This slow cooker taco pasta recipe combines two family-favorite meals: tacos and pasta! With a quick and easy clean up, it makes a fantastic weeknight meal!
If you loved my Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos, I am pretty sure you will LOVE this new take on TACO NIGHT! tacos AND PASTA??! Come on, now…. !
This taco pasta recipe truly has it all, lean meat, veggies, protein from black beans and just a touch of creaminess to round it all out! The prep time is minimal, too making it a perfect weeknight meal!
- 1 lb. of lean ground beef or turkey: I love using lean ground turkey meat (it’s cheaper and a bit more heart-healthy), but either works great in this recipe.
- Veggies: I love green bell pepper and onion. Onion is key, but you can use whatever bell peppers you like! Don’t like them? Leave them out or replace with another veggie. Corn is also delicious as well!
- Taco Seasoning: Store bought is fine! Or use a combo of spices….a teaspoon of EACH chili powder, cumin, paprika, garlic powder and salt.
- 16 oz jar of salsa: Use your favorite store bought brand! Fresh salsa (usually near the deli section) works just fine too.
- 1 can of black beans: I love this addition for a little more protein! If you family doesn’t like beans, feel free to omit OR replace with frozen sweet corn!
- Chicken stock
- Cheese: The recipe calls for cream cheese (for that nice touch of creaminess and a bit of a tang) and cheddar cheese. My fave is sharp cheddar, but WHATEVER cheese you have on hand works! Make sure you reserve some cheese to sprinkle on top, too!
- Pasta: Shells are a family favorite, but any small-ish pasta works. Macaroni or fusilli are great!
- Garnishes: Tacos are ALL about the toppings!!!! Top your taco pasta with sour cream, scallions, more red onion, avocado and extra cheese!
How to make Slow Cooker Taco Pasta: The Game Plan
I love giving you a “game plan” or “order of operations” to make recipes come together super quickly and help you make the best use of your time.
- Boil water for pasta and cook pasta. Tip: Undercook pasta by about a minute. The pasta will cook for a bit more in the slow cooker when you add it.
- While pasta is cooking, chop veggies and drain and rinse black beans.
- Drain and rinse pasta and store in the fridge for later.
- Add meat, (yes, you can add in uncooked!!! If you prefer to brown it beforehand, go right ahead! But it’s not necessary!) chopped veggies, beans, salsa, chicken stock and taco seasoning to slow cookers and give everything a big stir.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 5-6 hours.
- Uncover and stir in cream cheese, shredded cheese and cooked pasta. Stir and continue to cook, covered for another 10 minutes. While this is cooking, gather whatever garnishes you’re using: sour cream, scallions, red onion, avocado, extra cheese.
- Uncover, stir and make sure cheeses are melted and everything is combined. Add salt to taste (this really depends on how much salt your taco seasoning has…you may not need to add any extra salt). Serve it up with all the garnishes!!
What other types of pasta work with this meal?
Although shells are a family favorite, and small-ish pasta works. Fusilli and macaroni are two great ones to try!
How do you store this taco pasta?
This taco pasta recipe is is AMAZING as leftovers. To reheat the next day, add pasta to a pan with a splash of chicken stock to thin it out and bring it back to life!
I don’t recommend freezing this meal with the cooked pasta. If you wanted to make it ahead and freeze it, just cook through Step 2 (below). Then store the cooked pasta and cheeses separately and add them in the day you are ready to serve. To reheat, simply thaw the meal and reheat in a large pan. You may need to add a bit more chicken stock. When the meat/veggie mixture has come to a boil, add the cooked pasta and cheeses.
What do you serve with this meal?
This recipe is perfect with my Air Fryer Garlic Bread or just a simple green salad.
Other recipes you’ll love
- CREAMY CHICKEN ORZO WITH SUN DRIED TOMATOES
- CROCKPOT BUFFALO CHICKEN TACOS
- GROUND PORK TACOS WITH CILANTRO SLAW
Will you make this Slow Cooker Taco Pasta?? If you do, please be sure to rate it and tag me @get.on.my.plate on Instagram--I’d love to see your creations!!
Slow Cooker Taco Pasta
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1 16 oz jar or salsa*
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
- 1.5 cups chicken stock
- 4 oz (half a block) cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese*
- 5-6 cups cooked pasta shells (or 3-4 cups uncooked)*
- scallions, extra cheese, red onion, sour cream, avocado for topping (optional)
- Combine turkey/beef, bell pepper, onion, taco seasoning, salsa, black beans (if using) and chicken stock in your crockpot. Yes, you can put in the raw meat!! It will break down nicely while cooking. If you want to brown it adding it, that will cut down the cooking time a bit if you are in a hurry!
- Cook in high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5-6 hours.
- At this point, uncover and add in the cooked pasta cream cheese, shredded cheese. Stir to combine and cook uncovered, for another 10 minutes. If you are using uncooked pasta, cover and cook another 15-30 minutes, until pasta is tender.
- Top with any of the additional topping and serve!