One Skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta

A pasta dish with extra lean ground beef, taco seasoning, taco sauce, corn, and plenty of cheese that comes together all in one skillet – even the pasta gets cooked in the same skillet!

One skillet cheesy taco pasta - under 30 minutes and a crowd pleasing meal!

Yep. You read that introduction right – all in ONE skillet, even the pasta. This dish could not be any simpler – especially when you consider the only dish that needs to be cleaned is the skillet.

Oh, and if you choose to use plates. That is, if this dish even makes it to plates…

For me, it didn’t…

One Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

I shared a couple days ago my obsession with cookies, but I think I am about equally obsessed with one-pot/one-skillet meals. When a dinner comes together super quick and dirties minimal dishes, it’s a beautiful thing.

And the one pot dinner can be healthy too! Like my one pot quinoa & vegetable dish. That was healthy & easy perfection.

This dish = cheesy perfection. Because, as you can see, there is no skimping on the cheese in this taco pasta!

Ready for a step-by-step photo to see how EASY this is? I gotcha covered:

One Skillet Pasta - step by step

Told you it was easy! There are basically two steps – cooking the ground beef and then adding in all the other ingredients to let it simmer. Make sure to watch the dish so the noodles don’t get stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Especially if you don’t have a non-stick skillet – you will want to stir the ingredients a couple times during the whole simmering process.

I’d also be careful about substituting different kinds of pasta. The macaroni noodles cook quickly and work well in this dish. If you use larger noodles, it may take a bit longer and may require more water.

And finally, get creative with your toppings! Whatever you like on regular tacos will (probably) go great with this dish. I added some green onions which were great. Other thoughts: a dollup of sour cream, some diced tomatoes, or even a chopped up avocado.

One skillet, easy taco pasta

And here’s to hoping that an extremely cheesy, delicious taco pasta (made in one skillet) will make this weekend last longer. (You know, since you are saving all that time by NOT being in the kitchen!)

Have a great weekend everyone :)

5.0 from 12 reviews
One Skillet Cheesy Taco Pasta
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 1 pound extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 cups water, separated
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup taco sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 - 2 cups taco cheese, shredded
  • Optional toppings: green onions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced avocado
  1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef completely.
  2. Drain any fat and add in the onion and garlic. Stir until fragrant - about 30 seconds to a minute on medium-high heat.
  3. Add in one cup of water, salsa, corn, and taco seasoning. Stir well and add in the pasta and taco sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil and then lower to low-medium heat and cover the skillet with a lid.
  5. Let simmer for about 5-7 minutes and then add in the last cup of water and stir everything together again. Return lid and let simmer until pasta is tender, about another 5-7 minutes.
  6. (If you don't have a nonstick skillet, you will need to stir this every 3-4 minutes so it doesn't stick to the bottom.)
  7. Remove from heat and sprinkle cheese to cover the skillet. Let melt and top with optional toppings of choice.
  8. Serve immediately.

Want some more EASY one skillet meals? Check these out:

One Skillet Chicken Enchilada Pasta Dish
One-Skillet Chicken Enchilada Pasta

One skillet red and white pasta dish - under 30 minute dinner
One skillet Red & White Pasta

Or some meals IN a skillet?

Zesty Skillet Lasagna from Chelsea's Messy Apron
Zesty Skillet Lasagna

Skillet Deep Dish Pizza
Deep Dish BBQ Chicken Skillet Pizza


  1. says

    Oh my goodness, this looks so cheesy and gooey and yummy! I love that it’s one pot, too! Mmm. Pinning and making ASAP. Also. It’s still the 28th here in Seattle but your post says March 1st. So you’re posting from the future. Wow. 😉 Have a great weekend!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thank you Erin! And thanks for the pin :) Okay that’s so cool haha it must be from time differences or something? But I’ll take the ability to post from the future since that sounds cooler :) Thanks lady! You have a great weekend too and good luck with you running and shin splints!

  2. says

    Oh man. This is the exact kind of meal my kids and I love during the week! I love your step by step instructions. Thanks Chelsea! :)

  3. says

    Sounds like a winner – tasty, easy clean-up, and uses things we normally have on hand? Thanks for figuring out dinner at chez CakePants later this week!

  4. says

    This looks incredible Chelsea – love all these one skillet/pot meals – less mess is always a good thing :) This cheesy taco pasta sounds like the perfect weeknight meal that my family would love!

  5. says

    Looks scrumptious! I made something very similar for my family and some friends and it was a real hit! Thanks for sharing on Recipe Sharing Mondays! HUGS

  6. Heather says

    I rely a lot on peoples comments on recipes. To many times I thought it looked awesome only to be really disappointed. So many people said this recipe looked good and they couldn’t wait to try it but no positive on actually eating it. I am so glad I made this, it is AWESOME( quote from my 8 yr picky eater). Rave reviews from this family of 4. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe Chelsea, definitely a keeper:)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Heather, thank you so much for your sweet comment and for trying out the recipe! This made my day! I hope you and your family are having a wonderful weekend :)

  7. Karin says

    I LOVE this recipe! I added about a half of a can of black beans, just to up the fiber content and my family LOVED it! And we have a ton of leftovers. YUM YUM YUM!

  8. Stephanie R says

    I saw this last night for the first time on FoodGawker…instantly went home 20 mins later and made this, considering I had all the ingredients already at home…my oh my was this fantastic!!

    Served it to my brother, his gf, my bf and me, and it did not last! haha!

    I did substitute meat for Saitan meat considering im vegetarian, but wow, was it good! Not too hot, but just enough spice.

    Will def make again!!

  9. Robin says

    This is absolutely delish. I made it tonite for the first time. It is a make again for sure! Thanks for sharing and great job creating it!!!

  10. Kaley D says

    Made this tonight, and it was a huge hit with the entire family! Everyone asked for seconds! :)
    Sure to become a staple dinner in our house.
    Thank you!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Oh yay! That is so great to hear :) Thank you so much for taking the time to come and comment! Have a wonderful week Kaley!

  11. Brandon says

    I made this for myself for dinner tonight.
    1. It was delicious!
    2. I have enough left over to feed myself for the next few days!
    This is a great recipe. Thanks.

  12. Lisa Y says

    Looks delicious! Cant wait to try but can i ask what kind of salsa you used? Sorry, not ready to go pro making my own salsa lol, Thanks!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks Lisa! I just used a store-bought salsa :) You can choose your own heat preference – I use medium when I make this dish!

  13. Jackie says

    I just made this for dinner, found it on pinterest .. The best thing I have ate in such a long time! I was looking and tons of other foods on here as well, I am so excited to starting cooking these recipes thank you so much!!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      This comment made my day!! Thanks so much for taking the time – I’m so glad you really enjoyed it :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hi Beth! I find taco sauce in the Mexican food section of the grocery store – near enchilada sauces, refried beans, hard-shell taco shells, canned green chiles, etc. The best way I know how to describe it is a sauce kind of like enchilada sauce – you get it in the small packets at places like Taco Bell. Here’s a link to a picture of taco sauce: Hope that helps!

  14. Patricia says

    Found this on pinterest, made it tonight with whole wheat noodles and it was Delicious! We all had a second helping!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      The pasta gets cooked in the skillet with the other ingredients – no need to cook it beforehand.

  15. sarah says

    Is there something else you can sub the taco sauce for or even just leave it out? I hate taco sauce, ever since I was a kid and got some on my sleeve and had to smell it all day and just made me sick.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I haven’t tried this recipe substituting the taco sauce for anything else, so I can’t say for sure, but perhaps some salsa would work in its place? Sorry to not be of more help!

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