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Instant Pot Taco Pasta

Last updated on September 30th, 2021 at 02:27 am

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Cheesy Instant Pot Taco Pasta [VIDEO]

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

 This delicious dinner made with simple ingredients is budget-friendly and something that the whole family will love. Instead of making traditional tacos change things up and make pasta, taco pasta salad, or taco soup. These simple dinner recipes blend your favorite Mexican flavors in an easy and convenient meal.

Instant Pot Cheesy Taco Pasta

This easy taco pasta is one of those amazing dinners that once you try it will quickly become a favorite. The recipe is so easy to make, after you saute the beef just add the remaining ingredients to the pot, except cheese, and cook.

You read that right, you don’t have to pre-cook the pasta. Taco Tuesday just got easier with this delicious recipe. The combination of beef, salsa, taco seasoning, pasta, and lots of cheese makes this easy pasta dish irresistible.

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.

Kids love this meal and you will see how they will ask for seconds! This quick and easy one pot meal is a hit with everyone that’s why we love this recipe so much!

Instant pot pasta recipes are a staple around here. Start with this Mexican food inspired recipe and after that work your way through that list!

Ingredients Needed:

  • Oil: Canola oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil.
  • Ground meat: Lean ground beef, but ground chicken or ground turkey would work great for a lighter version of this meal.
  • Yellow onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Taco seasoning: Make your own taco seasoning or use store-bought.
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Chunky salsa: Also, if you don’t have salsa on hand, use tomato sauce or marinara sauce.
  • Beef broth: Beef stock, chicken broth, and the chicken stock would work as well.
  • Shell pasta: We use medium shells, any pasta about this size can be user. We recommend bow tie or elbow macaroni.
  • Shredded cheese: Cheddar cheese, Mexican cheese blend, or Monterey Jack cheese is a great choice.

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.

Recipe Variations:

  • Seasoning: Instead of taco seasoning use ranch or cajun seasoning. Add extra flavor by using some onion powder or garlic powder.
  • Beans: In addition, to make this taco pasta dish heartier mix in some black beans or pinto beans.
  • 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.
  • Stove: Also, make taco pasta on the stove if you do not own an instant pot.

Topping suggestions:

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.

What kind of ground beef is best for taco pasta?

We love cooking this dish with ground beef that is 85/15 lean. However, you might go with 80/20 or 90/10 depending on your preference. If using higher fat content meat, you might want to drain the grease after browning it in the electric pressure cooker. 

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 Recipes:

Cooking Tips:

  • Use good quality meat, preferably use organic low fat ground beef for this meal.
  • Also, look for fresh meat, that has a bright color, and that has a 15-20% fat content to get great flavor and tenderness.
  • Browning the beef is essential, it will lock in the flavors and the juices and also elevate the meat flavor.
  • Also, you don’t have to pre-cook the pasta for this recipe, you add the uncooked pasta to the pot and 5 minutes on HP will give you al-dente pasta, and 6 minutes will result in more well-cooked pasta.
  • You can use your favorite salsa in this recipe. I like to use medium chunky salsa as it adds more texture and a spicy kick.

Instant Pot Taco Pasta

  • 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, let it cook without moving for about 1 minute, to get a nice sear on it. 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 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 5 minutes on High Pressure.
  • Once Instant Pot beeps to show that it's done, do a quick release, by changing the position of the valve to Vent. Carefully remove 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 fresh cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

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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.



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

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!



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!

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