Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole

This Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole is filled with seasoned ground beef and tiny elbow noodles mixed in with tomatoes, a savory broth, and topped with fresh cilantro. It’s perfect for a busy weeknight! Only using one dish from start to finish makes clean up effortless and a total home run in my book!

The Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole ready to be served in black skillet all around the ingredients.

Taco-anything is probably our most favorite, and most requested meal option in our home. I needed to change things up a bit, but still have something that was quick and simple. Being able to cook the meat, then add dry noodles and broth, and cook all in the same pan is a total game-changer. This recipe is super simple to follow, has wonderful flavors, and cleanup takes less than 5 minutes! I promise you will thank me later!

What is the best pasta for taco casserole?

Since I am making this as easy as possible AND in only one dish, I recommend using a small pasta like the elbow used in the recipe. the reason for this is because the liquid used is proportional to the pasta as it will be absorbed. If you use too large/thick of a pasta, you risk the dish being dry and the pasta not completely cooked. Stick with small shells or elbow if you can!

What are good topping options for taco-type food?

You can get creative as you want with this dish! Amazing taco-type toppings would include cilantro, sour cream, queso, diced tomatoes, lettuce, black beans, guacamole, hot sauce, shredded cheese and diced black olives.

The ingredients for the Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole.

Ingredients for our Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole:

  • Ground Beef
  • Elbow Pasta
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Beef Broth

How to make our Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole:

First, in a large, 12 inch skillet, add ground beef and 1 cup of diced onion. Cook and break up the meat for about 8 minutes. Be sure to break up the beef with your spatula as you cook.

A black skillet with raw onion and raw ground beef before being cooked.

Once cooked, drain any grease and return to medium heat. Mix the entire contents of the taco seasoning packet into the beef mixture and combine completely.

A skillet with cooked ground beef and cooked diced onion before the rest of the ingredients are added.

Next, add the beef broth, raw pasta, and cherry tomatoes. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir every three or so minutes to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

A black skillet with cooked pasta, ground beef, onions and cherry tomatoes in it before cheese is added.

After 15 minutes, remove lid, and increase the heat and stir until liquid is gone. (If liquid is gone, move onto the next step. Last, turn off the heat, add all the shredded cheese and serve!

The Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole in a skillet with a wooden spoon beside it, ready to be served.

A great feature to this recipe is how yummy it is on day 2. My kids request it for lunch on school days; it tastes delicious heated up, in a thermos, when lunchtime arrives! Need other great options for yummy leftovers?? Check out the great options below:






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Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole
Yield: 6-8 Servings

Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This Cheesy Taco Pasta Casserole is filled with seasoned ground beef and tiny elbow noodles mixed in with tomatoes, a savory broth, and topped with fresh cilantro. Dinner is ready in 25 minutes!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Packet Taco Seasoning (2 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 1/2 Cups raw elbow pasta
  • 3 Cups beef broth
  • 2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 Cup cherry Tomatoes
  • Garnish: green onions and cilantros


  1. In a large skillet on medium heat, add ground beef and 1 cup of diced onion. Heat until onions are translucent and meat is cooked, about 8 minutes.
  2. Drain grease if needed. Add entire packet of taco seasoning and completely mix with the ground beef mixture.
  3. Add the beef broth, cherry tomatoes, and the dry pasta. Stir and cover with a lid.
  4. Cook until all liquid is absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes so pasta doesn't stick to the base of the pan.
  5. After 15 minutes, remove lid and continue to cook and stir until all liquid is gone.
  6. Remove from heat, add two cups of cheese, and mix.
  7. Garnish with green onions and cilantro and serve!


Try to keep the pasta small, like the elbow!

You can always use any ground meat of your choice!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 357Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 826mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 26g

(Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

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