Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta

Satisfy your craving for comfort food with this Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta. Combining the hearty flavors of ground beef, creamy Velveeta cheese, and zesty taco seasoning, this dish is perfect for a family dinner or a casual get-together. It’s easy to prepare and packed with flavor, making it a go-to recipe for any occasion.


  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 box small shells
  • 1 pack Velveeta cheese
  • Handful of sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 packs taco seasoning
  • 1 can original Rotel
  • ½ cup milk


Brown the Ground Beef:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until fully cooked. Drain any excess fat and set the beef aside.

Cook the Pasta:

  1. Boil a large pot of water. Add the small shells and cook according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Make the Cheese Sauce:

  1. In the same skillet used to cook the ground beef, add the Velveeta cheese, cut into chunks. Pour in the milk.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the cheese is completely melted and smooth.

Combine Ingredients:

  1. Add the cooked pasta and browned ground beef to the cheese sauce. Mix well to ensure everything is evenly coated.
  2. Sprinkle in the taco seasoning and pour in the can of Rotel. Stir thoroughly to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Finally, add a handful of sharp cheddar cheese and mix until melted and well incorporated.


  1. Serve the Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta hot, garnished with additional cheddar cheese if desired.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes | Servings: 8

Serving and Storage Tips:


  • Garnish: Top your Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta with fresh chopped cilantro, diced tomatoes, or a sprinkle of extra sharp cheddar cheese for added flavor and visual appeal.
  • Side Dishes: Serve alongside a fresh green salad, garlic bread, or tortilla chips to balance out the rich, cheesy flavors.
  • Toppings: Customize with your favorite taco toppings like sour cream, guacamole, or sliced jalapeños for an extra burst of flavor.


  • Refrigeration: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. This helps to keep the pasta fresh and the flavors intact.
  • Reheating: To reheat, place the pasta in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a damp paper towel to retain moisture. Heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Alternatively, reheat on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of milk to maintain creaminess.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta for up to 2 months. Place it in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Enjoy this easy, flavorful dish anytime you need a comforting and delicious meal!


  1. Spicy Kick: Add a diced jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra heat. You can also use hot Rotel for a spicier flavor.
  2. Vegetarian Option: Substitute the ground beef with black beans, kidney beans, or a plant-based meat alternative. Add extra vegetables like bell peppers, corn, and onions.
  3. Mexican Blend Cheese: Use a Mexican cheese blend instead of sharp cheddar for a different flavor profile. This typically includes cheddar, Monterey Jack, and queso quesadilla cheeses.
  4. Extra Veggies: Stir in sautéed bell peppers, onions, zucchini, or corn to add more texture and nutrients. This can also help to bulk up the dish if you’re serving more people.
  5. Creamy Addition: Add a dollop of sour cream or a splash of heavy cream to the cheese sauce for extra creaminess.
  6. Chicken Taco Pasta: Replace ground beef with cooked, shredded chicken or ground chicken for a lighter option. You can also use leftover rotisserie chicken.
  7. Turkey Variation: Use ground turkey instead of beef for a leaner version. It has a similar texture and absorbs the taco seasoning well.
  8. Chorizo Twist: Substitute ground beef with chorizo sausage for a spicier, more robust flavor. You can also do a half-and-half mix of beef and chorizo.
  9. Bean Boost: Add a can of drained and rinsed black beans or pinto beans for added protein and fiber. This also makes the dish more filling.
  10. Green Chili Addition: Mix in a can of green chilies for a tangy, spicy twist. This works well if you like a bit of a bite in your taco pasta.
  11. Southwestern Style: Add a can of corn and black beans along with some chopped cilantro for a Southwestern twist. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of lime juice.
  12. Breakfast Taco Pasta: Top the dish with fried or scrambled eggs and a sprinkle of crumbled bacon for a hearty breakfast version.
  13. Taco Mac and Cheese: Mix in cooked macaroni instead of shells and add extra cheese for a more mac-and-cheese-style dish.
  14. Taco Salad Pasta: Add fresh chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado on top just before serving for a taco salad pasta hybrid.
  15. Buffalo Taco Pasta: Mix in some buffalo sauce and top with blue cheese crumbles for a spicy, tangy variation.
  16. Taco Soup Pasta: Add beef broth and diced tomatoes to create a soupier version. Serve with tortilla chips on the side.
  17. Low-Carb Option: Substitute pasta with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a low-carb version.
  18. Taco Pizza Pasta: Add a layer of the pasta mix to a pizza crust, top with more cheese, and bake for a taco pasta pizza.
  19. Baked Taco Pasta: After mixing everything together, transfer to a baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake until bubbly and golden brown.
  20. One-Pot Taco Pasta: Cook the pasta directly in the same pot after browning the beef and adding the seasonings. This saves time and reduces cleanup.
  21. Fajita Taco Pasta: Add sautéed bell peppers and onions along with fajita seasoning for a fajita-inspired dish.
  22. Taco-Stuffed Peppers: Use the cheesy beef taco pasta mixture to stuff bell peppers. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is heated through.
  23. Taco Lasagna: Layer the cheesy beef taco pasta mixture with lasagna noodles and extra cheese for a taco lasagna.
  24. Taco Casserole: Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish, top with crushed tortilla chips, and bake until golden and crispy.
  25. BBQ Taco Pasta: Add a splash of BBQ sauce to the mix for a smoky, sweet variation. Top with fried onions for added crunch.

These variations can help you customize the Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta to suit your tastes and dietary preferences. Enjoy experimenting with different ingredients to create your perfect version of this delicious dish!


  1. Can I use a different type of pasta?
    • Yes, you can use any small pasta shape like elbow macaroni, penne, or rotini. The cooking time may vary slightly, so be sure to check for doneness.
  2. Can I use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef?
    • Absolutely! Ground turkey or chicken can be used as a leaner alternative to ground beef. The cooking time remains the same.
  3. Is there a substitute for Velveeta cheese?
    • You can use a mixture of shredded cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese with a bit of cream cheese for a similar creamy texture.
  4. Can I make this dish ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can prepare the dish ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
  5. How can I make this dish spicier?
    • Add diced jalapeños, a pinch of cayenne pepper, or use a spicier variety of Rotel to increase the heat.
  6. Can I freeze Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta?
    • Yes, you can freeze this dish in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.
  7. What toppings go well with this dish?
    • Common toppings include sour cream, guacamole, diced tomatoes, sliced green onions, and chopped cilantro.
  8. Can I add vegetables to this recipe?
    • Definitely! Adding sautéed bell peppers, onions, corn, or black beans can enhance the flavor and nutrition of the dish.
  9. Is it possible to make this dish gluten-free?
    • Yes, by using gluten-free pasta and ensuring your taco seasoning and other ingredients are gluten-free, you can make a gluten-free version.
  10. Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of Rotel?
    • You can use fresh diced tomatoes, but you might want to add some green chilies or a bit of hot sauce to replicate the flavor of Rotel.

These FAQs should help address common questions and provide helpful tips for making and customizing Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta.

This Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta is a versatile and delicious dish that combines the best of taco and pasta night into one satisfying meal. With its rich, cheesy sauce and flavorful ground beef, it’s sure to become a family favorite. Enjoy this easy-to-make recipe any night of the week!