Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta is the ultimate easy weeknight meal with shell pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. So yummy!

Cheesy pasta is always a favorite dish for both kids and adults. Adding in delicious taco flavor and perfectly ground beef and red sauce adds a new spin to the classic comfort food. Your whole family won’t be able to get enough of this Taco Pasta recipe. This instant pot meal makes dinner time ultra-easy. Our classic Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe is already easy, but with this version, you can make the same fantastic Dinner Recipe in less than half the time. 

Sabrina’s Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta Recipe

Along with how delicious and filling it is, you’re sure to love how easily our Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta comes together in your pressure cooker. After browning the ground beef, all you have to do is add the pasta and sauce, and then pressure cook for 5 minutes. Just like that, you’ll have the perfect Taco Pasta dinner ready to add melty cheese and serve. 

When plating your Cheesy Taco Pasta dish, feel free to add any of your favorite taco toppings. Broken tortilla chips, sour cream, green onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced peppers, and avocado would all taste amazing. Try our Instant Pot Meatloaf and Instant Pot Pork Chops for more convenient meal options.


portioned ingredients for Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
  • 1 pound Lean Ground Beef: Lean ground beef is used as the protein base for this recipe, providing a hearty and savory flavor. You can substitute it with ground turkey or a meatless alternative if you prefer.
  • 3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (1 packet): Taco seasoning adds the essential Mexican-inspired flavor to the dish, with a blend of spices like chili powder, cumin, and paprika. You can adjust the amount of seasoning to your taste or make your own taco seasoning mix.
  • 2 cups Beef Broth: Beef broth enhances the savory depth of the sauce and helps cook the pasta. You can use vegetable broth or chicken broth as a substitute if you prefer a different flavor.
  • 8 ounces Tomato Puree: Tomato puree adds a rich tomato flavor and helps create a thick and luscious sauce. You can substitute it with crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
  • 1 cup Chunky Salsa: Chunky salsa provides a combination of tomatoes, onions, peppers, and spices, adding a burst of flavor and texture to the dish. You can adjust the level of spiciness by choosing mild, medium, or hot salsa.
  • 8 ounces Medium Pasta Shells (Uncooked): Medium pasta shells are the hearty carb of the dish, soaking up the flavorful sauce. You can use other pasta shapes like penne or rotini if preferred.
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese (Shredded): Shredded cheddar cheese adds a creamy and cheesy element to the recipe. You can substitute it with your favorite cheese variety, such as Monterey Jack or mozzarella, for a different flavor profile.

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

  • Instant Pot: The Instant Pot is the central piece of equipment for this recipe. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and proper use.
  • Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula: A wooden spoon or silicone spatula is useful for stirring and sautéing ingredients in the Instant Pot without scratching its non-stick surface.
  • Cheese Grater: A cheese grater is necessary to shred the cheddar cheese for the recipe. Grating your cheese from a block ensures a smoother and more even melt, resulting in a creamier pasta. You can use pre-shredded cheese, no problem!

How to Make Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

Time needed: 15 minutes.

  1. Cook Ground Beef

    In your Instant Pot, use the sauté setting to cook the lean ground beef until it’s browned and fully cooked, occasionally stirring as you go.sauteing ground beef in instant pot

  2. Add Seasoning and Sauces

    Add the taco seasoning, beef broth, tomato puree, and chunky salsa to the Instant Pot with the cooked beef. Stir everything together thoroughly.adding seasonings to cooked ground beef

  3. Incorporate Pasta

    Now, add the uncooked medium pasta shells into the Instant Pot mixture. make sure they are completely submerged in the sauce.adding pasta to the beef and spices in the pot

  4. Pressure Cook

    Close the Instant Pot’s lid and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for a brief 5-minute cycle.

  5. Release Steam and Stir

    After cooking, perform a quick release of steam by carefully opening the pressure valve. Be cautious as the steam escapes. Once safe, remove the lid and stir the cooked pasta and sauce.

  6. Add Cheese

    Add half of the shredded cheddar cheese into the Instant Pot and stir again to mix in the melty cheese.adding cheese to cooked pasta in the pot

  7. Plate and Garnish

    Plate the Cheesy Taco Pasta and top it with the remaining shredded cheddar cheese for a final cheesy touch.Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta mixed together in Instant pot

Can This Be Made Ahead?

Yes, you can make Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta ahead of time. Prepare and cook the dish as instructed, and then refrigerate it in an airtight container. When ready to serve, reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of water or broth to maintain the desired consistency.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta
Amount Per Serving
Calories 246 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 45mg15%
Sodium 496mg22%
Potassium 329mg9%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 15g30%
Vitamin A 448IU9%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 155mg16%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Instant Pot Pasta


After cooking, don’t leave your instant pot meal at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Once the pasta has cooled, you can transfer it to an airtight container and keep leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Reheating Tips

To reheat Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta, microwave it for a quick and convenient option. Add a splash of water or broth to maintain moisture. Stir occasionally while microwaving to ensure even heating. Avoid using an oven, air fryer, or toaster oven for reheating, as these methods may overcook and dry out the pasta.


You can seal Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta in a freezer-safe container and keep it frozen for up to 6 months.

Ideas to Serve Instant Pot Pasta

  • Tex-Mex Fusion: Turn your Cheesy Taco Pasta into Tex-Mex fusion by serving it on a bed of crispy tortilla chips. Garnish with sliced jalapeños for a spicy kick and drizzle a bit of lime crema over the top.
  • Spicy Twist: Add an extra layer of heat by offering hot sauce or sriracha on the side for those who enjoy spicier flavors. This allows each diner to adjust the spice level to their liking.
  • Refreshing Side Salad: Serve a light and refreshing Southwest Side Salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and a yummy dressing.
  • Warm Bread or Garlic Bread: Accompany the pasta with warm crusty bread or Homemade Garlic Bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Slice the bread and serve it on the side or as a base for the pasta.

Frequent Questions

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef for this recipe?

Yes, you can substitute lean ground turkey for ground beef if you prefer a lighter protein option. It will still work well with the taco seasoning and other ingredients.

What’s in taco seasoning?

You can pick up a packet of taco seasoning to use in this recipe at the grocery store. But, it’s also easy to make Homemade Taco Seasoning with a few simple ingredients. Simply whisk together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, paprika, ground cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper to make the perfect blend of classic taco flavor.

Can I use a different type of pasta?

Yes, you can use other pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or even spaghetti if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time according to the pasta’s package instructions.

Recipe Card

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta is the ultimate easy weeknight meal with shell pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce, and taco seasoning. So yummy!
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican inspired
Author Sabrina Snyder


  • 1 pound lean ground beef , 85/15
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning , 1 packet
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 8 ounces tomato puree
  • 1 cup chunky salsa
  • 8 ounces medium pasta shells , uncooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese , shredded


  • To your instant pot, on the sauté setting, add the ground beef and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until cooked through.
  • Add in taco seasoning, beef broth, tomato puree, chunky salsa and stir well.
  • Add in pasta shells, stir well.
  • Close lid, close pressure valve.
  • Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Quick release the steam, then remove the lid.
  • Stir well, add half the cheese and stir again.
  • Plate and top with additional cheese.


  • Click on the yield amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the Metric option next to Ingredients in the recipe card.


Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 329mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

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Variations on Instant Pot Pasta

  • Pasta shapes: If you don’t have shell pasta, you can replace it with rotini noodles, macaroni, penne, or farfalle. You can also use different types of pasta like whole wheat pasta or gluten-free pasta to match your dietary needs. 
  • Seasonings: To add more flavoring to Cheesy Taco Pasta, you can cook the ground beef with diced yellow onion and minced cloves of garlic. You can also add different seasonings like red pepper flakes, cumin, and white pepper to the ground beef mixture. 
  • Ground meat: Instead of ground beef, you can use ground chicken or ground turkey to avoid red meat. Or, if you want a vegan recipe, replace the ground meat with a vegan substitute like Morning Star plant-based crumbles.
  • Beans: This taco and pasta blend would also taste excellent with beans, like black beans, pinto beans, or kidney beans added. 
  • Toppings: Once you’re done cooking, you can add an assortment of your favorite toppings to Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta. Different kinds of cheese like Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack, cotija, or a Mexican shredded cheese blend would taste amazing. You can also add vegetables like green onions, green chiles, assorted bell peppers, and shredded lettuce. Guacamole, sour cream, or extra salsa also make amazing toppings. 

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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.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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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