredients

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Cook the shelled pasta according to the directions on the box and drain.
  2. Add the ground beef to the pan and brown well.
  3. Drain the fat.
  4. Add the taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water, stir and cook until water is gone.
  5. Add the pasta back into the pot with the salsa and cheese.
  6. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve immediately, preferably with crunchy tortilla chips (optional) on top.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Yield: 8 Servings, Amount per serving: 316 calories, Calories: 316g, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 16g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 55mg, Sodium: 408mg, Potassium: 322mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 355g, Vitamin C: 0.9g, Calcium: 128g, Iron: 1.7g

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Keyword: Cheesy Taco Pasta
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We LOVED this Cheesy Taco Pasta, just like the Hamburger Helper we grew up with!
A giant bowl of Cheesy Taco Pasta is the perfect quick dinner with just five ingredients!
Just 5 ingredients in this Cheesy Taco Pasta! So delicious!

About the Author

Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

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Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Beef Recipes Dinner Recipes Main Course Meat & Seafood Most Popular Pastas Recipe

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Comments

  1. Made this last night and it was really good. Kids asked me to make it again lol, so that says something. Followed the recipe but did add extra cheese, because we all love cheese. Also garnished it with a sprinkle of cheese, green onions and sour cream. Definite keeper thanks.

  2. We loved this recipe!! We traded out the pasta for a veggie pasta and the beef we traded for ground turkey but it was still so yummy!

  3. This just replaced my mom’s baked Mac n cheese since as long as I can remember. It was great stop and shop brand fresh salsa is excellent in this recipe!!!!! Will be making later for family holidays. Not dry not watery, flavors mix well. We love extra cheesee

  4. Absolutely yum! Partner loves it, when reheating to stop it going to dry I add a bit more salsa. Would make a hundred times

  5. Excellent recipe! I cooked the meat, added the salsa and taco seasoning. I added about 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Then I added the uncooked pasta and cooked until the pasta was tender (about 10 minutes) and the sauce was thickened. Great by itself but hubby likes chopped onions, jalapenos, and even black olives on top.

  6. Made this tonight. Really quick meal. I added diced tomatoes & extra salsa (chunky). It was great & will make great leftovers.

  7. Mine turned out perfectly!! I even added corn and black beans (both rinsed before adding) and it was DELICIOUS!! I cannot describe how happy I am that a Pinterest meal actually turned out terrific!! I will absolutely be making this again! ??

  8. Just made this! My daughter barely came up for air she enjoyed it so much, and she’s a notorious picky eater. Love this recipe!

  9. My family LOVES “beef taco helper” that I usually re-vamp and bake in the oven. I tried your recipe instead, added corn niblets, onion, doubled the cheese.. baked and topped with sour cream and chives… SOOO good! I recommend anyone add corn and sour cream, for my family it made it perfect 🙂

  10. This recipe is so quick and easy and full of flavor!!!! Literally takes no time. This recipe feeds plenty!!!! I wish I could give it more stars!

  11. Could I substitute the noodles for rigatoni or large elbows? Publix did not have the large noodles from the picture. ?
    Also Newman’s Own salsa, mild ok?

  12. Hi Sabrina!

    I’m planning on making this, but would like to use regular shells instead of the large ones, but the box we usually get is 1 lb. Can I use the entire box of regular shells for this recipe? Or would I have to double everything in the recipe since the box is 1 lb? Thanks!

    1. If you use the entire box, your dish will be pasta heavy. I would recommend using half the box or doubling the other ingredients.

  13. This recipe is amazing! I make a similar recipe but use jarred marinara sauce instead of salsa. (My son doesn’t like alot of spice). Also add extra cheese to melt on top. I usually make this recipe a couple of times a month, such a quick and easy recipe!!

  14. I’ve been looking for recipes my super picky toddler will eat. I made this for lunch today. I subbed turkey for beef, as we don’t eat it and chopped a handful each of carrots and kale. I added them to the meat in the beginning to cook and absorb the flavor of the taco seasoning. She loved it (so did I)! Definitely a keeper. Thanks!

  15. Can you use taco sauce instead of salsa because I have picky eaters who do not like big hunks of tomato ? they do not like hunks of green pepper or they do not like salsa

  16. Do you think I could substitute milk for the water (I’m a dairy lover)? In the alternative maybe I could substitute sour cream for the water and warm up the sour cream in a a small sauce pan then add the taco seasoning and stir until well combined and then dump that mixture into the beef mixture.

  17. This is a great way to use up leftover taco meat if you made way too much (like I always do ?)! Thanks for the great recipe!

  18. We made this recipe last night and it was fantastic. I grew up eating the Taco Hamburger Helper and this is so much more delicious. We did add in a small can of green chilis for a little more body and I finished the bowl with a little sour cream. My wife is a very picky eater and she loved it.

  19. I just made this, strict to the recipe. It tastes amazing. I used a medium salsa and it has some heat, but not too much. Easy to make and delicious. I will definitely make this a regular on the menu!

  20. Made this Friday night after work. It is sooooo delicious!!! Made it with ground pork and my husband ate four bowls. Making it again tonight…and it’s only Monday!! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Sounds like winner to me!! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know how much you all enjoyed it!

  21. Honestly this is one of the greatest recipes I have found on Facebook! It was absolutely amazing and will be making this again. If I could give it 10/10 stars I would!!! 

  22. This was a big hit at home tonight. Followed the recipe exactly how you posted it and it did not disappoint. Thank you!!

  23. So delicious!! I read how some added a can of drained black beans and a can of drained corn, so I added both of those, but kept everything else the same – it really made the meal stretch even farther – and best of all, even my picky kids loved it! Definitely a recipe I will make over and over again.

  24. This recipe is in our regular rotation we love it so much.  In fact, it’s taco Tuesday but it’s snowing, so we decided to make it taco pasta Tuesday instead 🙂 Thanks for another great recipe.

  25. My husband & I made this, we both like it. One time we made it, my husband wanted to put it on a taco shell. Boy was it good, If you didn’t try that yet, you should. I made it again tonight 2- 16 – 18, a with the taco shells.

  26. My husband & I made this, we both like it. One time we made it, my husband wanted to put it on a taco shell. Boy was it good, If you didn’t try that yet, you should.

  27. Made this for my 3 and 6 year olds. Added a half cup of chopped carrots, a chopped small zucchini and a half cup of corn. Kids gobbled it up, even with the sneaky veggies!