Beef Cinco de Mayo Instant Pot Recipes Pasta Recipes

Last updated on June 1st, 2024 at 04:15 pm

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Cheesy Instant Pot Taco Pasta [VIDEO]

Instant Pot Taco Pasta is a meaty, hearty, and extra-cheesy one-pot meal. It can be easily made in the pressure cooker without pre-cooking the pasta. This easy recipe will quickly become a family favorite and is also kid-approved!

Made with ground beef and shell pasta seasoned in onion, garlic, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and taco seasoning with lots of cheese, this is comfort food that covers all the bases. You can make it mild or spicy. However you like it, add as many toppings as possible. This delicious dinner made with simple ingredients is budget-friendly and ready in 30 minutes!

I have been making (and eating) taco pasta for years, but I finally had to try it in the Instant Pot to see how it would turn out. And I was very pleasantly surprised with the results. On the very first try, I managed to cook the noodles without them being too soggy or too chewy. I followed the cooking time I used for my other Instant Pot pasta dishes, and it turned out excellent.

One of the best things about this recipe is how fast and easy it is. And it is so delicious, kids and adults love it. This is one of those amazing dinners that once you try it will quickly become a favorite. After you saute the beef just add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except cheese, and cook.

By cooking this in the Instant Pot, you make it a simple dish because there is no stirring or watching the pot. Nothing will boil over, and it only takes five minutes! The pasta shells end up covered in the most amazing, cheesy sauce, you will basically lick your plate clean. Serve this amazing meal with your favorite toppings, I love mine with lots of sour cream, avocado, salsa, and fresh cilantro.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Just one pot: You will not have to clean much afterward since you only use one pot.
  • It cooks fast: In just 10 minutes, you can have this cooked and on the table for dinner.
  • Everyone loves it: You do not have to worry about making the kids finish their dinner because they will probably ask for seconds. Make extra.
  • It’s easy and cheap: With just a handful of inexpensive ingredients, you can serve the whole family for under $20!

What you’ll need to make cheesy instant pot taco pasta:

Special items:

  • Instant pot – Mine is a six-quart, but you can use whatever you have.
  • Wooden spoon – My trusty wooden spoon is perfect for stirring without scratching pots and pans. 


  • Ground beef—I recommend lean ground beef, preferably 80/20 or 85/15, to keep the grease to a minimum.
  • Pasta – I used medium-sized shells, but you can use whatever size you like.
  • Shredded cheese – Mexican blend shredded cheese is perfect for this dish.
  • Beef broth – Low-sodium organic beef broth with less salt and no additives.
  • Garlic – Freshly chopped garlic cloves give this dish the best flavor.
  • Onion – I prefer a sweet yellow onion, diced, but any kind will be good here.
  • Salsa – Make it as mild or hot as you like it, but I usually use chunky salsa with medium heat.
  • Taco seasoning – Try my easy recipe for the perfect homemade taco seasoning.
  • Worcestershire sauce – The tangy and rich salty umami flavor is just perfect. It is the secret ingredient.
  • Red pepper flakes – For just a tiny bit of heat without too much spiciness.
  • Canola oil – It is just for sautéing.

How do you make Instant Pot Taco Pasta recipe?

  1. Sauté setting: First, select the saute setting and add oil to the bottom of the pot. Next, add the beef and cook it until browned. Also, make sure to drain the grease.
  2. Veggies and Seasoning: After that, add onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Taco seasoning and red pepper flakes. Stir and cookf or a few more minutes.
  3. Salsa and broth: Finally add the salsa and the beef broth. Use a wooden spoon to scrape that brown bits that stuck to the bottom of the pot to avoid the burn message.
  4. Pasta: Add the pasta and stir to combine.
  5. Pressure cook function: Finally, cover with the lid, lock it and point the valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high pressure setting for 5 minutes.
  6. Quick Release: Once done cooking, immediately to a Quick Pressure Release and after that carefully open the pot.
  7. Add cheese: Afterward, stir and sprinkle the cheese on top. Cover with the lid for the cheese to melt from the residual heat and stir one more time the cheesy pasta before serving.
  8. Serve: Top the dish with your favorite taco toppings before serving.

Expert tip

Taco pasta topping ideas

Whether you like spicy or mild food, you can use many great topping suggestions, like sauces, and salsas to take your meal to a whole new level. One of my favorites is my homemade pico de gallo made with jalapeno, cilantro, onions, tomatoes, and lime.

You could make it less spicy by using poblano peppers instead of jalapenos. Chipotle sauce is another good choice. It has adobo sauce, chipotle peppers, mayo, and sour cream with cilantro, cumin, and coriander for various flavors.

Any kind of hot sauce or taco sauce would be a good topping, but I would serve a few different kinds on the side so everyone can use whatever they like. The same goes for toppings. Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, and extra cheese are all popular. Then, there are the more uncommon choices, like chopped avocados, green onions, and olives.

You could also serve it with a variety of beans, such as pinto, black, and kidney beans. Some other ideas include pickled onions, sliced radishes, corn, and rice. But do not forget the sour cream, salsa verde, picante, and homemade guacamole.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Different meat: Instead of ground beef, you can use ground chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Vegetarian taco pasta: Leave the beef and use vegetable broth for a vegetarian meal.
  • Add more vegetables: You can add as many veggies as you like. I sometimes add bell peppers and chopped green onions, but you could also add tomatoes and olives.
  • To make it spicy: Heat it up with chopped poblano peppers and cayenne pepper. You could also add jalapenos for a really hot dish.
  • Different cheese: Instead of Mexican blend cheese, try it with mozzarella, pepper jack, or cheddar.
  • Add beans: To make this an even heartier meal, add some black beans or pinto beans—or both!
  • Whole wheat: As an alternative, make this recipe with whole wheat pasta.
  • Gluten-free: Just make sure you use a gluten-free pasta to make this great recipe.

Serving suggestions:

There are a lot of fun ways to serve this taco pasta.

  • Prepare a platter with tortillas and corn chips, and place a bowl of this taco pasta in the middle for a fun party meal.
  • For a first course, serve my delicious chopped Mexican salad made with cotija cheese, corn, cilantro, and lime dressing.
  • Use tortillas or taco shells to make authentic tacos out of this pasta. You can add whatever toppings you like, too.
  • Be sure to set out extra toppings on the table for everyone to use as they like.
  • Serve with a side of easy pico de gallo and your favorite corn chips.
  • This dish goes great with margaritas for the adults and Mexican horchata for the kids.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you cook pasta in the Pressure Cooker?

Pasta is cooked in the pressure cooker, usually between 4-6 minutes, depending on the recipe and type of pasta. Most of the time followed by a Quick Pressure Release instead of a Natural Pressure Release.

What is the best pasta for cheesy instant pot taco pasta?

I like making mine with shells because they contain so much cheese and sauce. Every bite you take is packed full of flavors. Another good choice would be elbow macaroni because it also holds a bunch of cheesy sauce. Penne and ziti are also great ideas since they are hollow. Rigatoni and cavatappi are ridged on the outside, so they hold the sauce inside and out.

Why are my noodles so soggy?

One thing to remember is that you should not cook your pasta first. It will cook to a perfect tenderness in the sauce with the rest of the food. If you precook it, you will likely end up with soggy pasta. Another reason may be that they are overcooked. If you use a thinner or smaller pasta shape, you may need to check it after four minutes to ensure it does not get overcooked.

Should I soak my pasta before cooking it?

Although some cooks say it is a good idea to soak pasta before cooking, I do not do this myself. There is really no good reason to do it, and it may just make your pasta soggy if it absorbs more liquid. Dry pasta will actually start to rehydrate when soaking in water, so much so that you could actually prepare it without cooking it by leaving it in water for two hours.

Why does my instant pot say burn on it?

If your instant pot shuts off and has a burn warning on it, that means the safety sensors indicate the inner pot is too hot and may be burning. It is a safety feature to prevent fires or explosions. The best way to avoid this is to ensure it has enough liquid and scrape the bottom of the pot after searing the meat or veggies. Also, you can try to not stir your pasta; it will settle at the bottom and may burn.

How to store leftovers:

  • Refrigerate: First, let the leftovers cool and after that transfer the pressure cooker taco pasta to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Freeze: To freeze, again, let the meal cool first and after that either add it to a freezer-safe container or to a freezer bag. Next, freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw: Finally, plan in advance when ready to serve and that the meal in the fridge overnight.
  • Reheat: Best is to reheat the instant pot taco pasta on the stove in a sauce pan and if needed adjust for salt and pepper. In addition, if the sauce is too thick, add a bit of broth.

More Instant Pot pasta recipes:

Cooking tips:

  • Use high-quality meat. I prefer organic beef because it has no additives.
  • Also, use lean beef for this, or you will get too much grease. If you are using anything below 80/20, you should drain the grease from the pot before you start cooking it.
  • Do not skip the browning process. This will keep the juices and seasonings inside where they belong.
  • Do not pre-cook your pasta, or you may end up with soggy noodles.
  • To keep the pasta from sticking, scrape any beef off the bottom of the pot.
  • Also to keep it from sticking, add the pasta last and do not stir. Just push it down slightly so it is in the liquid.

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Instant Pot Taco Pasta is a meaty, hearty, and extra-cheesy one-pot meal. It can be easily made in the pressure cooker without pre-cooking the pasta. Ready in 30 minutes!

  • Prep Time10 MIN
  • Cook Time10 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons Taco seasoning depends how much you like it
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup chunky salsa medium spice
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz shell pasta I used medium shells
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend cheese


  • Set Instant Pot to Saute. Once the IP is hot, add the oil and wait for it to start simmering.
  • Add the ground beef and let it cook without moving for about 1 minute to get a nice sear. After that, break it up using a wooden spoon as it cooks.
  • Once the ground beef has browned, add chopped onion and minced garlic, stir, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add Worcestershire sauce, taco seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the salsa and stir. Add the beef broth and stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any bits that stuck to it to avoid burning.
  • Add pasta and stir to combine.
  • Cover and seal the lid. Make sure the valve points to Sealed. Change the setting to manual and adjust the time to 4-5 minutes on High Pressure.
  • Once the Instant Pot beeps to show that it's done, do a quick release by changing the position of the valve to Vent. Carefully remove the cover and stir.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Top with shredded cheese. Put the lid back on, but don't seal. Allow a minute or two for the cheese to start to melt. Stir to combine.
  • Serve with favorite toppings: sour cream, fresh salsa, jalapeños, avocado, and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

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I made this recipe last night and it was wonderful. Even my 4 year old ate it. I made it exactly as written. I substituted gluten free veggie rotini noodles. Same cooking time and it was delicious. Next time I will double the recipe for lots of lunch left overs. This one got printed out for a regular rotation.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy that you liked it, thank you for the feedback!

Krysti Allen

Krysti Allen

This is one of our all-time favorite meals! When in doubt, we go with this! I don’t change a thing about it either. Perfect as written!



Can I double this recipe for family of 6!! I’m somewhat new to figuring out these recipes on my own. Thanks.

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

yes, you can easily double the ingredients



This recipe is a go to for me! I've made it as written many times. Sometimes add black beans or corn or green chilies. Last night, I omitted the ground beef, swapped out the beef broth for chicken broth and then added some smoked pulled chicken at the end with the cheese. Every time I get a great meal.

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